Are Ebikes Accident-Free: Tips For Ebike Safety

Even in a country like Canada, where roads are good, and traffic is well regulated, accidents still happen every day. Commuting with an e-bike bought from a Toronto store saves you from a lot of other problems as opposed to other means of transportation. However, you are still prone to road accidents.

As a cyclist, you should be very concerned about your safety. This is because there has been a significant increase in the record of road accidents involving cyclists. Even the government is taking cycling safety very seriously. This tells you how much you as an e-bike rider need to be well informed on road safety tips.

Accidents can occur due to many reasons. It can be because of the weather, bad brakes, speed, road conditions, visibility, traffic, riding under the influence, bad driving amongst many other things. This is not to scare you off commuting with your e-bike. As a Toronto e-bike store, we want you to be in the know of Toronto road safety tips for e-bikers. 

We want you to understand that e-bikes can be accident-free. Keep reading to find out what you need to do to stay safe when riding your e-bikes.

Related article: Using an E-bike in Canada: Safety Tips and Precautions

 

How to keep your e-bike accident-free

While records show that there are fewer cycling accidents compared to the past years, there are still far too many crashes that can be avoided. If cyclists and drivers are more aware of the risks that they are prone to, most of these accidents can be prevented.

Here are some e-bike accidents that frequently occur and ways to avoid them.

The SMIDSY

This accident happens when you suddenly change your riding line to avoid obstacles in front of you, and you get hit by the car behind you. The obstacle you are trying to avoid may be a parked car, potholes, uneven surfaces and many other obstacles.

Most times, you have to move left to avoid it, this would most likely catch the incoming driver unawares, and they may hit you by accident. An attempt to avoid obstacles is not the only cause of SMIDSY. Some times, a rider suddenly changes lanes when the lane they are riding in merges into another one.

You can, however, avoid getting hit on your bike by the car coming behind you by following specific due diligence. Before you abruptly step out of your lane, slow down, make sure you look left and look behind you before you move outwards.

This will help you check if there is a vehicle coming behind you and save you from being hit. Also, do not rely on tail lights alone, use hand signals. Be sure to signal to vehicles coming behind you for about 4-5 seconds before you move out of your lane.

Avoid swerving in and out of parking lots, stay on your own riding lane to avoid having to swerve out constantly. Do not assume you have the whole lane regardless of how many empty parking spots there are.

E-bikes come with rear mirrors that you can mount at the end of your handlebars. Mount your rear mirrors and use them. This will help you see the vehicle coming before you move outwards. Check to see if the road is clear before you change your lanes. Do not make sudden movements when riding to avoid getting hit.

Being Rear-Ended

Even electric bikes that are purchased from stores in Canada can be rear-ended. This happens when you are riding along with the traffic flow. Perhaps you ride a little to the left to go round an obstacle and a vehicle rounds directly into you from the rear.

This accident is usually caused by lack of visibility or reckless driving by the driver. When the driver does not see you, they can run into you. Most riders might not see you because the sun is in their face. Also, if you’re wearing dark clothing or your rear bike light is not bright enough, you are at risk of being rear-ended. 

In addition, a lapse in concentration levels can cause this to happen. You should not assume that every motorist is responsible. Some drivers are reckless when driving. Some even drive under the influence, and this can put you the cyclist at the risk of getting hit.

Avoid getting rear-ended by following these steps:

Wear highly visible clothes when riding both during the day and especially during the night. Avoid dark clothes when you are embarking on your riding expedition. A reflective cycling vest is highly recommended as opposed to a black T-shirt. Reduce your chances of being a target and wear visible cycling clothes.

  • Do not ride your bikes without your tail lights on, both during the day and especially at night. At night, you should set your tail lights to alert other road users to your presence. A blinking light alerts motorists behind you that you are there and reduces the chances of them running into you. If you don’t have tail lights, you can buy one at an online e-bike store in Toronto.
  • If you can, ensure the roads you ride on are wide. Roads with wide outside lanes can fit a car and a bike at the same time. These are the type of roads that are suitable for you. Riding on wider roads allow both you the cyclist and a vehicle to move side by side. There will be enough space for drivers to drive past you without hitting you.
  • The use of rear mirrors can not be overemphasized. With a rear mirror, you can see the driver behind you clearly.
  • Do not rely only on rear reflectors. The reflectors should complement and not replace your tail lights. You should also avoid freeways while riding. Freeways have cars zooming past you at really high speed. This is a safety risk for e-bike riders.

The Right Hook

The right hook is an e-bike riding accident that occurs at intersections. It happens when a vehicle makes a right turn in front of or runs directly into you. This often happens because the drivers think they can out-speed an e-bike. This inevitably leads to a crash. All in all, the misjudged speed of drivers causes the right hook.

In order to avoid being run into, you should ride further to the middle of the lane. When moving straight, ride to your left when approaching a right junction.

When you do this, you reduce the chances of a vehicle making an abrupt right turn in front of you. Also, always look in your rear mirror to see if cars are approaching you. Be sure to check if their indicators are on.

The Red Lights of Death

This occurs when you stop at the right side of a vehicle parked at red lights. Since you’re on the right-hand side, the driver might not see you. When the light becomes green, you proceed to move forward. But, the vehicle also moves and then turns right into you.

The primary cause of this particular accident is that you are invisible to the driver. When you stop at the right-hand side of a vehicle, you are in the car’s blind spot. It’s highly unlikely that the driver would see you when the light turns green, and they make a right turn.

It is even worse when the car is a large one. It is almost impossible that you will be seen. Another factor responsible for this collision is that both you and the driver are impatient. The moment the light turns green, you both move to get going hence the inevitable crash.

Just like the accidents highlighted before this one, it can be avoided. You can prevent this accident by not parking in the car’s blind spot. Instead, you should stop in front of the vehicle.

By parking in front of the car, you become visible to the driver. If you have to stop behind, make sure you stop, directly behind the vehicle and not at the blind spot. This allows the driver to see you when he checks his rear mirror. Additionally, you should allow the vehicle to move first when the light turns green and not try to overtake.

The Sidewalk Havoc

Most electric bike riders often ride along sidewalks, and it can be quite dangerous. Most times, obstacles such as trees, signboards, seats, and bins are present on sidewalks. These obstacles limit the driver’s visibility and can cause accidents.

Riding on the sidewalk puts you at a higher risk of crashing compared to riding on the road. If you can avoid riding on a sidewalk, then you should.

If you have to ride on a sidewalk, use a headlight. This makes you visible to pedestrians. You should use it at all times both day and night. Also, it is better to set the flash on. That way, it attracts other road users to your presence.

A tail light should also be present on your e-bike. It helps approaching drivers to notice you and stops them from turning into you. Before you cross sidewalks between streets, make sure you look to your side and back. Do not make the cross without looking carefully for oncoming vehicles.

The Door Prize

This is arguably an e-bike rider’s worst nightmare. It happens when an errant driver leaves the door of a parked car open. Typically, this accident happens because the driver did not check for other motorists before opening the door. Ordinarily, this should not happen, but due to negligence or bad habit, it still happens.

This accident occurs very often on our roads in Canada. In fact, it is the third most common bicycle and vehicle collision in Toronto. It is one accident that most Toronto e-bike store attendants warn riders about.

One of the ways to avoid it is by riding further to the left of any vehicle. Ensure there is a gap of 3-4 feet between you and a parked vehicle. By doing this, you are safe even if a driver unexpectedly opens a door in front of you. You would have enough space between you and the door to pull through unscathed.

Also, use a headlight on your bike. The beam of your lights will be seen by drivers from their side mirrors. Once they can see you, they will not open their car doors carelessly.

 

General bike safety tips

 Asides from these bike accidents and the steps we have provided for you to avoid them, there are some other general bike safety tips that you should take to heart to enjoy a safe ride. Here are some of them.

 Wear a helmet

The importance of wearing a helmet can not be overemphasized for cyclists. You have a better chance of escaping from bike accidents safely while wearing a helmet compared to when you are bare-headed. Do not compromise your safety; ensure you have a helmet on any time you are riding.

Protect yourself from the sun.

Make sure you are well protected from the sun when cycling. To avoid getting sunburns, wear sunscreen and sunglasses. Also, make sure your clothes are comfortable. If you are uncomfortable while riding, you might lose focus, control or worse crash your bike. Therefore, wear comfortable clothes that protect you from the sun.

Related article: Tips for Riding an Ebike During Summer in Canada

Find out about the weather

Before you set out for your cycling day, try and know the weather forecast. This will help you prepare well for the day. Wear waterproof gear if needed, or clothes appropriate for hot weather.

Ride with a buddy.

Aside from the fun aspect of having a buddy while cycling, it is beneficial to your safety. Two riders will always be more visible than one. This improves your visibility to other riders.

Being invisible causes more than half of the bike crashes that occur; however, cycling with a friend eliminates this issue. Also, if by chance there is an emergency, your buddy can get you help as soon as possible.

Be vigilant at intersections.

Many crashes occur at intersections. You can keep yourself safe by being vigilant when approaching one. As you come to a stop, hang left in the lane so the drivers behind and in front of you can see you. Be alert at all times when riding your Toronto store-bought e-bike, especially at an intersection.

 

Conclusion

It is important for you to know that these are only some of the accidents that you are prone to as cyclist. You can check out your local government website for additional safety information.

There are unique bike safety rules for different provinces. Learn what applies in your state and adhere to it to keep yourself from getting hit while commuting with your e-bikes. Stay safe out there!

Related article: How to keep your E-bike safe in Canada

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