If you have seen more battery-powered electric bikes on sidewalks and streets, there is a reason.
Electric bicycles have become the fastest-selling electric vehicle on the market and now sell electric cars more than two to one, according to Deloitte. And Deloitte predicts that by the end of 2023, more than 130 million e-bikes will have been sold worldwide since 2020.
But as recently as a few years ago, electric bicycles occupied only a small niche in the electric vehicle market.
So why is the popularity increasing?
Experts cite an appetite for a more environmentally friendly method of urban traffic and a desire to emerge during the pandemic as the turning points of the e-bike revolution. At the same time, city dwellers who want to avoid closed public transport have taken up bicycle commuting in larger numbers.
The technology has also improved. Today̵7;s e-bikes are lighter and stronger than previous generations. Their power source, lithium-ion batteries, has become more efficient and can be charged virtually anywhere. Bile-sharing platforms, such as Lime, make e-bikes more accessible to the masses in many cities – just download an app and pull them out.
Let’s take a deeper look at how they work and what we need to know.
What is an electric bicycle?
Electric bikes are bikes with battery-powered electric motors that give it an extra kick. They are ridden in the same way as standard bikes but can save riders the extra time and effort required to walk up slopes or cycle long distances. While their engines can help them reach up to 28 miles per hour, e-bikes can also be pedaled, which sets them apart from other motorized bikes.
Electric bike classes: what do they mean?
Electric bikes are usually divided into three classes: 1, 2 and 3.
- Class 1: These electric bikes have an electric motor that only works when the rider pedals. This class, commonly called an electric pedal bike, or pedelec, can reach a top speed of about 20 mph.
- Class 2: Electric bikes in class 2 also max out at 20 mph, but have a throttle control that drives the bike even when it is not pedaled. But riders usually still have the pedal assist option in class 1. Electric bikes in class 1 and 2 are generally allowed for use anywhere you would ride a regular bike – on bike lanes, paths and roads.
- Class 3: These e-bikes are the fastest and reach speeds of up to 48 km / h. These bikes must also have a speedometer, but depending on the condition in which they are used, they may or may not have throttle controls. Some states, such as California, do not allow Class 3 e-bikes to have throttle controls, while others allow them to operate only up to 20 mph before pedal-assisted power can be used to reach 28 mph. Most states allow Class 3 e-bikes on road or bike lanes, but they are generally prohibited from bike lanes and multi-use trails shared by pedestrians.
How much does an electric bike cost?
Like regular pedal bikes, there is a range – and you get what you pay for.
In general, the quality and durability of the battery can have the greatest impact on the cost of your electric bike. Although you can find a reliable, inexpensive electric bike for under $ 1,000, many popular makes and models fall in the $ 1,200 to $ 3,000 range.
If you’re willing to pay extra for advanced components or a sleeker look, you’ll find plenty of options in the $ 3,000 to $ 10,000 range as well. Finally: When budgeting for your purchase of an electric bike, do not forget to take into account the costs of maintenance and important accessories, such as a helmet and a high-quality bike lock.
Laws and licenses for electric bicycles
Many states and localities have their own laws on e-bikes, including a minimum age for using them. Familiarize yourself with the laws in your area before you start pedaling. Depending on your state, you may also need a license to ride an electric bike.
Although laws vary depending on where you are, basic etiquette applies everywhere. E-bike riders should follow the same traffic rules as regular bikes.
- Follow traffic lights and road signs as you drive on the road.
- Wear reflective or visible clothing so that other drivers can see you. Think of a lamp too.
- Travel with the traffic flow and use hand signals when appropriate.
- Be polite to other riders and pedestrians.
- Always wear a properly fitted helmet. (Read our guide to buying a safe bicycle helmet.)
Finally: Always keep your bike locked or securely stored when not in use. Read our related story on how to prevent bicycle theft.
Electric bicycle insurance
With all these e-bikes spinning around, wouldn’t it be nice to know that someone is looking for you when you cruise to your destination?
ERIE also thought so, and that is why coverage for e-bikes is now automatically included in our ErieSecure Home®, Condo and Tenant policies *. (Read more about home insurance from ERIE.)
This means that damages, property damage and liability will be covered when an e-bike is away from home. Physical damage totaling up to $ 5,000 will also be covered for motorized bicycles, scooters and mopeds that are not built or modified to exceed 28 miles. per hour and subject. for motor vehicle registration.
“This coverage offers protection for one of the fastest growing transportation methods,” said Bob Buckel, vice president of product management at Erie Insurance. “We want our customers to travel safely and know that ERIE has its back.”
Questions about electric bike coverage? Find a local insurance agent near you to see the ERIE difference for yourself.
* Not available in all states. Electric bike coverage is currently not available in the District of Columbia, New York and North Carolina. Restrictions and other restrictions apply. Talk to your ERIE agent for more information.