Make Yourself Visible
We get that you like to dress in vintage black leather and denim when you ride your gorgeous electric bikes, but that's not a smart way to protect your hide from the oblivious driving masses. Wear bright colors, especially on your helmet and jacket. If you insist on wearing your darker jacket, try a reflective vest over it. This will make you look like a crosswalk guard at an elementary school, but it might just make the difference between life and death.
Stay in Open Zones
Two of the advantages of riding an electric bike are power and control. These are your keys to stay safe, not to go bonkers on the pavement. Take advantage of these by staying out of wolf packs and in the open where you can stay out of blind spots, work your way into gaps, and stay visible rather than remaining trapped in the flow of traffic where oblivious drivers won't notice you.
Look Around Again and Again
Don't get mired in just looking straight ahead. Keep your head on a swivel and scan your environment - your mirrors, behind you, your blind spots, etc. It's all about constant vigilance and total awareness on your ride. Save your gazing for the open road in the scenic countryside where there aren't pedestrians with a penchant for stupidity or drivers on their smartphones.
Always Look for An Escape
Spend less time admiring the custom paint job on your electric bike and more time searching for ways out of trouble should trouble come to find you. Take advantage of your e-bike's size and nimbleness—relative to hulking cars. Hard braking isn't always a great solution, especially when you can thread the needle or find an open patch of grass to stay safe instead of mangling yourself and your bike when you don't have enough room to stop. Constantly look for escape opportunities when you're both moving and stationary.
You might be the fastest one at the stop light at the intersection, and you can get ahead quickly in a short time. But think again. Fastest isn't safest when it comes to one of the most accident riddled locations—the dreaded intersection. On any given day, idiots blow the light like it's their right, so be smart and let the cars and trucks run interference for you—when you're moving and when you're at a standstill. The vehicles surrounding you will act as your buffer and take hits instead of you should someone ignore the law.
Watch Surface Conditions
It's nearly as important to keep an eye on the road conditions as it is to watch the vehicles around you. Things can go from good to awful in a hurry. Potholes, loose gravel, rippled pavement, etc. can send you off the bike before you know what hit you. Give yourself space and slow down in case you need to respond appropriately. It's also vital to stay back from cars that might kick up rocks and dirt, endangering you with projectiles and debris. Also, if you know of a bad area, just avoid it even though it might lengthen your ride. After all, it's not just you who has to contend with the conditions, but also the other drivers who might not be as mindful as you are.
Assertiveness Keeps you Safe, Not Aggressiveness
We've seen aggressive riders, or what we like to call stupidity. You might be the fastest, but you're also the least protected. Don't be afraid, however, to ride with assertiveness. Use your signals, even your hands, and move confidently when it's safe—and without hesitation. Pick your safe location in the lane and own it so drivers can see you. Move up when you need to and pull back when the purposes serve your own safety. Don't feel you need to ride with the flow of traffic or occupy an unsafe spot in the lane because you don't have the assertiveness to ride well. Know the difference between trying to beat other drivers and manage your surroundings.
We've seen aggressive riders, or what we usually call stupidity. You might be the fastest, but you're also the least protected. Don't be afraid while riding, however, ride with assertiveness. Use everything, even your hands, and move confidently when it's safe—and without hesitation. Pick your safe location in the lane and own it so drivers can see you. Move up when you need to and pull back when the purposes serve your own safety. Don't feel you need to ride with the flow of traffic or occupy an unsafe spot in the lane because you don't have the assertiveness to ride well. Developing good riding habits makes you ride safer and more confidently.
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