E-bikes aren’t just faster, they’re a different ride. Here are safety tips
California and the rest of the United States are playing catch up with an electrified mode of transit that is firmly cemented in Asia and Europe: the e-bike.To get more news about e bike, you can visit magicyclebike.com official website.
But as battery-powered bicycles grow in popularity here, safety concerns are growing too. Several Southern Californians have sued e-bike manufactures after crashes or malfunctions, including one in 2021 that resulted in the death of a 12-year-old Pacific Palisades girl.
“There has to be some awareness that this is not a toy,” said Aaron Wong, co-founder of Super73, an Irvine-based manufacturer of electric bikes.
What are e-bikes?
The term “e-bike” refers to two-wheeled electric-motor-assisted bicycles. E-bikes are produced with all the features of a regular bicycle with the addition of an electric motor that generates less than 750 watts, said Ronald Ongtoaboc, a public information officer at the Department of Motor Vehicles.
An e-bike allows riders of any skill or fitness level to reach significant speeds. For reference, Tour de France riders average 25 to 28 mph on flat terrain.
If you haven’t seen an e-bike on the road yet, you probably will soon. Revenue grew 47% in the 12 months ending in October 2021, compared with the same period a year earlier, according to an analysis by NPD Group.
That’s due in part to changing attitudes in the U.S. about the role of cycling, which has long focused on sport, fitness and recreation, said Edward Benjamin, chairman of the Light Electric Vehicle Assn. But, Benjamin added, more American riders are starting to regard cycling the way people in Europe and Asia do: as a primary mode of transportation.
Super73’s Wong says that tracks with what he hears from his customers, who report using e-bikes to commute to work or school several times a week.
He along with other electric bike enthusiasts and health agencies are now leading the conversation in ride safety.
Riding an e-bike is different
One of the biggest mistakes a new e-bike rider can make is treating it like a conventional bicycle, said Helen Arbogast, injury prevention manager at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
There are two stark differences. To start, e-bikes are much heavier. Arbogast said the bikes can be anywhere from 15 to 25 pounds heavier because of the motor, battery and frame. Especially if a minor is operating an e-bike, she said, you’ll want to consider their ability to manage the bike’s weight when they’re steering it or in the event they should fall. The second difference, Arbogast said, is how the motor assists the rider and how much assistance it gives. New riders should take the time to understand the product, whether it’s age appropriate, where it can be ridden legally, and whether it will meet your needs.
“We encourage as many people as we can to actually touch and feel the bikes, swing a leg over it before you even power it on so you understand where the controls and brakes are,” Wong said.
Once you’ve selected your bike, Wong and Arbogast said, practice riding it. Don’t assume you know how to control an e-bike because you know how to ride a bicycle.
Some of the rules of the road are different too. You can ride a Class 1 or Class 2 e-bike on any paved surface where you would ride a regular bike. But riders of Class 3 e-bikes must be 16 or older and wear a helmet. Local rules will also determine whether a Class 3 is allowed in certain bike lanes.