5 Reasons Why E-Bikes Are Safer Than Regular Bikes

Brett Thurber The New Wheel electric bike shopThis is a guest post from Brett Thurber, co-owner of The New Wheel electric bike shop in San Francisco, CA.

Biking in San Francisco can be a hair raising experience for even the most grizzled cycling veteran.

Aggressive motorists, gnarly hills, and the ever present train tracks are just a few of the obstacles that a cyclist faces on a daily basis.

For some, these obstacles are what make riding in the city such a thrill. For others, they represent a barrier to biking that is hard to overcome mentally or physically. Enter the electric bike: a more versatile, easier to use, and safer option.

Here’s why.

1. The road less traveled

Brett Thurber The New Wheel electric bike shop

On a traditional bicycle, less elevation change is always better. However, it is often the case that the flattest routes are also the most trafficked. Built for hills, electric bikes will open a whole array of new routes for your commute.

A hill is in the way? An extra mile? No problem! You’re on an ebike, so you can prioritize the quieter, two-lane, safer route as opposed to the bumper to bumper (and pannier to pannier) traffic on a thoroughfare.

2. Confidence to take the lane

happy electric bike rider

It is often safest to move out of the bike lane and take the lane, making use of a full traffic lane instead of the shoulder. An electric bike will help you accelerate with the speed of traffic.

You aren’t holding up the drivers behind you, so they are less likely to make an impatient move to get past you. Instead of impeding traffic, you become part of it – at least until you get on that more peaceful side-road that takes you the rest of the way.

3. All the better to stop (and go) with 

magura MT2 brakes

Following the rules of the road and riding defensively are of utmost importance.

Armed with high quality brakes and an intuitive pedal assist system, you will never think twice again about stopping at a stop sign, yielding for a pedestrian in a cross walk, or slowing for a motorist who may not see you riding.

All the heartache of losing momentum on a traditional bike be damned; just step on the pedal and you’ll soon be at cruising speed; no sweat!

4. Greater agility

electric bike mid drive motor

A quality electric bike allows you to accelerate with precision and power when it matters most.

Start pedaling and your bike will respond immediately. Starting at a stop light, you’ll accelerate just ahead of traffic instead of just behind it so that you’re easily visible to drivers you are sharing traffic lanes with.

In city traffic, it is sometimes necessary to make snap decisions and speedy maneuvers. On an e-bike, you can count on being able to make those moves when you need to.

5. Quality begets safety

xtracycle at The New Wheel

A good e-bike comes equipped with high quality components that you can count on to keep you safe while traversing San Francisco.

Wide and durable tires for stability and maneuverability, integrated bright lights for reliable illumination and visibility,  high quality brakes to descend the many hills you will climb, and sturdy suspension for rocks and potholes.

All of these things might just seem like details but they will contribute greatly to your preparedness, comfort, and safety.

End of guest post.

Brett Thurber, is co-owner of The New Wheel electric bike shop in San Francisco, CA.  His original post can be found here.

P.S. Don’t forget to join the Electric Bike Report community for updates from the electric bike world, plus ebike riding and maintenance tips!


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7 Comments

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  1. Ryan Jeambey April 17, 2014 at 11:07 am #

    I especially agree with #2. Having the ability to take the lane really helps in a lot of situations.

  2. Tom Schantz April 18, 2014 at 9:30 am #

    Where ebikes are often more dangerous than regular bikes comes when the battery is above the rear tire, thus creating balance problems.

  3. Dan de Angeli April 18, 2014 at 9:51 am #

    I recently bought an ebike for commuting with my daughter. There is no question that the safer routes are hillier, more circuitous but that’s fine.

    I also agree that you are more likely to follow the traffic and pedestrians if you know you can get back your hard earned momentum

    Dan in Boston

  4. Lin B April 18, 2014 at 10:16 am #

    All true. A big factor is the confidence that comes from having a motorized option. My bike is throttle-assisted and I mostly choose to pedal for the exercise (with a 50lb bike) but crossing intersections quicker or flying down the center of a lane when necessary is a huge safety bonus. I find it allows me to be more considerate of cars, too.

  5. Craig Armstrong April 18, 2014 at 11:14 am #

    When I first rode a bike thru downtown San Francisco I was scared witless but soon started following the hundreds of bike couriers and soon I was able to get across town in 10 min! A car would take half an hour during lunch time. And yes, you had to watch out for tracks, but I never saw anyone get caught by one.

  6. DP-San Diego April 18, 2014 at 7:36 pm #

    Amen. I see too many riders on non-ebikes trying to stay in the bike lane and compete with the cars and cement trucks making right turns and with the buses trying to make their stops when they could take the lane and be safer.

  7. mike weatherby May 6, 2014 at 2:15 pm #

    One of the most dangerous times on a bicycle is when you are crossing a road. You try to watch out but at the same time you are struggling to get up to speed to cross the road, which entials clumsy pedaling in the beginning, trying to look both ways and getting up enough speed to get to the other side before traffic starts up again. With an electric bike, you calmly look both ways, twist the throttle, continuing to watch left and right, and presto you are across the street in no time. That’s what I call safe!!

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