There are some things you can do to avoid accidents and keep yourself safe when riding an electric bike. We offer some tips and suggestions that will keep you and your family safe.
Check out the regulations
Every city is different in how they regulate electric bikes. We suggest that you spend a few minutes learning about the regulations of your city. You can read our blog post, Riding your Electric Bike In North America: Laws and Regulations.
E-bikes in most areas are treated the same as traditional bicycles, although some States might consider them motorized vehicles. You will need to obey the same road rules as cars. You will need to do a lot of maneuvering on your ebike. Before you take to the roads, make sure you are comfortable riding your ebike. You will be stopping often, getting on the bike, passing and being passed.
Both bicyclists and drivers can find it difficult to share the road with other motorists. You can make it easier for everyone by being visible to motorists as well as other cyclists. This can be done by riding safely, wearing bright clothing or both. You might feel safer if you have an electric bike with bright lights or extra lights.
Use hand signals
Signal lights are used by motorcyclists and motorists, while hand signals are used by cyclists and ebike riders. Hand signals can be used to indicate both drivers and passengers what they are planning. These signals can be confusing and it is best to spend some time learning them.
1. Left turn: Straighten your left arm out straight from your body, and point to your left in advance of your turn.
2. Right turn: Spread your left arm straight out and raise your hand up, but not during your turn.
3. Slowing down and stopping: Bicyclists place their open hand to the left, palm down, or point finger down, to indicate that they are slowing down or stopping. You don’t need to remove your grip if you have a Rize bicycle with a rear brake lamp.
Other hand signals that have unclear meanings
– Finger Pointed Down
When someone stops, a finger pointed at the ground may be useful. However, it can also be used for pointing out obstacles to other riders (such as potholes), or to point to an emergency vehicle, Speedo (or any kind of bathing suit really), or anything else of interest.
Patting the air
Horizontal downward patting the air is a signal to others to slow down but can also be used to excite a crowd, much like a Rapper would.
– Hand sweeping forward/flicked elbow
You might see someone moving their hand in a certain direction, such as if they are sweeping their hands forward or flicking their elbow. This could indicate that someone is trying to move away from you. It all depends on the situation, lol.
– Arms and hands that are not working
You should be able to see a rider or cyclist flailing their arms if you spot them in mid-fall. They might be trying to grab your attention. We suggest being cautious if you see them make this gesture.
Safety is only possible if you know how to communicate with others on the road. Learn the signals and be aware of them while you ride.
Try to be consistent while riding. This usually means « staying within your lane ». E-bikes do not have lanes so it is up others to figure out where you are going. To avoid confusion, it is best to ride straight when possible. Avoid swerving (unless it is clear), and keep to the right when riding in a bike lane. Use signals to signal your intent when you are turning or moving off your intended line.
Let others pass
We all know how frustrating driving behind a car that won’t allow you to pass can be. Don’t let someone on an ebike pass you. You don’t have to be faster than someone else. Find a safe time and let people move around you. Use the hand signals to indicate where you are going.
Passenger safety is important
There are some things you should do when passing another cyclist. You should first let them know that you are going to pass and that you will be leaving. You must give your fellow cyclists plenty of space. Don’t be too close to them and don’t clip their tires or shade them.
Do not wear headphones
It’s dangerous for cyclists to use headphones just like it is for drivers. It’s even worse considering the potential consequences of a collision. We can’t see all the details at once so we depend on our ears to inform us of what’s going on around us. Although it may seem like a good idea to listen to music while riding, it is more important to be fully aware of what’s happening around you.
This is the most important rule. Respect pedestrians, bikers, drivers and all others on the road. All of us are living our lives and trying to get to where we need to be safely. Be kind to others, even if you make mistakes.