A Dangerous Combination: Teenagers’ Accidents Expose E-Bike Risks
By: Grace Gao
The e-bike business is booming as more and more consumers get drawn to the convenient mode of transportation. However, recent e-bike accidents have brought a question to light: How safe is this new method of transportation?
Clarissa Champlain, a former mother of two, got her answer on a Thursday evening in late June when she was informed that her 15-year-old son Brodee had gotten in an accident. On his way home from sports practice, a van had clipped her son’s e-bike, sending the boy flying. Ms. Champlain rushed to the hospital, where she saw her son for the last time.
Brodee’s school, San Dieguito Academy, held a memorial event for him where his eulogies were read. His life and accomplishments moved the hundreds of people that showed up. His father said in his speech that “Brodee had a special way of making people feel safe, seen, heard…”. His friends described him as “encouraging, inspiring, and someone who radiated positivity”. Brodee’s family said that they hoped people would leave with the idea of e-bike safety training, so that Brodee’s misfortune could prevent future accidents.
Brodee’s mother said sadly during an interview, “My son had his helmet on. My son signaled. He did every single thing right, and we’re still here. It has to change.” (Z San Diego)
Despite riding at legal speeds, there are many risks of e-bikes as riders, especially young ones, ride alongside fast-moving cars and distracted drivers. Government officials have begun to consider that the technology has not been equipped with the correct safety guidelines and restrictions.
“It’s not like a bicycle,” Sergeant Collis said, “But the laws are treating it like any bicycle.”
The Consumer Product Safety Commission and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stated that they were trying their best to figure out how to oversee the safety of e-bikes.
Communities have begun to take action, teaching residents about e-bike safety and warning citizens of the risks when riding an e-bike.
Sheila Miller, spokeswoman for the Bend police, stressed that not all e-bikes were automatically safe for minors. She stated, “Parents, please don’t buy these bikes for kids when they are not legally allowed to ride them. And if you own an e-bike, make sure that everyone who is using them knows the rules of the road.”