Safety is paramount when purchasing an electric trike. Several key features and design choices can make an electric trike safer to ride, particularly when sharing the road with motor vehicle traffic. Taking safety into account before buying an electric trike will help ensure a more enjoyable and confidence-inspiring riding experience.
Factors to consider include certification and compliance with industry safety standards, durable and reliable braking systems, improved visibility aids, sturdy frame materials, ergonomic design, and speed limiters. Some of the most impactful safety features center around proper braking, increased visibility and maneuverability, and restricted top speeds.
This guide will outline the most important safety considerations when shopping for an electric trike, including recommended features to look for and questions to ask sellers. Following these recommendations will help you find an electric trike model that meets your needs while providing the safety and peace of mind you desire for confident and comfortable riding.
Prioritizing safety features during the shopping process just makes good sense. After all, these vehicles will vastly improve your quality of life through increased mobility and freedom - but only if you feel safe and secure while riding them. Let's explore how to make the smartest, safest choice for your electric trike purchase.
Looking for certifications that an electric trike meets certain safety and performance standards is an important first step in ensuring a safe ride. Several compliance certifications can provide peace of mind:
- UL certification from Underwriters Laboratories means the trike has passed testing for electrical safety, fire hazard and mechanical integrity.
- CE marking indicates the trike conforms to European Union health, safety and environmental protection standards.
Reputable manufacturers will list all applicable compliance certifications for their electric trike models on the product page or in the specifications. Certifications show that a company has gone through a thorough and rigorous testing process to ensure their product complies with widely-accepted safety requirements.
Be sure to ask potential sellers about safety certifications for any electric trikes you're considering. The lack of certifications could indicate that a trike has not been thoroughly evaluated for safety compliance.
Overall, certifications provide a degree of assurance that key hazards have been considered and minimized in a trike's design and engineering. Look for trikes that have earned multiple compliance certifications - these tend to be the highest quality and safest options.
Powerful, responsive brakes are one of the most critical safety features on any electric vehicle. Trikes require shorter stopping distances than bikes due to their wider track and additional weight, so brakes need to be up to the task.
Disc brakes have become the standard for safer braking on electric trikes. They offer:
- Shorter stopping distances compared to rim brakes
- Better performance in wet conditions
- Less maintenance needs
Look for front and rear disc brakes on any model you consider. Larger disc diameters provide even better braking performance.
In summary, high-quality front and rear disc brakes represent the best combination of power, control and safety when it comes to slowing and stopping an electric trike. The larger the discs, the shorter the stopping distances tend to be.
Lights and Visibility Aids
Lights and reflectors are required by law for any electric trike used on public roads. However, going beyond the minimum legal requirements can significantly boost safety, especially in low visibility conditions.
When buying a new trike, it should have a bright front white headlight.
Also, look for reflectors and reflective tape:
- Spoke reflectors and reflective tape on the trike and all sides of the rider increase visibility in all directions.
- Reflective decals or panels on the arms and legs of riders further improve visibility.
In summary, in addition to the minimum required front lights, features like daytime running lights, multiple reflectors and reflective tape can significantly boost the visibility of your electric trike and rider. This reduces the likelihood of collisions, especially in low light conditions or with traffic merging unexpectedly. The more visible you are to other vehicles, the greater the margin of safety.
Along with powerful brakes and good visibility, controlling the top speed of an electric trike is important for safety. Having a speed governor or speed limiter can help ensure you don't exceed a comfortable cruising speed.
Types of speed limiters:
Some electric trikes feature electronic speed governors that are factory set to limit the maximum rate the motor can spin the wheels. This provides:
- A pre-determined maximum speed for the trike
- Consistent speed control within a small range
Other trikes allow for voluntary speed limiters that riders can adjust to set their own maximum preferred speed.
Reasons for speed limiters:
- Safer riding within the limits of braking capability and visibility
- Reduced risk of collisions due to excessive speed
- More control to better handle conditions like curves, intersections and variable road conditions
In summary, speed governors and limiters can be useful safety features to help riders adhere to a comfortable, self-imposed top speed. This allows for a riding style that matches an individual's skill level, experience and risk tolerance. While no substitute for safe and prudent riding decisions, speed limiters can provide an added layer of protection against traveling at excessive speeds.
The width of the handlebars on an electric trike can significantly impact both control and stability. Wider bars offer some key safety benefits:
- Increased leverage - Wider bars provide better mechanical advantage for maneuvering and turning. This makes steering easier and more precise.
- Improved stability - Riders can spread their arms further apart for a lower center of gravity and more balanced riding posture. This aids in cornering stability.
- Greater hand positions - More space between the grips allows for a variety of hand positions to reduce fatigue on longer rides.
Prioritizing safety and quality during your electric trike research will give you the peace of mind to truly appreciate and benefit from your new electric mobility option.
So consider these key factors, ask the right questions, and you'll be on your way to finding the safest, highest performing electric trike to match your needs and ride in comfort.