Rental e-scooters and e-bikes have contributed to an uptick in Los Angelos emergency room visits this year. But, are these motorized vehicles really so different from their manual versions?

Here are the differences and similarities between the safety risks posed by e-bikes versus traditional bicycles.

Renting versus owning

When comparing the electronic bicycle trend with California’s existing bicycle community, it’s important to consider the difference between ownership and renting. E-bikes are typically rented using a mobile app that helps locate the vehicle and clock the time you spend using it.

Unless you leave the house with specific intentions to rent an e-bike, it’s unlikely that most riders will be carrying around a helmet with them. Additionally, renting a vehicle means you won’t necessarily be familiar with the way the bike handles or the danger risks associated with using it, such as opening car doors. These factors can all lead e-bike users to be more vulnerable to an accident.

Bicycle design

E-scooters are generally criticized for their safety risks more than e-bikes because the small wheels on an e-scooter can easily result in an accident at the slightest crack or rock in the road. E-bicycles, on the other hand, are designed similarly to any regular riding bicycle you might purchase at a store.

Generally, those who have ridden a bicycle before will be familiar with how to balance, take turns and brake while riding an e-bike. They’ll also be able to travel at similar speeds to a regular bicycle. In this way, the safety risks between an e-bike and a regular bicycle are the same.

Both bicycles pose the risk of not being seen or recognized by drivers and pedestrians due to their smaller size.

Speeding up and slowing down

One of the major differences an e-bicycle offers in comparison to a regular bicycle is that it can get up to speed and stop much faster. Gaining more speed more quickly can help cyclists maintain an appropriate speed while going uphill and dissuade cars from impatient passing. It may also encourage cyclists to stop fully at stop signs since the won’t need momentum to start up again.

The e-bike may be able to stop sooner because the brakes cut off power from the motor in the bike. Quicker stops can help bicycles stay safe in a hazard is ahead.

However, e-bicycles that are not automatic also pose the threat of the rider becoming a hazard if they stall the bike or pop the front wheel up by applying the throttle too suddenly after a stop.

Take safety precautions while riding any vehicle

All in all, electronic bicycles aren’t necessarily more dangerous or safe than traditional bicycles. However, each do come with safety risks. You can minimize these risks by always riding defensively and wearing protective gear if you choose to bike.

In case an accident should happen, make sure you know the steps to take after a crash to handle the situation in the best way possible.