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8 Practical Steps to Make Your Teen a Safer Ebiker

Updated: Jun 6


As parents, we worry about our kids. And if you’re a parent to a teen with an ebike, there’s a whole lot more to worry about. While nothing can guarantee your teen's safety, these valuable suggestions will help make your teen safer when riding their ebike. 

Teenage girl being crazy unsafe on her e-bike
 
 

1. Enroll your teen in an ebike safety course

Educating your teen on driving laws, accident prevention, defensive driving, ebike maintenance and safety checks, safety gear, and more is a must. How can we expect teens to be safe ebikers if we don’t arm them with these fundamentals?


Look for an ebike safety course explicitly designed for tweens and teens. Since these young ebikers haven’t yet taken driver's ed, they need a course that takes the time to instruct them on road basics that a licensed driver would already know, plus all the ebike specifics that other courses would also cover.


Also, look for a safety course that quizzes students on what they’ve learned and requires passing grades to earn their certificate of completion. This will ensure they retain the information and give you peace of mind that they’ve completed the course.



2. Go ebiking together

Remember when you were learning to drive, and a parent or driving instructor rode along with you? That’s the same approach we’re advocating, but this time, you and your teen will be on ebikes. If you don’t have an ebike, you can accompany them on a regular bike. They’ll need to drive slower so that you can keep up, but that’s not a bad thing!


Use this time to reinforce the rules of the road and defensive driving skills they learned in their ebike safety course. They may not remember everything they learned – did you when you were a driver-in-training? – so be patient, answer their questions, and use the time to correct any unsafe behaviors.


Keep these ride-alongs going until you feel confident they’re ready to go it alone.



3. Set your family's ebike rules

As parents, setting boundaries for our teens is crucial. We have rules about homework, chores, curfews, social media, video game use, and more. Similarly, when it comes to ebikes, setting clear directives on what is and isn’t allowed is a key aspect of keeping your teen safe. Consistently enforcing these rules is equally important.


Determine your family’s ebike rules and what will happen if those rules are broken. No driving without a helmet is hopefully high on your list, but what about times of day when ebiking is permitted, approved destinations or distances, certain roads that must be avoided because they’re too busy or have too many blind turns, driving with passengers, use of hand signals, weather conditions that are not OK to drive in, and more. You get the idea.


Once you identify what you’re okay with and not okay with, what are the consequences if your teen breaks the rules? Try to pick consequences that fit the crime and are ones you can stick to.


4. Sign an Ebike Safety Contract with your teen

Once you’ve decided on your family’s ebike rules and determined what happens if those rules are broken, the next step is formalizing those rules into an ebike safety contract that both you and your teen sign.


A safety contract ensures that your teen knows and understands their boundaries and what will happen if they are crossed. Reviewing a contract with them also allows your teen to discuss the rules, participate in their formation, and (potentially) negotiate different terms for the contract.



5. Help your teen identify their “ebiking out”

At some point, your teen will inevitably be out with peers who opt to ebike without a helmet, pile two or more teens onto an ebike meant for one, pop wheelies on a major street, or do something else equally as dangerous. It’s also inevitable that your teen may feel pressured to do it, too. But this is where their “ebiking out” comes in.


Sure, it would be awesome if your teen just said, “Nope! That’s unsafe, and I don’t feel comfortable doing that.” And some teens may do that! However, many teens benefit from having a planned response, something they can assertively state to get them comfortably out of a situation.


Remind your teen that they don’t have to follow the crowd, and help them plan what they might say or do in the moment.


"My cousin in <another city or state> got caught doing that and was grounded for a week. My mom told me I'd be grounded for a month if she ever caught me doing that."


"Did you hear about the 16-year-old from <another city> who got into an accident doing that? He broke every bone in his face."


"No way! <Name of a kid who isn’t there> told me police were giving out tickets for that. I can’t get a ticket."


Or something else that works for your teen.



6. When you’re together in a car, explain driving rules and norms

In their ebike safety course, your teen learned the rules of the road, and in your ebike ride-alongs, you likely reinforced what they learned. Now, here’s another opportunity to drive it all home.


You probably spend more time in a car together than you do ebiking together, and you probably cover more ground in the car, which means more situations encountered, details experienced, and lessons to be learned.


For example, when you get to a four-way stop intersection, enforce right-of-way rules by pointing out who was there when your car arrived and when it will be your turn. When you hear sirens, pull over and explain who has to pull over and for how long. When changing lanes and glancing over your shoulder first, remind them why you do this and why they need to also.



7. Be diligent about ebike maintenance

Your teen should check their breaks every time they mount their ebike, and get them professionally checked every one to three months.


Much like putting their dirty laundry into a hamper, ebike maintenance isn’t going to be top of mind for most teens. We get that, but you can help them remember.



  • Hang a second sign with the checklist of monthly items to review. This one should have space for them to note the date each item was last checked.


  • Make a note in your calendar to remind you to remind them to do their monthly safety checks.


  • Go out and do their monthly checks with them. If you also have an ebike, this is a great time for you to do your own monthly checks. Afterward, maybe you and your teen can take a quick ride together and grab a coffee or an ice cream.



8. Buy them spray paint

For their helmet! Getting a teen to wear a helmet can be a challenge, especially if their peers aren’t wearing them, but it’s also one of the most important things they can do to protect themselves in an accident.


Let your teen pick out their helmet, and then let them customize it with spray paint. In SoCal right now, self-customizing helmets with spray paint is totally in.



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