Even though there has been quite a bit of controversy about the safety of riding electric bikes in cities, especially in New York City where the Mayor Bill de Blasio has been deeming this type of transport as dangerous, in actuality e-bikes can seriously contribute to the safety of the riders, pedestrians and for the traffic in any city.
Due to the public uproar mainly due to the majority of food delivery services in the Big Apple who rely on throttle-powered bikes for their work, the New York City Council has moved to approve and legalize all types of electric bikes in the city.
The truth is that riding an electric bike can be much safer than riding a conventional bicycle for a number of reasons.
First, not all cities have well-protected dedicated bike lanes, so cyclists are forced to ride along with the cars and other vehicles in the car lanes. This poses a serious danger because with a regular bike you can find it quite difficult to keep up with the cars, and especially to accelerate fast enough after stopping at a stop sign or a red light.
With e-bikes, thanks to the throttle and motor assistance, this acceleration is fast and easy and helps riders to maintain a safe speed after stopping and when turning.
Also, another risk factor associated with riding a traditional bike for grocery shopping, running errands, transporting children is that the extra weight can be difficult to carry and the cyclist can be distracted from keeping an eye on the road when trying to balance and carry the load.
E-bikes, on the other hand, are heftier and thanks to their motor assistance can make transporting cargo much easier. The electric bike riders can remain concentrated and ride safely while carrying grocery bags or other loads.
Another advantage of the electric bikes is that they don’t require the riders to maintain a bent over position. When you ride an e-bike you will sit upright and can keep an eye on everything going on around you, which as you know is key for your safety.
The battery-powered motors of the electric bikes are silent, so you can hear any nearby cars or other members of the traffic approaching at all times too.
Electric bikes are becoming increasingly popular among people who otherwise avoid cycling due to physical, age or other limitations. They are much easier to ride, you can travel longer distances with them and you will be willing to ride more because of the fun factor too.
A survey performed by the Portland State University found that at least one-third of the adult population of the US would never attempt to ride a bicycle in the city, and only 10% claimed to be fearless and confident enough to cycle in urban settings.
The interesting part from the results of this study is the fact that nearly 60 percent of the people surveyed claimed that they were interested in cycling in the city but have concerns about their safety.
Electric bikes are easier to ride and carry heavy loads, they accelerate faster and the riders have a better view of the settings at all times.
They can bring back the confidence in people who are too scared to cycle to work, to the store or to get from one point to another.
They are also easier to use for carrying children, groceries, and cargo and can make more people choose to turn to pedaling rather than driving.
Of course, in order to keep the pedestrians safe, regulations and laws need to be enforced regarding the speed limits, the use of pedestrian and bike lanes by e-bikes, as well as for wearing helmets and other protection.
This is already a fact in cities and states like California where electric bikes are categorized by type and there are speed limits and other regulations which the electric bike riders need to comply with.
If cities begin stressing on improving their infrastructures and promoting riding conventional and electric bikes rather than cars, the traffic congestion problems will decrease and the health of their residents will improve due to the increased physical activity.
Also, the air and noise pollution which plague many major cities will decrease if more people start riding e-bikes or cycle to work or school instead of driving or using public transportation.
Electric bikes can make more people change their minds about cycling in the city and can help older people, those with health problems and more ladies to choose to ride a bike rather than drive. And this will be excellent for the city, the people and for the environment as well.
With an e-bike, one can beat the traffic, get to their destination faster, and reach further even when riding in steep hilly areas. Even though electric bikes are motor assisted, they still require pedaling to be done, so the riders will get their daily recommended dose of aerobic exercise too, if they switch from driving a car to riding a motor assisted bike.
The problem with the traffic will decrease, and so will the problem with finding free parking spaces. The air will become cleaner, the noise will diminish, and all of the residents of the urban area will live better if more people overcome the fear of cycling in the city and start riding electric motor assisted bikes.
This will become a reality if more people decide to leave their cars parked in their driveways and start pedaling to work or for running errands. Of course, it is essential that there are strict rules and regulations for safe e-bike riding in the cities which need to be followed by the riders too.
So, it is pretty essential for municipalities and city councils to start thinking about promoting more riding rather than driving by improving the infrastructure and offering stimulus to residents who choose to use their e-bikes and bicycles for commuting and as a preferred form of transportation if we want to live a healthier, more peaceful and safe life.