Have you seen the traffic downtown lately? Chaos is the only word to describe it. From the incessant honking of the horns to the loud profanity emanating from the mouths of motorists to the cyclists weaving in and out of traffic, it’s madness to drive in the city.
It’s even worse for electric bike users. The latest craze in transportation is the e-bike. And why not? E-bikes are affordable, convenient, and gets you where you need to go without relying on the slowness of a bicycle or public transportation, or the cost of owning an automobile.
But be careful! Riding an e-bike in the city is asking for a death warrant!
Here are five safety tips for riding your electric bike in the city:
1. Ensure Your Tires Are Properly Inflated
Without durable, reliable, and steady tires, your trip to the supermarket or to the office will not be a safe, secure, or sensational one. It’s going to be dangerous and headache-inducing.
Before every trip, it is important to ensure that your tires are properly inflated. You should perform the same task when you return from your destination. This way, you’re always ready to depart in the event of some unforeseen circumstance.
If you notice that your tires are deflated, then fill them up almost immediately.
2. Keep Your Lights On
It is essential to have your lights kept on at all times, even if it is in the middle of the day. Remember, you are far more vulnerable to an accident than someone riding in 5,000 tons of steel. While you may save some of your battery, keeping your lights on will increase the chances of being seen (see below).
3. Be Seen, Not Missed
As an electric bike rider, you maintain the freedoms of riding a bicycle, but you also face the various risks that come with sporting a bicycle, particularly being missed by motorists in their sedans and trucks.
Whether you’re riding at 4 a.m. or 4 p.m., it is your responsibility to employ multiple measures of being seen by your fellow travelers. The best course of action is to wear bright colours that can be noticed at all hours of the day by every motorist.
Sure, it may not make you look cool like someone driving a motorcycle with their black-clad gear, but it’s better to be safe than to look good.
4. Always Sport a Helmet
There is a dangerous trend occurring among e-bike users: They are not wearing their helmets.
This is the worst thing you could possibly do – or not do. You will always need to carry a helmet with you as you ride your e-bike, even if it is only a five-minute ride to the corner store. A helmet is your best line of protection against careless drivers.
5. Ride with Traffic, Not Against
Again, you might have similar freedoms as a cyclist, but you’re still riding on the road and, thus, need to heed to the rules of the road – written and unwritten.
One rule that you must follow is simple: Ride with the traffic and not against it.
For a lot of people, they believe that it’s better to ride against traffic because you can see cars coming at you. Wrong. The statistics even show that you have a better chance of being hit by someone who didn’t look for traffic coming the wrong way as opposed to the right direction.
As an electric bike rider, it is your obligation to drive defensively. You need to always think that drivers are careless, indifferent to your well-being, and perhaps even out to strike you with their BMWs and Toyota Corollas. This is the greatest way to protect yourself, in addition to employing these measures.
In the end, enjoy your e-bike – the freedom and the savings – but always be safe doing so!