Between 2017 and 2021, the US saw a staggering 127 percent increase in injuries related to micromobility devices, totaling 77,200 cases and resulting in 119 deaths. These statistics are only getting worse. New York alone recorded ten fatalities resulting from cyclist collisions in the first quarter of 2023 — the same number of accidents that occurred throughout 2018.
Evidently, as the e-bike takes to our urban streets, there is a vital need to prioritize rider safety and encourage responsible use. An e-bike subscription platform for last-mile delivery drivers Whizz emphasizes three fundamental safety rules that every urban e-bike rider should follow. By embracing these guidelines, riders can roam their cities in a safe way — both for themselves and those they share the roads with.
E-Bike Safety Tip #1: Always Wear a Helmet
If there’s one piece of gear you should never ride without, it’s a good helmet. Not only are they proven to be highly effective in preventing fatalities, but they also reduce the risk of head injury by 69%.
To be certain that your helmet will hold up during an accident, ensure it meets safety benchmarks such as the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) Bicycle Helmet Standards. This certification ensures that it has undergone rigorous testing to provide suitable protection.
Your headgear should be constructed from high-quality materials such as polycarbonate, which offer durability and impact resistance. Additionally, helmets with an expanded polystyrene lining provide excellent shock absorption. Some helmets also offer extended coverage at the back for additional safety, while others incorporate technologies like MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) to reduce rotational forces during angled impacts.
While safety should be your top priority, comfort is important too. Look for a helmet that comfortably fits your head, with adequate ventilation to keep your head cool during long rides. Preferably, it should have adjustable straps, or a dial or retention system at the back that allows you to fine-tune the fit. Not only will a snug fit deter you from removing your helmet to alleviate discomfort, but it will stop it from slipping off at the worst possible time.
Often, new e-bike riders splash out on a dependable bike and battery but overlook the importance of a high-quality helmet. Sure, settling for the cheapest option may save you a few dollars, but is that worth risking your life for?
Understandably, not everybody has the money to invest in high-end gear. To address this, Whizz has taken the initiative to provide free helmets to delivery drivers in New York City as part of its ‘Ride Safe’ campaign. Anyone with an active delivery service account can claim one on Whizz’s website — and protect themselves as they shuttle our orders around the city.
E-Bike Safety Tip #2: Make yourself visible to other road users
Drivers are often so focused on their destination that tunnel vision renders cyclists invisible. Enhancing your visibility will ensure you won’t end up in the blind spot — and there are several ways to do so.
Use lights: Install front and rear lights on your e-bike, with a white light at the front and a red light at the back. Ensure all lights are bright and functioning, especially when riding in low-light conditions or at night. In particular, lights with multiple modes, such as steady and flashing, will attract more attention.
Attach reflective accessories: Adding reflective stickers to the e-bike’s frame, wheels, and pedals will make you stand out among the traffic. Alternatively, you can opt for reflective clothing or accessories, such as a vest, ankle bands or backpack cover. Another effective option is to attach eye-catching flags or banners to a tall pole on the back of your bike, which can help to draw attention to your presence on the road.
Position yourself strategically: When riding in traffic, position yourself in a way that ensures you are visible to other road users. Ride in the center of your lane, especially when the road is narrow or obstructed by parked cars. And always avoid riding too close to the curb or stationary vehicles, as you may be less visible to others.
E-Bike Safety Tip #3: Let technology assist you — but always prepare for the worst
When navigating bustling city streets, you must be attentive to the situation around you. To minimize distractions and avoid missed turns, consider equipping your bike with a smartphone or bike computer mount. These handy devices take on the role of navigator and provide easy access to essential information while on the move, so you’re free to focus on the road ahead.
Investing in the right gear and gadgets can help riders to avoid accidents, but it doesn’t eliminate the risk entirely. Even if the chances are slim, e-bike users should always prepare for the worst.
In the event of a fall, well-padded gloves will guard your hands, for instance. Not only do they provide protection in the form of cushioning, but they also aid prevention by improving your grip and ensuring better control of your e-bike. Opt for gloves made from durable materials, such as synthetic leather or reinforced fabrics, which will protect your hands without compromising dexterity. Features such as adjustable closures and well-placed padding offer comfort and safety, while touchscreen compatibility is a must for the efficiency of delivery workers.
Knee and elbow pads are also highly recommended too, as well as a bell or horn for effective signaling, a rearview mirror for an enhanced view of your surroundings, and a comfortable saddle or seat cover.
Despite the concerning statistics surrounding micromobility vehicles, they are not death traps. By riding safely and taking precautions, you can travel from A to B safely, efficiently and with care for our planet.
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