Riding bicycles grants young people a measure of independence from their parents, providing a safe way to get to school and a fun way to spend time with friends. Many jurisdictions regard most electrical bicycles to be functionally equivalent to non-motorized bikes, but does that mean that an electric beach cruiser is safe for kids?
Ultimately, you may have to make the call whether or not to allow your child to ride an electric bicycle based on his or her age, temperament, and habits, but here are some safety tips for when your child does eventually ride an electric bike.
1. Check Applicable Laws
Electric bike laws in the U.S. vary by state and sometimes by municipality. Check what the law allows where you live. Generally, the minimum age is in the range of 14 to 16.
2. Be Aware of Motor Size
There are usually more restrictions on electric bikes with the larger 750- to 1,000-watt engines. These bikes reach higher speeds, so some jurisdictions may not allow them for younger riders. Be sure to check the size and power of the motor before purchasing.
3. Choose a Bike That Fits
The right-size bike is based on your child’s weight and height. Manufacturers usually provide a range for which the bike is appropriate, so try to choose one that is in the recommended range based on your child’s measurements. Riders can have trouble controlling a bike that is too large or too small, and it could also present ergonomic issues.
Consider your child’s habits as well. For example, if your child usually wears a skirt to school, consider a women’s bike with a step-through frame to prevent this from getting caught on the ride and causing an accident.
4. Have Your Child Wear a Helmet
This is always important but is crucial with electric bicycles. Injuries from a collision involving an electric bike may be more severe because of the greater speeds the e-bike can attain.
5. Crack Down on Cell Phone Use
Distracted biking is as dangerous as distracted driving, especially on an electric bicycle. Explain the dangers of using a phone while bicycling to your child. Make a firm rule that your child is never to use the phone while biking and enforce strict consequences if you catch him or her at it.
6. Encourage Bright Colors
If your child wears fluorescents, reflectives, or other bright colors, it can make him or her more visible to cars on the road. If your child is old enough to ride a bike, you probably don’t dress him or her anymore, but encourage him or her to wear them and explain why.
7. Know Where To Ride
Many cities have designated bike lanes to keep riders safe from cars. Identify these to your child and tell him or her to use them as much as possible. If your community does not have bike lanes, make sure your child knows where to ride, e.g., on the right side of the road, not on the sidewalk.
Once you have decided that the time is right for your child to start riding an electric bicycle, you can find the Evryjourney electric hybrid bicycle and many other high-quality models from online retailers.