The wonders that technology can do are unbelievable. E-bikes too are products of that unbelievable technology. It was only recently electric bikes became popular among people. People have identified and embraced e-bikes entirely in a positive way while the truth is there are aspects that electric motorcycle drivers need to be cautious and careful of.
With the fast-growing demand and popularity, the manufacturing of e-bikes has been undertaken even by luxury car manufacturers like Lamborgini, Porsche, and Mercedes. Cannondale is one of the companies that carry exclusive e-bike manufacturing in the world.
What are e-bikes?
An e-bike or electric bike takes the exact shape of a bicycle but the difference is that e-bikes have an electric motor. This motor assists the riders when they are pedaling. There is a rechargeable battery from which the motor gets power. The power assistance that a rider can get from a motor is based on how hard he is pedaling and also on the level of support the rider has selected. In general, there are two broad categories of e-bikes. They are
- E-bikes with a hub motor
- E-bikes with mid-motor
How do Electric Bikes Work?
There is no big difference between an e-bike and a regular bicycle. The same parts in the latter category can be seen in an e-bike too. The difference is e-bikes have electric components that accelerate human power. The fact that e-bikes have electric power does not mean that it replaces human power completely. The riders of e-bikes can manage obstacles such as slopes and headwinds. In a nutshell, e-bikes make it less exhaustive for riders to travel even on bumpy roads. E-bikes have the following components.
The motor is the most cardinal part of an e-bike. The engine of an e-bike is what decides the breaking and making of an electric bike. The front hub, rear hub, and mid-drive are the three spots where you can find a motor.
The drivetrain is the system in human-powered vehicles like bicycles that transmits power from riders to the wheels. Literally, an e-bike is not an e-bike without a drivetrain because power is redirected from a mid-drive motor to the drivetrain. This enables the chain of the bike to get going easily.
With a standard battery, a rider can usually ride for about 20-60 miles. It is the rider’s style of riding that decides the battery capacity.
The Three Different Styles of the Bike Riders
Class 1- Pedal only
These are regular-type bikes. The sole energy source is the rider because unless you pedal you cannot move.
Class 2- Pedal-assist
These types of e-bikes are designed to help you ride easily without much effort. Once the operating method is activated the motor starts as you pedal. You can ride at a preferred speed using this style.
Class 3- Electric only
These types of bikes require a very less amount of effort from the rider. The only thing that the rider has to do is twist the throttle. Then, the bike will start to move freely. The benefit of this is that you don’t have to put much effort but it causes the battery to drain rapidly.
Electric Bikes vs Motorcycles
Electric bikes employ electric motors and human power. This combination allows the riders to ride as they need. The legal requirements that riders have to fulfill in regard to electric bikes are minimum. E-bike drivers do not need a license. There is no need for registration and insurance of the bike. And, you don’t have to pay taxes. In addition, you are not legally required to wear a helmet when you ride an e-bike. (but it is highly advisable to wear one). When it comes to legislation, e-bikes cannot exceed the recommended speed. Usually, the riders have to stop generating power when the bikes reach 25kph. The lower fuel costs and the eco-friendly nature of e-bikes are two main reasons for e-bikes to be popular among people.
Motorcycles are undeniably more powerful than e-bikes. There is no pedaling for motorbikes because the throttle takes care of all the movements of the vehicle. When it comes to legal requirements the procedure that riders need to follow is a strict one. The need for a license, registration, and insurance applies to motorcycles. Wearing safety clothing including helmets is compulsory when you drive a motorcycle. There are no restrictions on speed. Even though the motorcycle is faster, this might not be the quickest all the time because electric bikes can go on any road by sidling down the traffic sides. The maintenance required for motorcycles is relatively high. Motorcycles need fuel and this is costly.
The Pros And Cons of E-bikes and Motorcycles
Having an idea about the advantages and disadvantages of e-bikes and motorcycles is also important. Since there are differences between the two categories, it is natural to have pros and cons as well.
- Riders can take any road easily, even shortcuts.
- If you are going to work, you won’t have to bother about parking the bike since you can park it closer to you in a sheltered place.
- Eco-friendly and quiet
- No need of paying road tax, gas costs, insurance fees, or MOTs.
- You can maintain an e-bike relatively for less amount.
- E-bikes would be a good workout machine that helps you to stay fit and healthy.
- Because of the lightness of an e-bike, it is more prone to be stolen. Hence, you may need to invest some money to install a security method.
- E-bikes are not affordable to an earner of an average income. Usually, the price range of an e-bike goes from $2000-10000. Only the affluent class can afford these bikes.
- This is not the ideal type of vehicle for a long journey. The typical distance that you can cover is 20-60 miles. However, there are e-bikes that allow 70 miles. But they are more expensive.
- You don’t need to put any physical effort into a motorcycle. What you need to do is just sit and let your arms work.
- You can transport another passenger on a motorcycle.
- Unlike e-bikes, motorcycles allow you to carry heavy loads.
- No need of charging
- Motorcycles will constantly drain your bank account for a lot of expenses. For example fuel, registration, tax, and insurance require money.
- If you use the motorcycle to go to work, you may need to park it in a parking lot, away from the place where you are working.
- Sound pollution is a major drawback. Motorcycles emit a big noise. This is annoying.
- Motorcycles are a major reason behind environmental pollution as well.
- The accidents that happen because of motorcycle crashes are grave and severe. The injuries a victim can sustain are relatively dangerous. This is due to the power and speed of the vehicle.
Are E-bikes More Dangerous than Motorcycles?
The convenience and the fun of riding an e-bike seem to be the leading reasons for people to buy e-bikes. However, there are discussions going around saying that e-bikes are more dangerous than standard motorcycles. The following are the reasons why an e-bike would be more dangerous.
E-bikes are slower and this reason makes e-bikes more dangerous
First of all, this sounds absurd. How can being be slow more dangerous than being fast? Studies say that this depends. The reason is when e-bikes travel along the roads with heavy traffic that moves fast, e-bikes are inevitably in danger. It seems to be a valid argument. The possibility of a motorcycle getting into trouble moving fast with heavy traffic is less. One may argue that that is why cities have plans to invest in secured cycling lanes. Well, it is a long-term process.
E-bike riders are not geared properly
This too is a valid argument. However, this addresses the rider culture rather than the types of bikes. They say when you go on a motorcycle ride “dress for the slide, not for the ride”. This means when you know that you are going to ride a motorcycle, you get equipped with all the safety clothing like a carbon fiber full-face helmet, motorcycle jacket, armored gloves, motorcycle jeans, and armored crush-proof boots. However, when you are going to ride an e-bike it would be just a skateboarding helmet that you’d wear. This is something entirely about riders’ attitudes. When they can wear the same clothing set when riding an e-bike and neglecting to do so is not a problem of the e-bike.
E-bikes have a poor visibility
Some argue that e-bikes are less visible compared to motorcycles when they travel on roads. However, it is said that both are equally not visible. The reason is the roads are for cars. And, the car drivers do not look for something that they do not expect. That is why the presence of bikes is not in their minds. Car drivers are looking for cars. However, this argument may valid when you ride e-bikes at night. Motorcycles have headlights and tail lights. So, there is no danger. But, e-bikes don’t have them. Therefore, having something reflective at night for an e-bike would be good.
E-bikes use less sophisticated parts
People say that another reason for e-bikes to be more dangerous is having less sophisticated parts. Motorcycles have ABS brakes and traction control aids. All motorcycles in the US use mirrors and lighting packages. However, some argue that because of these high-security systems, riders do not consider their part in contributing to maintaining safety. The reason is they think that the sophisticated parts would protect them. In contrast, since e-bikes have fewer security components, riders tend to take precautions while driving.
The Safety Factor That Needs Attention When Driving Motorcycles and E-bikes
Even though the above four arguments are worth debating, the biggest concern of safety should be directed at rider skill. Skills are something that needs to be developed by the riders themselves. Motorcycles universally require a license. This is common in all countries. Hence, riders have to go through motorcycle courses and follow instructions as advocated by the relevant authorities. So, it is advisable even for e-bike riders to take this type of course even though there is no legal requirement just for the safety factor. It is not mandatory. This again is the attitude of the riders to know everything clearly and ride after ensuring the safety of them and the others as well. Usually, e-bikes are almost free from proper regulation. However, if the e-bikers also tend to learn the regulation process, then there will be less risk for e-bikers.
How To Mitigate the Risk?
This again is not in God’s hands. It is the riders themselves who need to decide how fast they should ride and at which part of the road. It is up to them to decide whether they wear safety clothing or refrain from wearing them. It is riders who can decide how to navigate their way around cars. It is riders who decide whether they need to adhere both to the legal and moral standards of driving. For the fear of sanctions, the legal requirements are fulfilled. However, moral obligations are easily forgotten. E-bikers have a relatively bigger responsibility because they are not legally regulated in comparison to motorcycle riders.
All things considered, it can be concluded that e-bikes are risky and dangerous. However, it is not easy to say which of these two categories is riskier and more dangerous because both motorcycles and e-bikes produce similar harm when driven recklessly. Hence, the better conclusion would be to say that both e-bikes and motorcycles equally cause harm when driven without proper care. So, you have to pay attention to all the facts mentioned in the above paragraphs. To minimize accidents the riders have to think about how important it is to drive safely both for themselves and the people on the roads. It is a huge responsibility. So, the best conclusion would be to say that motorcycles are as dangerous as e-bikes and vice versa. It is all about riders’ skills and their attitudes regarding safety methods.