Are Electric Bikes More Dangerous Than Motorcycles

If you are looking for a cheaper commute to work, or perhaps something might have happened to your vehicle in the past, you might be considering getting an e-bike to fill that role. Electric bikes are faster than a regular bike and can take you further than one as well. They serve a void that has been between a traditional bicycle and a motorcycle. But the question arises, are electric bikes safer than motorcycles?

Electric bikes have some better and worse safety qualities than motorcycles, which entirely depend on the people. These issues could be from breaking on time, knowing where to look on the road, and understanding how fast to go after stopping. 

On the other hand, the same can be said for motorcyclists. Your safety will come from 2 types of people: yourself and your ability to control your electric bike and the cars and trucks on the road driving beside you.

In this article, we will be delving into many things, such as going more in detail on the safety precautions you should take, whether you are an e-bike rider or motorcyclist. Overall, it is essential to know these details before going on the road and enjoying a ride for yourself. Let us get learning, shall we?

Are Electric Bikes Safer Than Motorcycles?

The safety of electric bicycles is often up for debate. They share all of the same safety tips and precautions of traditional bikes while also have some of the safety tips and protection of a motorcycle. 

Although electric bikes’ safety tips and precautions shared with motorcycles are less critical due to the vast speed difference, they are still essential to know. 

Electric bicycles are by law supposed to use the same bike lane as traditional bikes. While the same rule does not apply to motorcycles due to their speed, their safety concerns rely on the 2-ton+ metal vehicles and their drivers traveling beside them.

Quick Study

A study in the UK enacted in 2013 shows that per one billion total vehicle miles traveled, that is 1,036 pedal cyclists that are either killed or seriously injured in accidents. That same study shows that per 1 billion vehicle miles traveled, 1,789 motorcyclists are killed or seriously injured in accidents.

This study shows that motorcycle users are indeed slightly more dangerous than traditional pedal bikes. Something to keep in mind is that electric bikes were at a steady incline in popularity worldwide after 2010, and there have been plenty of laws enacted for electric bikes.

These laws tend to lump electric bikes into the same category as traditional pedal bikes due to the exact equipment requirement and lane usage regardless of the speed difference. 

Keep An Eye Out For Motorcyclists & E-Bikers

There is something to say here. Whether you are using an electric bike or a motorcycle, keeping an eye out for cars and trucks on the road should be priority number one. Over 90% of the accidents that involve a cyclist of any kind and a car or truck, the driver of said car or truck say something along the lines of “I did not see them.” or “I did not know they were there.”

Because of this reason, it mainly accounts for the fact that the drivers are primarily on the lookout for other vehicles and tend to ignore the smaller cyclists on the road alongside them involuntarily.

With that in mind, there are some other things to consider. We have all heard the saying that cyclists think they own the road. Whether they are drifting into traffic or are ignorant of drivers and road laws themselves, not all fatal accidents are caused by negligent drivers but can also be caused by cyclists. 

Electric Bicyclist Gear vs. Motorcyclist Gear

There are some other safety concerns regarding the differences between electric bikes and motorcycles. When it comes to electric bicycles, you mainly use the same sort of gear you would be using on a traditional bike.

Whatever regular clothes you might be wearing at the time and hopefully a helmet. Even at a much faster speed, you can be traveling when comparing them to traditional bikes.

Motorcyclist Gear:

A motorcyclist will typically have decked-out gear with everything they need. This “gear” will include something like:

  • Jeans that are lined with kevlar.
  • Thick jackets are very effective and reflect light and a certified helmet that covers the whole head rather than just the top.
  • Eye protection gear
  • Helmets
  • Gloves (preferably leather)
  • Hard boots
  • Keep rain gear handy just in case

While the speed difference is vast when comparing motorcycles and electric bikes, the gear difference should also reflect that, but it does not.

Medical studies provide information that states electric bikes accidents have injuries that are more similar to motorcycle accidents and are dissimilar to traditional pedal bike accidents. 

Electric Biking Gear:

Electric biking is becoming more and more popular every year, and with the current regulation of gear that is semi-required for you to operate them by law. These numbers can go up.

The fact of the matter is, the information needed for electric biking is not there yet for us to require a particular gear requirement to operate electric bikes. 

Here is the gear that is required while riding an e-bike:

  • Cyclist helmet
  • Touring shoes
  • Cyclist gloves
  • Cyclist shorts
  • Long socks
  • Riding tights
  • Short or light long-sleeved shirts 

Requirements To Ride A Motorcycle vs. Electric Bike

Motorcycle Requirements:

The requirements for you to get a motorcycle license are a long and tedious process. It requires you to test different laws and regulations that will span the length of 2 whole years before you can ride a motorcycle legally.

At the same time, anyone who can ride a traditional pedal bike can hop onto an electric bike and hit 20+ miles per hour immediately. 

The parts also associated with a motorcycle are also vastly more complex than an electric bicycle. Firstly a gas motor, you have an ABS which assists the motorcyclist to brake sooner while also preventing the wheels from locking up completely when stopping. Then you have traction control, headlights, fog lights, turn indicators, the list can go on. 

Electric Bike Requirements:

Meanwhile, on an electric bicycle, you have a bike with an electric motor. You might have the required front and back light reflectors on your bike that might be required by law, but that is essentially it. While the motorcycle has brake assistance, all of your braking power comes from your legs and reaction time.

This means that you can travel faster than you would be able to on a traditional pedal bike with an average speed of roughly 10 miles per hour than you would on an electric bicycle traveling at twice that speed with much less effort put into it. 

Since you can travel faster than a traditional bike and slower than a motorcycle, you are kind of in this middle grey area.

While electric bike popularity is on the rise, vehicle drivers are still more used to seeing either a motorcycle on the road in the same lane or a much slower pedestrian on a traditional pedal bike in the bike lane next to them.

Your speed on an electric bicycle can throw them off, causing them to hit you in an accident or vice versa when they are turning. 

This is mainly due to not only the speed but the average shape of an electric bicycle. They look essentially the same. So where a car traveling the same speed can turn onto another road with no accident when the pedestrian is on a pedal bike. Your pace on an electric bike might be what caused the accident.

Final Thoughts

While it may seem that electric bicyclists are safer than motorcyclists when traveling on the same road, their safety levels are relatively close to one another. The main thing to remember after reading this article is, your safety comes from 2 primary sources: 

  • Your total awareness and capability of driving your bike.
  • The attention of the cars and trucks driving next to you. 

If you typically drive a car, remember to make sure you are aware of motorcyclists and electric bikers surrounding you. Nevertheless, we believe that using these safety precautions mentioned above and whatever safety road rules apply to you will allow you to have the best experience possible! 

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