Do electric bikes need extra bike lights?
It’s odd, I already knew extra lights on an electric bike couldn’t hurt. Yet it takes almost getting run over before I share this with you.
Not making this up, last week I was riding back from a football match. It was 7pm when I left, a lot of traffic, so I thought the electric bike would provide the swiftest ride. And I was right, my cowboy was always first at every red light and wasn’t worried about the traffic jam. The ride there was close to perfection. There’s always that one guy that takes a right without warning or looking, am I right?. It’s the ride back, however, that nearly knocked my socks off, literally.
For those who don’t know, the Cowboy bike has a built in front and rear light. They provide sufficient light, just a shame I can’t make them blink. Anyway, from the front and the rear they do just fine. What I’ve realised is that they are so well integrated, you can’t see them from the side. There is absolutely no extra visibility from certain angles. What a design flaw! Or is this just the way it is for most electric bicycles? If you know of any Electric bikes that are different let us know :)
Right before I left I grabbed 2 RIDR lights. Perks of being a founder I guess ;)! I attached them on both sides of the rear wheel. That way, when I turn on the laser lights I have a cool quadruple line pattern. It looks fancy and cool. But I never thought of the effect on my side visibility. I always position them slightly sideways so that the rubber mount doesn’t touch the tire.
So I left the stadium, grabbed my bike and re-attached my lights. Turn on the lasers and I’m off. Took me 25 minutes to get there, I just wanted to beat that time. The streets were empty, the only thing stopping me were red lights.
10 minutes into my ride I suddenly hear a car coming from my left. Even though he had to give way, he was coming in way too fast. He hadn’t seen me until he was too close. My quick acceleration combined with him steering the opposite way prevented a collision. I was scared and angry. Pulling to the side I rested my bike against the wall to walk it off. I then noticed how my dark bike, dark clothing, lack of reflectors and (invisible from the side) integrated lights didn’t help my situation.
I then understood that foolish drivers exist, but I could do much more to increase my visibility. It was at this point that I realised that my own RIDR lights might have saved my life. Did he get a glimpse of them as he approached me? Red, bright and flickering. Or did he just notice a dark shade passing in front of his car. I guess I’ll never know, but I’m damn happy that I have my lights.
To answer the question; do electric bikes need extra bike lights? I guess it depends on your bike, but in my situation it absolutely does.