Fortnine study: Are electric bikes more dangerous than motorcycles?

6zfshdb

Well-Known Member
I ride both, a Haibike and a Ducati. Two wheels of either sort is pure joy. I think for both, safety is in the hands of the rider. Traffic is the ultimate danger. Especially for motorcycles, it's intersections and vehicles turning left (in the States). I have complete confidence in riding my Haibike. It will always have a spot in the garage as long as I can peddle.

The Ducati. It's gut wrenching. Whenever I'm off the bike I'm thinking 'this thing is going to kill me'. Whenever I'm on the bike I'm thinking 'this thing is SO much fun and firmly planted to the tarmac. Why would I ever think about sell it?

Well, because things happen and if it happens on my Ducati, it not going to end up well. I'll be 75 in June. While I feel sharp and fit, everything diminishes with age. I need to figure out when to say the risk is too great, and get rid of it. It would probably help if would stay off the bike!;)
Any insights would be appreciated if you or someone you know left the sport at the right time. Thanks
I rode my Ducati & BSA motorcycles and Trek conventional MTB's until I retired at age 60. At that point, The self preservation factor kicked in when too many close friends were being injured in traffic accidents. I sold the motorcycles and gave up riding my Trek's on public roads. I bought my first e-bike at age 71. Now at 74, I continue to ride it, along with my Trek's, exclusively on MUP's, trails, bike paths and forest access roads. Unfortunately, none are within a safe riding distance from where I live so I keep my bikes loaded in my vehicle for immediate use whenever I want to ride.
I'm in reasonably good health but age & joint issues have reduced my capability using my conventional Trek's. For obvious reasons, the e-bike has restored both my ability and enthusiasm for bicycling and I plan to continue riding off road for the foreseeable future.
Off road riding however presents it's own dangers and the possibility of injury, although reduced, is still present. Consequently, I avoid weekends and crowded trails. I ride cautiously, even more so when others are nearby. Mostly as insurance against mechanical & physical problems, I ride a bike with a throttle. Using it, I have a better chance of getting back to my vehicle should a problem occur.
With any luck, I'm hopeful these measures will keep me on my bikes well into my 80's.
 

nickybcareful

New Member
I rode my Ducati & BSA motorcycles and Trek conventional MTB's until I retired at age 60. At that point, The self preservation factor kicked in when too many close friends were being injured in traffic accidents. I sold the motorcycles and gave up riding my Trek's on public roads. I bought my first e-bike at age 71. Now at 74, I continue to ride it, along with my Trek's, exclusively on MUP's, trails, bike paths and forest access roads. Unfortunately, none are within a safe riding distance from where I live so I keep my bikes loaded in my vehicle for immediate use whenever I want to ride.
I'm in reasonably good health but age & joint issues have reduced my capability using my conventional Trek's. For obvious reasons, the e-bike has restored both my ability and enthusiasm for bicycling and I plan to continue riding off road for the foreseeable future.
Off road riding however presents it's own dangers and the possibility of injury, although reduced, is still present. Consequently, I avoid weekends and crowded trails. I ride cautiously, even more so when others are nearby. Mostly as insurance against mechanical & physical problems, I ride a bike with a throttle. Using it, I have a better chance of getting back to my vehicle should a problem occur.
With any luck, I'm hopeful these measures will keep me on my bikes well into my 80's.
Ah. BSA's! I used to drool over those, Triumphs and Nortons when I was in college. Very cool, but also very unreliable. Just like the 4-wheeled MGs, Triumphs , and Austin Healey's. Of course, they are all British.
You have taken the path I should follow. The e-bikes are great fun with the bonus of exercise. Unfortunately, this could turn into the case where the kids have to hide the keys to the Ducati from Grandpa. 😔
 

6zfshdb

Well-Known Member
Ah. BSA's! I used to drool over those, Triumphs and Nortons when I was in college. Very cool, but also very unreliable. Just like the 4-wheeled MGs, Triumphs , and Austin Healey's. Of course, they are all British.
You have taken the path I should follow. The e-bikes are great fun with the bonus of exercise. Unfortunately, this could turn into the case where the kids have to hide the keys to the Ducati from Grandpa. 😔
I really wanted a Triumph Bonneville but in 1969, there was an 18 month waiting list. I settled for the BSA Firebird 650 which I rode for nearly 40 years until I sold it in 2006. Yes, those British bikes were notoriously unreliable, mainly due to the Lucas electrical components. I reworked the BSA over the years until all that Lucas crap had been replaced. The Ducati's (I had four) were mostly used for scrambles racing & off road riding. The exception was the Ducati Mark IV which, as you imply, could easily kill you if you didn't take care!
 

Dave Rocks

Active Member
Region
Canada
City
Mississauga Ontario
I went to the LBS to get a shock pump today.
On the way back I was in the left turn lane waiting for the light.
A doofus on an ebike rode in between me and the lane to my right. Between numerous cars.
As the light for us was still red, he veered into the crosswalk in front of me and crossed the road.
This was the action of an aggressive and impatient idiot.
Aggressive and impatient idiots will always die more often than the more cautious and careful among us.
There’s a song there.
 

Ebiker01

Well-Known Member
Potentially a different design where the ebiks could have carbon fiber doors /hood , the hole thing retractable maybe the whole protection mechanism should be 5-7 pounds that will make it safer I think with 3-4 airbags also .
But then it will be Very important to make the ebike I aerodynamic with Channel flows and other things.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
What was interesting is that most of accident videos seem to indicate that bike rider was at fault in almost every case. I would think anyone on a bike would be extra careful but even that is not reality. But Darwin has a way of thinning out the dumb bike riders fast.

I have an interested story. I road a 100+ HP motorcycle for almost 20 years and never went down. I was cut off by cars many times but was always looking for it so I could avoid the accident knowing I was the one that would be hurt regardless of fault. But I bought a 1hp ebike and on one freezing drizzle morning I didn't anticipate that the wooden bridges could be ice coated and I went down at like 22mph and went head first into a pole and fractured 3 cervical vertebrae (C6 was unstable so I was lucky to only spend 6 days in the hospital and was able to walk with only some right arm nerve impact that has improved over 2 years). It was 100% my fault but it goes to show that how one mistake can impact your life in a big way. Bike riders MUST pay attention and if you are commuting on any bike path or street you should at minimum have rear view mirror, a bell, and front and rear lights always on. Those simple things can dramatically improve your safety. I laugh when I see a biker turning around to look to make a turn....get a rear view mirror for $10.
 

Comfortably Numb

Active Member
For me the risk/personal safety equation lost all balance around 55 years old. I rode adventure bikes ( KTM ) and mostly in the country. It was the wildlife that made me give it up. GD deer! They're like rabbits here in SW Texas only bigger and more of them. I hated riding in town though as well. Sooner or later the bastages are going to get you and that was BEFORE everyone and their kid had a cellphone. Car and truck drivers see you ( unconsciously ) but they know it's only you on the bike that is going to be hurt. Most of them are so distracted they're on auto pilot thinking about a thousand things and texting to boot. The odds are against the biker ... always.
I rode motorcycles for almost 50 years. I quit a couple of years ago because it's become too unsafe. All the doughheads in their cars on phones, hence, having to pay way more attention combined with my eroding faculties. You ride motorcycles in traffic however, so you are more visible and have much more of a presence than a bicycle. I would never ride an ebike where I would a motorcycle. On a bicycle I stick to less travelled side streets. For me a motorcycle is far safer. I also know people that despise sharing the road with bicycles.
When I used to commute to work I always had run-ins with cars on my bike. Rarely ever on a motorcycle but one needs to be every bit as vigilant.
 

Comfortably Numb

Active Member
Potentially a different design where the ebiks could have carbon fiber doors /hood , the hole thing retractable maybe the whole protection mechanism should be 5-7 pounds that will make it safer I think with 3-4 airbags also .
But then it will be Very important to make the ebike I aerodynamic with Channel flows and other things.
Sure hope not. If it gets to that, shoot me.

CN
 

Kayakguy

Active Member
Early on, I rode motorcycles, later switched to maxi-scooters (400 cc). Two things I noticed (or at least thought I perceived) 1) I did not make eye contact with oncoming drivers intending to turn left, because too many drivers interpret eye contact to mean that you are giving them permission to take your right of way. I used to stare (glare?) straight ahead to show I fully intended to claim my right of way come hell or high water. And I never had this tactic fail me. The only time I got challenged was when the oncoming driver ran the just-turned-red left turn light. This was the kind of driver who can't help doing that because of the suction of the car ahead. They are pulled irresistibly through the intersection. You see it all the time. I was aware the driver was likely to do that, and had the brakes covered to stop in time.

2) I never felt afraid on the freeway (Bellingham to Seattle). The reason is that other drivers always seemed to be aware of my presence, and (I surmise) thought I looked so vulnerable out there that they didn't even want to be close to me. I think it helped also that the motor cycles had sufficient power and maneuverability to zoom away from trouble. Of course, I always rode with full attention to my surroundings, which I attribute to fear.

As for e-bikes, my only crash involving a car was entirely my fault. I posted about that back in late October/early November, so will not go into that again, except to say it was due to failure to see car coming from my left, even after checking carefully.
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
I think Asher nailed this topic. Much depends upon the rider.
I don't think that was the point though?

Obviously an idiot riding an ebike is far more dangerous than a responsible and experienced rider riding a motorcycle. (and vice versa)

But I think we're trying to see which one (ebiking and motorcycling) is inherently more dangerous.

With the same rider, same level of precautions, same level or reaction time and athletic abilities, etc.
 

nickybcareful

New Member
To me, motorcycles are more dangerous simply because of speed and they are flying around in traffic a LOT more but they both certainly have their dangers.
Well, since you put it like that. I'd have to agree with Dallant. If you are unfortunate enough to hit something, anything, the faster you are going the worse the result. Just my opinion.
 

Taylor57

Well-Known Member
I don't think that was the point though?

Obviously an idiot riding an ebike is far more dangerous than a responsible and experienced rider riding a motorcycle. (and vice versa)

But I think we're trying to see which one (ebiking and motorcycling) is inherently more dangerous.

With the same rider, same level of precautions, same level or reaction time and athletic abilities, etc.

Oh, ok. Yeah, I think based on sheer potential speed, the motorcycle probably wins the award...
 

Ebiker33

Well-Known Member
A wipe out at 40 mph is going to sting much more than 20 mph, even if you have the protective gear. But if you have double the protection for double the speed it will help.
Going over 20 mph on my Ebike makes me nervous, I am locked at 20 mph as per my local laws, but going down a hill I can go faster locked or not.
I just know any wipe out on my Ebike at 20 mph is going to leave a bruise, and probably cuts and scrapes.
But any rider on an analog bike going even an average speed that gets doored will be hurt, my brother was in the hospital for a week with bad injuries from zipping to work on his old ten speed when a car opened it's door and knocked him out cold. It was so bad he never remembered anything for 2 days. It was a horrible accident.
I hate sharing the road with cars, their screw up could mean serious injuries. Bike trails are great, and the good thing at least 30% of the bikes on the trails now are Ebikes where I am. And most are traveling at a respectful speed.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
Sure hope not. If it gets to that, shoot me.

CN

Potentially a different design where the ebiks could have carbon fiber doors /hood , the hole thing retractable maybe the whole protection mechanism should be 5-7 pounds that will make it safer I think with 3-4 airbags also .
But then it will be Very important to make the ebike I aerodynamic with Channel flows and other things.

I do think that it's feasible to add some rider protection on a recumbent like wrapping a carbon seat around the rider a bit. Much harder on a traditional bike geometry but mindset need to change if electric recumbents will get more attention. Just seems to me that most ebikes are being designed by spandexter cyclists for spandexter cyclists that were only driven by a weight paradigm for 50 years so they haven't really given much thought to what the extra assist of a motor can do to bike design.
 

mogulskier

Active Member
....having to pay way more attention combined with my eroding faculties.

You bring up a good point about that. Reaction times get slower as we age, and riding a middleweight sport bike at a good clip gets even more dangerous. I was quick to buy a literbike, but almost as quick to go back to a middleweight. Not having your mind and body in great shape just raises the danger level.
 

Bubba zanetti

Active Member
Region
Canada
City
Trail, BC
My current motorcycle is a Triumph 1050 ST. When I ride I now wear this jacket. HitAir inflating air bag. A crash three years ago on my Moto Guzzi, nearly did me in, despite full gear, CE3 Armour and a very good full Shark HelMet. Crashed at about 100k after rear wheel failure. Fortunately I don’t recall the crash. The Guzzi was totally destroyed and rear wheel never recovered. Torn sternum and many, many fractured ribs ... don’t go there.

I bought Shock Doc padding, shirt, including side ribs and shorts for my ebike, a MIPS helmet. It should help, but not prevent injury. But really. 30 mph + we should be wearing full face helmet IMHO. The DEEP scuffs on my motorcycle helmet, across the shield and chin bar, would have left me disfigured for life If wearing an open face helmet.
 

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FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Silicon Valley
My current motorcycle is a Triumph 1050 ST. When I ride I now wear this jacket. HitAir inflating air bag. A crash three years ago on my Moto Guzzi, nearly did me in, despite full gear, CE3 Armour and a very good full Shark HelMet. Crashed at about 100k after rear wheel failure. Fortunately I don’t recall the crash. The Guzzi was totally destroyed and rear wheel never recovered. Torn sternum and many, many fractured ribs ... don’t go there.

I bought Shock Doc padding, shirt, including side ribs and shorts for my ebike, a MIPS helmet. It should help, but not prevent injury. But really. 30 mph + we should be wearing full face helmet IMHO. The DEEP scuffs on my motorcycle helmet, across the shield and chin bar, would have left me disfigured for life If wearing an open face helmet.
Very nice protective gear... what type of rear wheel was on the Moto?