Riding Safety

General Riding

  1. Electric bike riding is basically the same as riding a normal bike. All the usual safety precautions therefore apply, including:  i) always follow all relevant regulations and guidance (refer to Highway code both for guidance for cyclists and guidance for motorists with respect to interacting with cyclists); ii) always ensure the bike is in good condition to ride and regularly maintained, especially brakes and tyres; iii) ride considerately
  2. The principles of 'defensive driving' are particularly well suited to electric bike riding. The aim should be to observe ahead and act proactively to avoid any accident regardless of whose fault it would be. On an electric bike you can slow and then re-accelerate with little effort, so there should be no hesitation in doing so, either to prevent an accident or simply to be a more courteous rider. 
  3. Electric bikes have the potential to be safer than normal bikes. The speeds reached under power are significantly less than the speeds many cyclists may go at downhill so need not pose extra risk. Furthermore, the availability of extra power / acceleration can (if used appropriately) help the cyclist stay safe, for example when pulling away at busy junctions or getting out of risky situations. However, this is dependent on the attitude of the rider: use the available power assertively, but not aggressively! (Note that the greatest reduction in journey time is achieved by keeping up a moderate speed at all times, not by going super fast for some of the time).
  4. One specific risk that is exacerbated on an electric bike is that cars may assume you are not going as fast as you are, especially when going uphill. Therefore, pay particular attention to cars pulling out ahead of you or overtaking, and slow down if necessary.
  5. Be assertive. As well as having appropriate light/visibility/bell, it is best to 'take the lane' rather than staying close to the curb. As well as giving you space to avoid obstacles, cars will generally give you as much space when overtaking as you yourself take.  Electric bikes can make it easier to have the confidence to do this, since the greater speed of travel is closer to that of passing traffic.

Electric Bike Riding

  1. An electric bike works best when the motor has plenty of power for the hills / speed you need it to do, and he battery is big enough to provide it. While this may be considered obvious, it makes a big difference to the experience and utility of riding an electric bike. The result of getting it right is that you pedal at level of effort is comfortable for you, while travelling at your preferred speed, using a varying amount of power from the motor to provide the balance of the requirement. It is this combination, no doubt via the 'perceptual illusion' it creates that you are pedalling at ridiculous speeds up steep hills, that creates the famed 'e bike grin'. Beware - this can be addictive! 
  2. Any electric motor is most powerful and efficient when spinning relatively fast. At low speeds they are far less powerful / efficient, and can generate lots of heat, which can damage the motor. Therefore, avoid situations where the motor is working hard at low speeds - this can damage the motor. In other words, if the hill is too steep for the motor to keep up a 'reasonable' speed, then it is best to push the bike. If this is frustrating, then it may be best to get a more powerful bike (point 1 above)! It will generally be clear when the motor is struggling, from the loss of speed / power. Always keep pedal assist / throttle levels high on hills, while keeping gears low to assist pedalling and also crank / mid drives that work via the gears. Conversely, the motor may have a point at which the power reduces because it is spinning too fast (exactly analogous to pedalling too fast in a low gear); this point again will become apparent from the feel of the ride. 
  3. In view of points 1 and 2 above, it follows that an electric bike is best ridden making full use of the power available. Ride safely and not aggressively, but use as much power as is needed to keep cruising: it is more efficient to keep the motor at its optimum speed than by trying to limit the power used. Understand how to look after your battery and optimise the range...but don't let this stop  you from using its full capabilities. 
  4. It is important to have an appropriate gear range on an electric bike, even if you have a powerful motor. On a mid drive the gears enhance the motor performance itself, however on any electric bike it will feel unsatisfying if your legs can't keep up with the motor, or conversely are struggling in too high a bottom gear on the hills. Empowering E-Bikes can advise on likely hill climbing capabilities of a given gearing combination and provide upgrades if required.
  5. If riding a mid drive, remember that the chain is powered and be careful not to let loose clothing get caught in the chain / gear teeth. Never put your hands near the chain when the motor is switched on! If the chain has fallen off and needs replacing for example, always switch of the motor first. 
  6. Always switch off the motor system when you are not riding the bike, to avoid the risk of accidentally activating the motor.
  7. It is good practice to have at least one cut out system (E brake levers, cutout button etc) and ensure that you would be able to use it as an emergency cutout. Likewise, brakes on an electric bike should always be kept in good condition. 
  8. The BBS01 system has a high degree of water resistance but riding through large puddles should be avoided where possible and the bike dried out as soon as possible after use.

Electrical Maintenance & Safety 

  1. Electric bike batteries are typically 36 volts (V) direct current (DC). These voltages should not be generally be dangerous to humans as they are not sufficient to pass through dry skin but they scan cause a serious surface burn if shorted through a conducting material, for example a ring. Always treat with respect and avoid contacting the connectors.
  2.  Although the lithium cells used by Empowering E-Bikes are comparatively safe, lithium batteries are inherently combustible due to the high stored energy content, and should therefore be treated with care to avoid physical damage, as well as avoiding exposure to mositure or excessive vibration (use padding if a battery is strapped directly on e.g. a bike rack). Storage and charging (which is the highest risk process) should be conducted in a safe and non-flammable location where the impact of any failure would be mitigated. This may be considered as analogous to a can of petrol: safe if treated correctly but it needs to be treated appropriately. Any concerns over a battery provided, please contact for advice / support. 
  3. All connectors should be connected / disconnected by holding the bodies of the connectors and pushing / pulling: do not pull on the wires as this may damage the connection. Always ensure that connector bodies are fully engaged when connected.
  4. When a battery is connected to any electrical system, a spark can occur across the points that are connected due to static discharge. This can be audible / visible, but is not dangerous. Some connector types can however be damaged by this process, and if repeated it can lead to loss of effective connection. To avoid this, always have motor and battery systems switched off when connecting the battery. Empowering E-Bikes may use special spark resistant connectors where appropriate to avoid this concern.