Sharing the road with cars can feel overwhelming for the uninitiated, but with experience and some street smarts, ebike commuting and errand running will soon provide a sense of freedom as you beat the morning traffic to work or find up front parking at the grocery store. Plus, riding an ebike will help you stay physically active and mentally alert!
So let's dive into some best practices for riding the roads on an ebike!
- Pay attention to your surroundings. 20-28mph is pretty fast for an unprotected cyclist.
- eBikes move quicker than the average cyclist, which car drivers do not expect and won't easily react to.
- Make yourself as visible to traffic as possible. This doesn't mean dressing up like a rodeo clown, but using brighter clothing and front/rear (esp. blinking) lights, even during the day, will help.
- Be as predictable as possible. Sudden moves or weaving can create stress for drivers as they're unable to understand what you'll do next. Follow traffic laws and don't roll through stop signs or lights.
- While riding on narrow multi-laned roads, consider "taking the lane," riding in the middle of the farthest right late. This will keep you visible and keep cars from trying to unsafely squeeze by you.
Know Your Rights & Responsibilities
- Learn about your state's Vehicle Code, what to expect and what is expected of you. Califonians should read CVC 21202
- Are Class 3 ebikes allowed on bike paths? Am I required to signal before turning? How much space on my side must a passing car give me?
- Follow all applicable traffic laws.
- BUI's are a thing.
- Pedestrians generally have the right-of-way over bicycles, just like they do with cars.
- All those drivers, stuck inside their cars, in gridlock, are jealous, even if they won't admit it.
- Generally speaking, when a driver cuts you off or doesn't see you; it's not intentional, and though it might scare you, yelling and screaming at them won't change a person's driving habits. But gently calling yourself to their attention might.
- If you have a long line of cars stuck behind you, consider pulling over to let them pass.
- And remember, when it comes down to it, you and your ebike will most likely lose a fight with a car.
- Oncoming traffic making a left turn.
- Cars suddenly making a right turn in front of you, often without signalling.
- People entering or exiting their cars when parked on the street. Ride 3-5' from parked cars to avoid getting "doored".
- Similarly, a driver's view is limited when exiting a driveway between parked cars.
- Stay off the edge or the road or out of the gutter, which can often contain ruts and road debris.
- Street lights won't protect you from a car running a red light; always be aware of all sides of an intersection as you enter it.