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  • Writer's pictureGary Moller

Ouch! I collided head-on with an E-Bike!

Updated: 7 days ago

(Updated 15/03/2024)


Yes, it did hurt and there was some blood, but nothing serious and my precious bike was relatively unharmed!


injured hand
Some nasty gashes! Protective gloves saved my hand!

I'd been on Mt Victoria where I'd been practicing skills such as braking, cornering, and navigating steep drops at speed in preparation for the UCI MTB Masters World Champs in May of this year (If I am to have a chance of winning these championships, I've got to prepare now!). So, the hazardous stuff was over and I was making my way home via the broad cycle way from Greta Point to Oriental Parade, heading against the evening's commuter traffic.


I pulled alongside a runner to have a chat then — BOOM! A man on an e-bike coming in the opposite direction ploughed straight into me head-on! My body, mostly my right shoulder, head, and arm, took the full brunt of the collision, and I hit the ground, breaking my expensive glasses in the process. For a moment, I thought I might have broken my arm, but that concern passed quickly. Thankfully, the damage was limited to a few nasty gashes on my arm and a superficial one on my face, plus some bruising, and a minor ringing of my bell (brain).


While I have no issue with e-bikes and even see them as a positive addition to our transport options, I do take issue with the way they're sometimes operated, which is a concern that applies to all bicycles. Due to their weight and ability to reach high speeds, e-bikes can be dangerous when the rider's abilities aren't aligned to these machines, leading to accidents.

The man on the e-bike was unhurt. I guess it was because he saw what was coming and the e-bike was heavy steel, and with a heap of momentum, so I bore the brunt of the impact. We picked ourselves up and profusely apologised to each other.


Why'd I apologise? Firstly, I was a little shocked and stunned. Secondly, I admit I was careless by pulling alongside the runner without properly checking who was coming at speed from the other direction, even if there was plenty of clearance. I was at fault because I didn't appreciate the speed of the oncoming e-bikes (there were many at that time of the day), nor the poor evasive skills of the riders. If, for example, expertly applying the brakes, and altering direction for an emergency isn't repetitively practised to become a reactive skill, the rider will probably freeze when confronted with a sudden emergency. In this case, he froze and neither braked nor altered direction, but, instead, hit me head-on at speed.


I continued on my way to Oriental Bay and was almost taken out a second time by a woman on an e-bike: Gosh, she was going far too fast with a brisk tail-wind helping her along, and was totally oblivious of me coming from the opposite direction as she swung into my path while inexpertly negotiating a broad turn! She never saw me, looking far ahead, as if in dreamland! Unbelievable! She'll be in hospital soon and she'll be far from alone!



Lessons learned:


  1. Two-way cycleways are hazardous.

  2. Don't go against the traffic on cycleways during peak hours when e-bike riders are in a hurry to get to work or home!

  3. Always assume the riders near you, especially the ones coming at you, lack the skills to keep you safe.

  4. E-bikes are heavy, mostly with poor brakes, and the riders may have no idea what they are doing on them.

  5. Inexperienced riders on E-bikes are going far too fast for being on Wellington's cycleways and walkways, but here's the problem: their riders lack the skills or road-sense to safely navigate the city's narrow streets, so they're on the cycleways.

  6. Stick to the mountain bike trails, Gary!



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10 Comments


michellecurtisgunn
Mar 13

You are correct in everything you say about the e-cyclists.

Driving in town has become a nightmare. They go too fast for their abilities and cycle in places where it really isn’t safe.

I’m glad you’re not too badly hurt and I hope you will be on form for your next race.

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Raewyn Harwood
Raewyn Harwood
Mar 13

Blessings for a speedy recovery.

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Gary Moller
Gary Moller
Mar 13
Replying to

Thank you, Raewyn. I'll be back in action by tomorrow.

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Brian Stewart
Brian Stewart
Mar 13

Sorry to hear of your run in with a ebiker. I've got a full suspension E MTB, but 10 years riding the Karapoti Classic has made me a reasonably careful E rider. Get well soon.


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Brian Stewart
Brian Stewart
Mar 13
Replying to

I probably told you about my son Tim who spent 8 months as a MTB guide on Bolivia's Death Rd pre COVID. The first 5k was on sealed road but some of the riders were wobbly cause they hadn't ridden since teens. After he left the company had its first death, a NZ physio. That brought the total of cyclist deaths down the road to 39!

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wayne
wayne
Mar 12

Like getting a high powered motorbike. They can’t handle it at speed. They just go flat out until one day something goes wrong. Should they really be on the road. Not much room on cycleways

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Gary Moller
Gary Moller
Mar 12
Replying to

Yes, we need to have that conversation.

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willoughbys
willoughbys
Mar 12

I often wonder at the safety of ebikes. Time to bring in a licence requirement maybe?

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Gary Moller
Gary Moller
Mar 12
Replying to

I doubt that will happen and while I'm not one for more regulations something must be done.

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