San Diego e-bike retailer advocates for safety measures for young riders
The growing popularity of electric bikes, or e-bikes, is raising concerns about road safety, especially for young riders who don't know the rules of the road.
Dan Sachs from Happy EBIKES thinks there are lots of benefits to electric bikes, but says more needs to be done to ensure riders' safety.
“You should be able to pass a test in my opinion, but right now it’s the wild west," Sachs said. “You get a lot of people complaining that kids are very reckless, and quite frankly a lot of them are. It comes down to being very cautious on the road, and I believe people should take a course on how to ride a bike."
E-bikes can reach speeds of up to 30 miles per hour, and are a popular way for young people to get around.
Tracy Lothringer loves his e-bike and often uses it instead of his car to travel around Encinitas. He recently had a near miss with students on an e-bike outside a local high school. He also worries that some young riders won't wear helmets.
“They accelerated to get in front of me,” Lothringer said. “I put my brakes on which was fine, but then they slammed their brakes on to make a quick right turn into their parking lot. No understanding that there’s a flow of traffic behind them."
There are currently no tests required to ride electric bikes, something Ed Clancy from San Diego non-profit Pedal Ahead, an e-bike loan-to-own program, would like to see introduced.
“Any type of cyclist should be required to have some sort of standardized test," he said. “Vehicles may think they have the right of way, while cyclists are vulnerable. So, there needs to be a much larger community engagement on what’s happening on the road."
The electric bike industry is booming in the US, with e-bike sales outnumbering those of electric cars. Prices start at around $1,000, with high-end models retailing at $6,000 or more.