A very upsetting accident happened recently in the world of electric bikes for adults and got every ebike enthusiast's attention. The parents of a girl who died after an electric bike accident filed a wrongful-death lawsuit Monday against Seattle-based electric bike company Rad Power Bikes.
In the lawsuit, Kaye and Jonathan Steinsapir, parents of Molly Steinsapir, who died last year at 12, claim that flaws in the bike's design make it difficult for riders to slow down and stop when the bike accelerates downhill.
The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, also argues that the ebike company engaged in ‘improper marketing of children's ebikes,’ adding that the company failed to ‘adequately warn children of the dangers of operating ebikes.’
However, in the following content of this blog, we are not going to judge what kinds of mistakes this ebike company makes or criticize their behaviors, but to emphasize to every ebiker how to ride without any danger.
Be aware of the vehicles around you
Car traffic is a problem with any type of bike, but on an ebike, it can be an even bigger problem. Drivers have certain expectations from bikes, and e-bikes change the equation. Fast-moving road cyclists also have this challenge, but ebikes for sale overstate it even more.
Car drivers make their decisions based on how long they think the ebike will take to do something. Should drivers wait for riders to pass before crossing bike lanes? Sure, but when they guess speed incorrectly, they tend to make dangerous choices. Electric bikes overdraw this because it's faster than other bike riders, but also because the visual cues don't match.
Drivers always misjudge the speed of road cyclists, which is the best-case scenario. A road cyclist on a deep-wheeled bike wearing form-fitting clothing is providing additional visual cues that they are moving fast. A person riding a single handle e-bike could easily move faster without looking like it. An upright stance, casual clothing, and easy pedaling don't make drivers chase speed. None of this is the cyclist's fault, but be aware that you're more likely to stay safe.
No matter which bike you ride, the advice is the same. If you're riding in heavy traffic, make sure you don't expect the driver to see you, or give you the space you need. It's not what it's supposed to be, but it's what it is.
One way to help keep yourself safe is to use a quality and safe helmet. Check out our Magicycle Helmets to assist you to get the best one for you.
Start at low speed
Riding an electric bike is a unique experience because of the speed involved. Not every cyclist regularly takes the time to ride at the speed of an electric bike. This is especially true in the US, where Class III bikes are capable of 28 mph, but also at slower speeds than you might expect. Even if you're riding at a speed you're comfortable with, it's one thing to work hard and go fast, but it's a very different feeling to have your motor pull you fast when you're doing very little work.
Different kinds of bikes have different solutions to provide power. Read about what to expect first. Some ebikes for sale feel a lot like regular bikes. Torque-based sensors tend to provide this more natural feel. If this is the kind of bike you have, it's still a good idea to start with a low assist level, so you can expect an experience not too different from what you know.
More attention is especially important if you have a rhythm-based system. Some cadence-based assist systems will get you up to speed when you start turning the pedals. Physically, this is the easiest to ride but takes the most getting used to. On flat ground, a lower assist level might mean around 12mph/20kph, and you'll get to that speed pretty quickly.
It's a good idea to start with a flat, open area. Electric mountain bikes are heavier, and because of the weight, shifting gears when not riding is more difficult. If you can, take the rear of the bike and turn the pedals a few times while shifting into easy gear. Start without any help. Let the bike move and turn on the assist when you feel stable and comfortable. This process will help you feel in control when assistance begins.
Yet, due to the weight of the ebike, it may also be impossible to shift gears and start riding without electric assist. If you need an electric assist to start, go ahead and use it. Pay attention to the direction of the bike. Make sure it's clear and you'll be able to focus on the ride. Make sure the electric assist is at the lowest setting and you know where the brakes are. Also, make sure you know which is the front and rear brakes.
Observe the road regulations
Of course, ebikes can also be ridden on the road. But it must be noted that, as a participant in road traffic, road regulations also need to be observed. In the United States, keep driving on the right so you will not affect the traffic; drive according to the traffic lights and signs; yield to pedestrians before the zebra crossing, etc…Following these rules is not just to avoid traffic jams, but to keep you on the road safely.
Finally, to a certain extent, electric bikes are toys that bring happiness and convenience to the public. In order to avoid a tragedy like Molly's from happening again, in addition to choosing a trustworthy electric bike brand, it is also necessary to ride carefully and safely on the road.
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