QuietKat E-Bike Safety Article

Electric bicycles have forever altered the way we ride. Not only has it broadened the demographic that can get on two wheels and hit the trails (riding pedal-assist bikes has proven to be hugely beneficial for older riders) , but it has also opened up ride possibilities that we could never have imagined on analog bikes. Riding 25 miles straight into a national park and expecting to arrive at your campsite before the sun set would have been laughable without a motor and a battery.

But, as each bike company races to create an e-bike that will go faster, farther, and higher, more people are finding themselves in sticky, even dangerous situations, prompting e-bike enthusiasts to inquire...

Are e-bikes safe?

Yes, in a nutshell. e-bikes, like electric scooters, are safe when properly maintained and when riders follow traffic laws, general safety guidelines, take their time mounting and dismounting (no, seriously, simply toppling over has been a leading cause of serious injury), and, most importantly, wear a helmet. However, just like getting in a car, getting on an e-bike entails some risk.

Safety and injury prevention look different for everyone and vary significantly depending on whether you're riding your e-bike across town on bike paths and pavement or climbing thousands of feet in the woods to descend over roots and through rock gardens. However, there are a number of general guidelines and best practices to remember every time you board.

1. Fully Stop at All Stop Signs

This also applies to intersections. Although Washington State has made headlines for loosening some of the traffic laws that govern bikes (like they are legally allowed to roll through stop signs), it's always best practice to ride in the city in a way that is extremely predictable to a car. If there are bike lanes, it's always best to stay in them, use hand signals when turning, and keep a safe distance behind cars if you find yourself following one down a neighborhood street.

We also advise adhering strictly to speed limits. While some electric bikes can reach speeds of up to 30 miles per hour, following speed limits in school zones or residential neighborhoods can keep you safe and on good terms with your neighbors.

2. Make Yourself Extremely Visible

Because electric bikes are so much faster than their analog counterparts, it can be difficult for traffic, pedestrians, and other riders to predict your speed. So doing everything you can to make yourself visible will be extremely beneficial to your safety. If you intend to ride at night, we recommend at the very least a reflective vest and flashing lights on your bike frame.

Before you pull out of the garage and start pedaling, consider your riding situation and potential hazards, and properly equip yourself with relevant safety gear.

3. Always Wear a Helmet

This is a no-brainer (pun intended), but it is one of the simplest ways to avoid injury. Did you know that wearing a helmet reduces your chances of suffering a serious head injury by 70%? The figures don't lie! Furthermore, in many states, riding around town without head protection, you can be issued a citation and even a fine. The simple truth is that it is not worth it!

4. Bring an Extra Battery

While running out of battery isn't necessarily dangerous if you're riding your electric bike around town, it's a different story if you're out in the woods far away from camp and you're running out of battery—especially if you left your camping gear at the campsite.

When you combine the QuietKat Pathfinder and the QuietKat Pathfinder Battery Charger, you're looking at an additional 10 pounds in your pack. It's well worth it to save yourself the trouble of pedaling a heavy, dead, electric mountain bike the long way home.

In town, having a battery charger on hand is extremely useful. You won't catch us rolling around without one if we're out for more than a quick errand! There are numerous locations where you can plug in your electric bike charger while on the go. With a creative imagination, you'll never be without a charge, from coffee shops to public libraries to campgrounds and parks, and even at your local bike shop.

5. Take Time to Learn Your Bike Before You Hit Features

We recommend taking some leisurely laps around the parking lot—even if it's just dropping off tall curbs and bunny hopping over puddles in the pavement—getting slowly acquainted with the feel, balance, and power of your new e-bike before attempting to ride it the same way you ride your analog bike.

In the end, it's true: when you hop on an electric mountain bike, you take a bit more risk than if you always rode your old faithful. However, when asked, "What are the disadvantages of electric bikes?" Our sincere response is "none."

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