The popularity of E-bikes among teens and kids raises safety concerns
Recently, e-bikes have sharply increased in popularity among teens, raising safety concerns. Walk by any bike rack, and you’ll surely notice an abundance of electric bikes. In an information release from Menlo Park on electric bike collisions, only two of the six reported incidents resulted from negligent automobile drivers — e-bikers caused the rest.
Around Menlo-Atherton High School’s campus, students bike in large groups on crowded streets like Santa Cruz Avenue. It is not uncommon to witness young kids weaving in and out of traffic, running through stop signs, and even riding on busy sidewalks.
Data from the Menlo Park Police Department reveals six reported accidents involving e-bikes in the past year. Of the six, only two were caused by drivers: speeding and opening car doors in traffic. The rest were caused by e-bikes disregarding traffic rules: running stop signs, biking on the wrong road, and failing to yield. Just weeks ago, an M-A student slammed directly into the side of a car while riding on the wrong side of the road, leaving the cyclist with minor injuries.
The situation has caused significant community concerns. Assistant Vice Principal Jessica Magallanes explained: “People often don’t understand that electric bikes and scooters have different expectations and rules than standard bikes and scooters, especially in areas already quite dangerous. Coming out of the T-lot, students need to be careful. Students often try to ride their bikes on the wrong side of Middlefield, which is hazardous.”
The issue isn’t isolated just to streets surrounding campus, as multiple drivers have reported close calls with e-bikers throughout the Peninsula.
Drivers have expressed frustration and concern with e-bikes jeopardizing their safety. “Stop signs, signals, and all road rules still apply to e-bikes,” said Senior Thea Kalei. “It is not respectful to traffic or the law to disregard safety expectations.”
Added Senior Nicole Jones:, “E-bikers blow past red lights. Despite being a bike, they can still reach 30 miles per hour speeds.”
Freshman e-biker Katie Jun said, “My friends and I wear helmets and obey traffic regulations, but we see many people who disregard safety protocols, including not wearing helmets and riding on sidewalks.”
M-A sophomore Niklas Klemmer is on the staff of the M-A Chronicle where this article first appeared: used with permission.