Electric Bike Crash – A Complete Guide to Prevention and Safety

by Ruaan Nelson 

September 2, 2023

People have been riding bikes for nearly 150 years now. However, with the invention of the e-bike, cycling has truly gone to another level.

E-bikes don’t require you to be a world-class athlete to reach speeds of up to 30 MPH and keep the pace up for hours. In other words, biking has become more accessible than ever.

With so many new riders on the steers, there’s been a sharp incline in e-bike-related accidents. And with the most recent accident involving a 15-year-old boy, I think it’s time we discuss how you can stay safe while riding your e-bike.

Dissecting Electric Bike Crashes

The best way to prevent e-bike crashes is to find out what causes them. Luckily,  we have tons of data we can go through to get a detailed picture of what are the most common causes of ebike accidents.

Some of this data may be worrying. For instance, according to California public records, this state has seen a 70%  increase in e-bike accidents in the last couple of years.

While this is worrying indeed, we have to keep in mind that this data allows us to hone in on precise factors, contributory elements, and common collisions and coin a plan to prevent accidents.

So, let’s find out what are the most common causes of electric bike accidents.

safety-guide-for-electric-bike-crashes

What Are The Most Common Causes Of Bike Accidents?

There are quite a few reasons why e-bikers get into accidents. So without further ado, here’s a list of all the three most common causes of e-bike crashes: 

  • Risky riding behaviour
  • No knowledge of traffic rules
  • Lack of protective gear

Of course, besides these three, there are also a couple of other reasons. The main ones being, bad road conditions, low visibility, and reckless driving.

So how do you fix these issues? Well, the solution is multifaceted. First off you need to spread awareness about the importance of protective gear and regular bike maintenance. You don’t want your brakes failing while in the middle of a dangerous crossroads.

Next, we need rider events that promote e-bike riding safety. You see, these vehicles are pretty unique. For starters, they’re fast as all hell and can accelerate pretty quickly. This can be pretty jarring for new riders and often results in a minor crash.

On top of that, e-bikes weigh a ton, which means they’re pretty difficult to handle if you’re inexperienced.

Let’s expand on this a bit more and see how what strategies we can employ to reduce e-bike accidents.

What Can We Do To Prevent E-bike Accidents?

E-bikes are no joke. These machines are fast, heavy, and, in some cases, pretty difficult to handle. This is why you need to be on your toes during the entire ride. 

So, here are a couple of things you can do to stay safe on the road as well as keep others safe.

Sign Up For Rider Training

The best thing you can do to stay safe on the road is to learn the traffic rules, train road awareness as well, and pick up on a couple of defensive riding practices. Besides that, you also need to practice braking, turning, as well as handling an e-bike.

Thankfully there are tons of e-bike riding courses out there. A simple Google search will return a bunch of courses available in your area. Most of these are organized by local e-bike shops, so you’ll also get a chance to pick up on some basics of maintenance. 

Now, if there are no courses in your area, you can always use the power of the Internet and dig up a couple of video tutorials. As for traffic laws, I’m pretty sure you can pick those up from your local DMV.

Buy Safety Equipment

I know that wearing safety equipment might make you look like a dork, but it will keep you alive.

A good quality, properly fitted helmet will keep your head in one piece if you ever get into an accident.

Of course, wearing just a helmet won't suffice. You also need to make yourself as much visible on the road as possible. This means you need to wear a reflective vest as well as keep the lights on on your bike at all times.

I also recommend you pick up a pair of cycling gloves. They’ll help you have a much firmer grip on the handlebars and brake levers. Picking up some elbow and knee pads ain't that bad, too, since those can prevent those pesky abrasions and even fractures.

e-bikes-safety-equ

Learn Defensive Riding

Learning how to ride your bike defensively is critical to staying safe on busy city roads. If you keep a close eye on your surroundings, anticipate potential risks, and maintain a safe distance from other vehicles, you can significantly reduce the risk of an accident.

So, what is defensive riding? Well, it’s a riding technique that promotes cautious speed management and takes into account all the potential risks around you - especially in busy areas.

You can find a bunch of defensive riding courses with just a single Google search. If there aren’t any, there are tons of videos and articles that’ll give you a sense of what defensive riding really entails.

Be Aware Of The Road Conditions

Remember, your e-bike is not a car. Sure, maybe it has a pretty good suspension, but it won’t handle a pothole as well as a car. On top of that, bike tires don’t provide the same amount of grip as car tires do, so you have to be careful when riding over slick or wet roads.

This is why reading the road conditions is crucial to your riding safety. If you can see the road is riddled with potholes or a bit too narrow for your comfort, you should avoid it. 

This is something no course will teach you. Reading road conditions comes with time and experience.

lectric-e-bike-accident

How To Deal With An E-bike Accident

Now that you know how you can minimize the risk of an e-bike accident, let’s see how you can deal with one if it happens.

Even if you take all the precautions possible, there’s still a risk of you ending up in an accident. 

I’m not going to sugar coat it, e-bike crashes can be pretty brutal, and crucial you’re prepared for this type of emergency. This is why you should always have a small emergency kit with you while you’re riding. The kit should have some basic first aid supplies as well as some tools for field repairs.

If you end up in an accident, it’s crucial you stay calm and assess the situation. Look for any head injuries or bleeding that might be potentially fatal. If everything is okay, take a deep breath and check if you have any difficulties breathing.

Next, you should call the emergency services. While you’re waiting for the ambulance, you can use the supplies from your emergency kit to stop any bleeding.

Conclusion

As you can see, staying safe on the busy city streets isn’t that difficult. Just don’t do anything risky, wear safety gear, and keep a close eye on the stuff that’s happening around you.

Oh, and refresh your traffic law knowledge. Violating those is a sure way to get into trouble or a nasty crash.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ruaan is an electrical engineer born in South Africa and currently working in Oslo, Norway. He loves tech and gadgets and owns an electric car (Tesla) as well a front-wheel-drive electric bike. He rides his bike all year, even through snow and ice covered roads in the cold winter.

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