Using your e-bike safely: Taking care on the road
The doorbell rings or perhaps it’s a knock at the door – maybe even a notification popping up on your phone.
Your e-bike has arrived - and it’s time to get riding!
If you’re anything like us, you’ll be eager to get onto your electric bike as quickly as possible and start putting it through its paces.
It is important, particularly if you have been out of the saddle for some time, to be aware of how to go about using your e-bike safely.
We’re pleased to have seen safety-focused improvements for cyclists such as dedicated cycle lanes rolling out across the country over the past few years, but whatever your ability and experience level, taking care on the road is crucial.
The Eco Bike Co. team have put our heads together to provide some tips for using your new e-bike safely.
Rules of the road – know the code
If you’re used to being behind the wheel of a car, you might feel pretty assured in your knowledge of The Highway Code. It can feel like second nature.
However, it is well worth brushing up on the rules before heading out on your electric bike.
The Highway Code not only demonstrates how to cycle safely while on the roads, but an understanding of it may prove vital should the worst happen, and a collision occurs.
By following The Highway Code, you’re far less likely to be held responsible for any accident that occurs while you’re out on your electric bike.
Now, we’re not saying you need to cancel your evening plans and in order to read The Highway Code from start to finish, but an overview of this easy-to-digest online section of The Highway Code for cyclists contains much of what all cyclists need to know to ride on the roads in the UK.
Even if you are a regular road user, two-wheeled travel presents a whole host of differing rules and regulations. Take the time to become familiar with them.
Positioning – don’t hug the curb!
As e-bike advocates, the Eco Bike Co. team are often taking out new riders on our weekend jaunts. One of the most common mistakes we see new (or recently returned) cyclists make is riding too close to the curb.
It’s totally understandable – particularly in places like London where busy traffic and large vehicles can be intimidating. However, hugging the curb is actually the least safe thing you can do – not just for yourself, but for other road users.
Our suggestion would be to keep a minimum of a half metre distance between your bike and the curb – and feel free to move further out too (this author tends to aim for about a metre). Social distancing guidelines may have given you a reference for this distance (one upside…) – but you certainly shouldn’t feel you and your electric bike being penned in curbside.
By steering clear of the curb, you’re less likely to be riding over roadside debris (broken glass has been the source of many a puncture on the Eco Bike Co. HQ commute), as well as other features such as drain covers and potholes that can set you wobbling.
You’re not just protecting yourself. It’s much easier for other road users to see you if you’re further from the curb. This is vital at junctions or if you’re turning a corner (a situation where you should not be overtaken).
Shine bright! Visibility is essential
To be safe, you need to be seen.
Lights? They’re a legal requirement if you’re planning to ride your bike at night.
You should have a white front light, and red rear light. Even if you aren’t planning night-time e-bike excursions, our famed British weather means that lights can be really helpful for other road users on foggy or misty conditions.
It’s worth investing in some reflectors, too. Bright clothing is always wise. Our favourite? This Emu Cycling Waterproof Jacket is not only technically exceptional in terms of breathability and weight – it’s fluorescent colouring will ensure other road users spot you at a distance.
Keep up on top of maintenance
We’ve said it before – and we’ll say it again. You don’t need an engineering degree to keep an electric bike running smoothly.
However, failing to do the basics such as cleaning it after a long ride, and regularly checking tyres and brakes, can result in fundamental problems which could put you in danger while on the road.
Make a pre-ride checklist – be safe by being prepared. After you get in, give your bike a quick clean-up and check those tyres.
Even just an extra ten minutes added to your cycling routine could really help in using your e-bike safely
Using your e-bike safely: Taking care on the road
Thanks to its power-assist capability, an e-bike is often considered safer than a regular bike. However, you should never be complacent while out on the road and it’s vital that you’re confident in how to use your e-bike safely.
Know the rules, keep checking your positioning, be visible – put in some occasional elbow grease - and you’re well on your way to staying safe while riding.
If you would like any further tips or to chat to a member of the team at Eco Bike Co. HQ, get in touch today.