Ebike Etiquette for Safer Roads and Trails
Ebike riders are spending more time on the roads and trails. That’s not just hyperbole; a study found ebike riders increased their bicycle use by 340%. Since riders are using ebikes to ride further, faster, and to take more trips, it’s an excellent time to visit the ebike rules of the road.
So make sure you’re following good ebike etiquette to ensure everyone is having a good time while they cycle, no matter what kind of bike they’re using.
E-bikes can go faster than a regular bicycle, with Class I and II ebikes topping out at 20mph. But just because you can, doesn’t always mean you should. Be respectful and courteous of other bicyclists and pedestrians and keep your speed in check.
- Follow posted speed limits
- Pass politely and only where safe and appropriate
- Turn your motor off and slow down around horses or other animals
Have a respectful attitude with other cyclists, as well. Sure, you have the power to pass someone on the uphill climb, but that doesn’t mean you need to boast about it, too. Some conventional cyclists still haven’t made up their minds about ebikes; you don’t want to be the person who ruins their opinion for everybody else.
Making safety a priority is vital for cyclists on any bike, electric or conventional. But when you’ve got a motor in play, you have even more responsibility for your own and others’ safety.
For road ebikes, keep to the same bike lanes and routes used by conventional bikes. Follow the same rules of the road as you would on any other bike, and remember to be safe, courteous, and respectful when riding around conventional bicyclists and pedestrians.
For e-MTB bikes, only ride on trails where ebikes are explicitly allowed. A 2020 ruling allowed ebikes in National Parks. However, superintendents at each park can explicitly limit or restrict ebike access where they deem appropriate. So check your park rules before you go, because you may be allowed on the trails or only on off-highway vehicle areas, depending on the specific park you’re riding.
And, of course, stay on the trails if you’re allowed to use them. Don’t ride through vegetation and wildlife, don’t cut corners, don’t damage trails and wildlife, and don’t take your ebike on a trail where it’s not allowed.
Lastly, be smart when you’re enjoying your ebike! Check with your local bike shop for a list of the best nearby places to ride your ebike, to find a community of ebike riders to ride with, and to learn more about ebike classifications and etiquette.
Make sure you’re properly geared up and able to stay hydrated on your ride. The pedal-assist motor of an ebike only kicks on when you’re pedaling, and ebike riders get just as much of a physical workout as conventional cyclists. So don’t fall under the assumption that you don’t need fluids for a ride.
Wear bright or reflective colors so you can be seen on the road and trails. Utilize front and back lights if you ride early morning, at dusk, night, when the weather is cloudy, or in any situation when visibility may be poor.
Ready to explore the world on your new electric bike? Ebike etiquette is just as important as conventional bike etiquette. Because of the additional speed you have at your fingertips, it’s even more vital to be a good ambassador for the sport. Be sure to ride safely, respectfully, and smartly when you’re out and about on your ebike.
Want to talk to an ebike expert about where and how to ride your bike safely? Ask the ebike experts at Roseville Cyclery. Visit our showroom in Downtown Roseville, CA, for ebike sales, service, and a supportive ebike community.