Avoid a Biking Tragedy

Now that the weather is pleasant and people are venturing outside, I have noticed a serious safety issue that is becoming widespread among young children and teenagers.

Yesterday, after stopping at a stop sign and making sure there were no cars or pedestrians in sight, I entered the intersection and nearly hit a child who shot out from one corner to the opposite corner diagonally across the intersection (think jaywalking). This child was on an electric bike which was very close to the ground, and he clearly did not even check the intersection before doing this, and did not seem to care very much about the location of the white crosswalk lines. If I had been a bit further into the intersection or in a taller vehicle like a van, there would have been no way for me to see him.

Electric bikes are an exciting mode of entertainment and transportation. The power and speed of these bikes can inspire a spirit of recklessness in children and can lead to tragedy, R”l. Just like we should educate ourselves and our children about traditional bicycle safety, it is imperative that we do so with e-bikes as well, as they come with their own set of risks.

It goes without saying that when riding anything with at least one wheel, everyone — no matter the age or level of skill — must wear a helmet. Before crossing any street, look both ways to ensure that there is no oncoming traffic, and if there is a car waiting at the intersection, make sure the driver sees you and allows you to cross. Always stay within the white lines when crossing the street, whether by foot or on a bicycle, and it is better to walk your bike across the street. When riding in the designated biker’s lane in the street, pay attention to traffic signals and surrounding cars, and keep a visible distance from passing traffic to make sure that they see you.

Just like we make sure someone is qualified to drive a car safely before handing them the keys, we should also ensure that our children know how to safely ride before allowing them to ride bicycles, electric or not.