Could An Electric Bike Make Commuting Possible For You?
Whether you’ve always wanted to ride your bike to work, or you’ve just started considering it, there’s a good chance the recent rise in e-bike offerings has made the idea a lot more interesting to you. Undoubtedly, e-bikes almost entirely remove the most daunting barriers to commuting—distance and hills. With ranges of 40 to even 100 miles on some models of e-bikes, along with powerful 750-watt motors, riders both new and experienced have some strong incentives to go green and get an electric bike. But could an electric bike make commuting possible for you? Let’s run down a list of reasons e-bikes may or may not be the right vehicle for your daily commute.
Benefits Of Commuting By Electric Bike
Never Get Stuck In Traffic Again
If there is one thing everyone agrees on is the worst part of a daily work commute, it’s the traffic! Perhaps the most significant benefit of commuting by electric bike every day to work is never getting stuck in traffic again. More and more cities are building bike-specific pathways and protected lanes, making your ride to work both safer and more efficient. For those times when there aren’t bike lanes or paths, the small and nimble nature of e-bikes means you can breeze right past any long lines of slow-moving cars you may encounter.
No Need To Pad Your Commute Time
Another great benefit of riding an e-bike to work is that the length of your commute will be pretty much the same every day once you establish a regular route. This means you won’t need to leave the house early to make sure you’re on time, accounting for potential traffic jams. Depending on how far you live, you could even shave time off your overall commute! You could potentially sleep longer and enjoy a real breakfast rather than sitting in traffic.
Arrive Much Faster Than With A Conventional Bike
Pedal assist and motor-power-only capabilities give e-bike riders the ability to reach higher speeds for more sustained periods of time than conventional bikes can. With speeds of 20mph or more using battery power alone, you can commute three full miles in only 15 minutes without even needing to pedal. It’s like having the compact convenience of a motorcycle without the cost of fuel!
No Sweaty Clothes!
Another huge turn-off for many people who’ve thought about riding a bike to work is the thought of arriving hot, sweaty, and out of breath. But with e-bikes, riders are able to set the pedal assist level, providing them far more control over how much effort they have to exert. If there’s a big hill, riders can just boost the pedal assist level and pedal as if they were on flat ground. Or they could just hit the full-assist mode and throttle up the hill with zero effort. For riders living under 10 miles from work, most electric bikes have plenty of battery life to get them to and from work without any need to pedal themselves.
Save Money Every Day
Riding an e-bike to work can slash many different commute-based expenses. If someone rides on public transit systems, the fares for these rides can stay in their wallet. And if someone drives alone to work, they’ll save on gas, along with routine maintenance like tires and oil changes. People may even be able to reduce their car insurance rates by driving recreational-only miles. Driving fewer miles also means e-bike riders can increase the potential resale value of their car in the future, putting thousands back in their pocket.
Purpose-Built Commuter E-Bikes
As e-bikes have grown in popularity, so have the types of features for people commuting to work. You can find e-bike versions of almost every style of bike, from commuter to foldable all-terrain. Many come with features like storage compartments, fenders, and integrated lighting systems for added safety and versatility. E-bikes have become the sport-utility vehicles of the commuter bike world.
Are E-Bikes Legal Where You Live?
There aren’t currently Federal laws regulating the use of electric bikes on public roads. However, numerous states and local authorities have their own laws governing the use of e-bikes.
It’s smart to check your state’s laws relating to e-bikes before you buy. Some restrict not only where you can ride, but how powerful the motor is and the top speed. Some e-bikes are faster than others, so if speed is a factor for you, check your local laws before buying the fastest e-bike on the market.
Here’s a list of some example state rules for electric bikes that illustrate the differences from one state to another. Notice how some states have motor wattage limits and speed limits.
E-bikes are street legal and can be used for daily commuting, but you’ll need a Class M Driver’s License if you want to ride an e-bike on state roads. Minors without a Class M Driver’s License because of their age can apply for a restricted license as long as they’re at least 14 years of age.
Connecticut considers electric bikes legal road vehicles. However, e-bikes must have a minimum seat height of 26 inches and a motor rating of 750-watts or less. Also, the e-bike can’t exceed 20 mph and must have a working brake system.
Ohio doesn’t require a special license to ride e-bikes. If a person can ride a standard bike with minimal difficulty, then they’re allowed to ride a Class 1 or Class 2 e-bike. If a person wants to ride a Class 3 e-bike, they have to be at least 16 years of age and wear a helmet.
The California Department of Transportation says that electric bikes can be ridden everywhere within the state, aside from areas specifically restricted by local authorities as well as some trail systems, so check with local laws regarding their use.
Commuting Is Easier With Your Phone In Sight
If you’re just getting started riding an e-bike to work, having quick access to your smartphone is one of the best ways to stay safe and have the best possible bike commute each day. For riders using a safety system like Garmin’s Varia Radar system with their smartphone, being able to mount their phone where they can easily see it is crucial.
Also, easy phone viewing enables riders to stay updated on transit times, GPS turns, or ride data that can make e-bike commuting less frustrating and more efficient. Using Rokform’s Rugged Case with one of our Bike Phone Mounts will keep your phone securely mounted and positioned perfectly for easy viewing so you can have a safe e-bike commute!
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