Defensive Riding Skills for E-bike Riders

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 We are fueled by the sun with our lithium powered steeds. We ride fast, even uphill!  We are the new wave of E-bike riders that the roadways have never seen before. We have to accept that we are going to confuse drivers a bit as they get used to electric bike riders going so much faster than they are used to seeing from push bikes. It reminds me of my Alaska off-road riding experiences. The real danger was grizzly bears but not for the reason I expected. When riding your bike in grizzly country, the bear can’t tell that you are a creature, because it does not recognize a bike and cyclist in its finely honed predator memory list. So it can lead to some very close encounters before the bear recognises you as a human or as anything at all. In the wrong situation, like coming around a blind curve, the bear can get spooked with disastrous results. It’s not the bear’s fault, and the usual solution is to ring a bell as you round the corners; works like a charm. Ebike riding is similar in that the motorist does not recognize the new breed of cyclist out there taking the lane at 35 kph and climbing hills at 25.   They are thinking ‘push-bike’ when the reaction we need them to think is ‘moped’. We have to have sympathy with the motorist who makes wrong assumptions on their overtaking speed based on past experience with much slower bikes. Even pedestrians crossing the streets may misjudge the speed we are approaching. It is definitely frustrating when a motorist makes this kind of miscalculation but I have to say that they cannot necessarily be blamed.  Until there are sizeable numbers of e-bikes on the road this misjudgment will continue to happen, so we have to anticipate it. Electric bike riders need to drive defensively.  We should never assume that a car driver will predict the exact  timing of our movements. This safety consideration is not a daunting problem.  Car drivers and cyclists, electric or otherwise, should all drive defensively.   So do not be put off.  Gradually there will be more electric bicycles on the roads and more driver awareness of a new commuter in the traffic mix. Electric Bike Hub is at the forefront of raising this awareness with many public lectures and press coverage throughout New Zealand being generated by the feats of our remarkable machines. We electric bike riders also have safety benefits, like the reduced time we are on hills being overtaken by cars.  I contend that on the whole, there are so many health and fiscal, and environmental  benefits to e-bike riding that we are very smart to make the transition to electric transportation. We electric bike riders are the new species in the forest and the motorist needs to recognize us as the speedy equals that we are. Fortunately, humans are a lot more adaptable than the grizzlies, but take a bit more caution.