Staying safe on electric bicycles | Paschal O’Hare Personal Injury Solicitors | Belfast - Northern Ireland

Staying safe on electric bicycles

Staying safe on electric bicycles

Electric bikes, or electrically-assisted pedal cycles, are now fully legal on public roads in Northern Ireland. Until recently, these bikes required registration, licences and insurance. They can lawfully travel up to 15.5 mph and it’s believed that they’ll be an alternative way to travel, especially for older people and residents facing long commutes. Despite the overwhelming support for their introduction to our roads, electric bikes pose an increased risk of danger.

In countries with an established presence of electric bikes, such as the Netherlands, a quarter of bike accident fatalities occur on them. It is believed this is largely due to other road users being unable to accurately assess the speeds in which they travel. If you intend to travel on an electric bike you should do what you can to reduce your risk of being involved in an accident. We’ve provided some guidance here:

Use hand signals

You should ensure that you are familiar with and use the correct hand signals for each manoeuvre. Examples of times you would use such a signal is when you intend to change lane or turn a corner.

Ride with traffic

You should ride with the flow of traffic and not against it. This will lessen your chance of getting involved in an accident with a motor vehicle.

Obey traffic laws

You must always obey the rules of the road. Those not accustomed with road use may often overlook the strict guidelines and laws that must be followed by every road user. You should regularly refer to traffic law to stay safe and avoid any penalties. An example of a handy traffic law is that bicycles can use bus lanes. 

Protective gear

Your cycling gear can protect you significantly if you do get involved in an accident. It is essential that you wear a helmet on every journey. You might also consider padded clothing, eye protection and knee and elbow pads. You should also wear highly visible clothing and flashing lights on your bike would keep you safer at night.

Accidents happen

Sometimes accidents on the road are unavoidable. If one occurs and it was the fault of another, you might be entitled to compensation. This is also the case if your accident was caused by the negligence of who is responsible for the road you were on. If you have an accident we can help. Click here to learn more about our services or contact us for a free no obligation enquiry.    


If you have an accident and it wasn’t someone else’s fault then you will be much better off if you have insurance. Some home insurance policies cover cycling accidents however this might not extend to electric bikes. You should check your policy to find out. You can also find relatively cheap coverage by shopping around.

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