There is nothing cleaner than riding a whisper quiet, quick accelerating, breeze-in-your-face electric bicycle. The problem with today’s current crop comes down to one word which is government. The government and various agencies have kept electric bicycles as an expensive hobby rather than encouraging and facilitating it for serious transportation. Now while it is important to get exercise, that also pumps out carbon into the atmosphere. Something that remains right now hotly debated around the globe.
So the current “LEGAL” street Ebike cannot go faster than 20mph. If you have a gas bike you can go 30mph, so much for promoting green transportation huh. If you ride a poly carbon 33 speed racer, you can pedal to around 50mph legally and crank out carbs while you are at it, which bespeaks volumes against politicians who say they are for green…nothing more than hypocrites if you ask me. So riding can be lots of fun as well as safe and that is what this blog topic is all about, safety.
First there is the bicycle. Make sure you have installed thorn proof tires and tubes. At speed, a blowout especially up front can mean you become an instant trapeze artist and you don’t want that.
Second make sure you have a left hand mirror not convex, that shows you who is coming up behind you, because a car weighs over 3,000 pounds or more and trucks are worse.
Third always wear a helmet especially a DOT approved helmet because a head injury can leave you brain dead like meat head, dead from the neck up.
Fourth when riding always try where you can to keep four feet between you and parked cars and here is the clue and reason for it. People, I mean dumb idiots swing their doors open. Most because they are meat heads and some just because they are mean heads. A sudden door opening in front of you at speed can kill. Make sure when you ride to glimpse if possible through the back window if a car or truck has a driver. That is when you must slow and be super cautious to get the distance between you and how wide the door can open.
Five while you are worried about parked cars, also keep glimpsing the mirror on your left to see and know where cars approaching from behind are.
Six are road obstructions. Bike lanes are next to the curb essentially and this is a very neglected part of the road. Here is what you will find. Potholes, rock debris, nails, broken glass, oil slicks from parked cars, a dead animal like a squirrel.
It is super important to look ahead so you don’t accidentally run over any of these.
Seven is liquids particularly water. Make sure your bicycle has a water rack on the frame and keep a water bottle with cold water on tap. You will get a dry throat from traveling consistent speeds and if pedaling you will dehydrate, so keep plenty of water.
Eight remember I first mentioned flats. Well most come from debris such as a nail puncture. Carry an extra can of instant inflate with you. Get a flat and it will fix most small holes. If it ever happens, you will be glad you had it.
Finally legalities. Slow bikes are legal, but fast bikes on road usage are not. Technically you are breaking the law depending on specs. For the most part if you keep the speed in the 20mph area and are riding safely, the law will give it a pass as far as most officers go. If you are going the higher speeds and acting like a jerkwad, then you will pickup a ticket and probably lose your bicycle and maybe even end up before a judge too. So the call is of course yours. Will the laws allow you a faster electric bicycle, I suspect eventually if the politicians are really serious about real green transportation they will. So you want something faster.
There is sort of a way around it. You can own and operate a fast electric bicycle off road. If you ride it safely on road it is of course a gamble but possible to fly under the radar. I will give you a few riding examples and you will probably see the rules tossed in the videos, but always good to watch anyhow and I can attest a lot of fun.
Not So Legal But Lotsa Fun!