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What to know before purchasing an e-bike this Christmas

E-bikes, or electric bikes, require no person power to get from A to B. Pedaling is optional.

They have become popular as a carbon-neutral, quiet form of transportation. Unfortunately, they also carry the risks of any two-wheeled form of transportation: head trauma and personal injury.

1. The fad of the future

Deloitte projects that 130 million e-bikes will be sold by 2023, supporting the New York Times’ position that e-bikes may be the future of urban transportation. That said, these bikes are so popular and easy to use that many riders may not take the same safety precautions when compared with bicycles or motorcycles.

2. Easier to ride than a bicycle, lighter than a motorcycle

One challenge the e-bike presents is that its weight and width make it a comfortable hybrid between a traditional road bike and a motorcycle. Motorcycles require special licenses because of their speed and aerodynamics. Similarly, it takes effort, learning and concentration to ride a traditional commuter bike. The e-bike’s heavy frame stability with few barriers to its access make it more likely that an injury will occur.

3. Injuries are commonplace

It seems that an e-bike’s users do not always think of the same safety precautions that they would on a bike, motorcycle or scooter. Without helmets and safety gear, the potential for orthopedic fractures, head / spinal trauma and road rash all increase. There are no licensing restrictions for e-bikes and therefore no special training or reminders about rules of the road. Take extra precautions before buying or using an e-bike, to protect yourself from injury and avoid a costly court battle over who was at fault.