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Safety Tips for Riding an Electric Bike (eBike)

Man riding a Specialized eBike on city streets

Electric Bicycles have become a popular mode of exercise and transportation for folks of all ages and abilities. Whether you’re riding one for fun, for commuting to work, to get exercise, or for some other reason, be sure to follow these five tips to ensure you and everyone you share the road or path with remain safe!

Use these electric bike safety tips in addition to basic bike riding safety guidelines like wearing a helmet, using front and rear lights so you can see and be seen, using hand signals, and obeying traffic lights and laws for maximum safety on your bike! If you want to learn more about how electric bikes work check out our eBike Buying Guide.

1. Master your eBike controls before hitting the road.

Before you venture out into traffic or onto a busy bike path with your electric bike, learn how to work the controls and get a feel for how your eBike handles at different speeds (many eBikes can go 25+ mph).

A big empty parking lot or a quiet residential road can be the perfect practice ground. Hop on your eBike and begin to cycle through the different turbo assist options and let yourself experience the speed! Most electric bikes have three options to choose from —  Eco (20% boost), Sport (50% boost) and Turbo (100% boost). Start out using a low assist and make your way up. Take as much time as you need to get familiar with each level of assist so you’re not taken by surprise in more congested settings.

Once you can confidently manage the controls and feel comfortable accelerating and cruising at increased speeds, it’s time to test those brakes!

specialized eBike close-up shot of handlebars

2. Practice braking at different speeds.

As you get comfortable riding your eBike at different speeds, practice braking intentionally. Electric bikes are faster AND heavier thus require more time and distance to stop than what you may be used to.

Once you can use your controls with ease and brake with control you are ready to ride!

3. Follow the speed limits.

One perk of electric bikes is that you can ride faster. But even if your eBike can go 20+mph, most trails only have a speed limit of 10 or 15mph. These speed limits are in place to keep you and everyone else safe. It is very important that you follow these speed limits.

Trails are usually a lot skinnier than streets. It is harder to see what might be coming from the side – whether that’s an animal or another biker getting on the trail. If you are going above the trail speed limit, that’s a great time to reduce the motor assist and work on your legs.

Specialized Electric biker rider close-up of wheels while riding

4. Always give traffic the right away.

When you are riding on urban streets in traffic, know that most vehicles won’t anticipate your extra speed on an eBike. To stay safe, always give cars the right of way. Slow down and stay alert, especially at intersections, to avoid an accidental collision.

5. Equip your bike with a bell or horn (and use it).

Bells are a great way to alert pedestrians that you’re coming. Horns give an even louder notice to cars of your presence. Remember eBikes are faster than acoustic bikes. Expect most people to underestimate your speed and act accordingly to keep everyone safe.

Woman standing next to eBike talking to man

6. Keep your eBike tuned and Up to Date.

The last tip we have for you to ensure you stay safe while riding your electric bike is to keep it tuned up. Before you head out for a ride, check that the tires are inflated properly, your chain is lubed, the brakes work well, your battery is charged, and the controls and app are working right. Additionally, bring your eBike into your local ERIK’S seasonally for a professional tune-up to ensure all the components are in good shape and working appropriately.

Many eBikes feature firmware that needs to be updated periodically. Your companion app my give you a notification but you may want to stop into your favorite ERIK’S Service Department to have your firmware checked to be sure that you are up to date.

On an eBike, it is especially important to make sure your bike is working properly. Garner extra safety by staying attuned to the mechanics of your bike and having consistent maintenance to keep it functioning properly. Learn more about ERIK’S bike repair services here.

Go get your turbo smile on!

Swing into your local ERIK’S to check out our current eBike inventory and to test-ride a few models today. Or, view our selection online here. Our expert staff can help you find the right electric bike for you as well as pick out all the essential accessories you’ll need to stay safe and enjoy your ride!