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Person safely riding Surface604 eBike in city traffic

The Ultimate Guide for Safely Riding an eBike in City Traffic


  • When choosing an eBike for city riding, look for a cargo, commuter, or cruiser model. Steer clear of models built specifically for off-roading and budget eBikes—they're not cut out for city streets.
  • Always wear a helmet and bright or reflective clothing, and use lights—especially at night. Your safety comes first.
  • Ride smart by following traffic rules, be mindful of blind spots around large vehicles, and use hand signals. Keep a safe distance from other vehicles and avoid distractions.
  • Regularly check and maintain your eBike to make sure it’s always ready for the urban jungle. If you need a new eBike for city riding, check out the selection we offer at Calgary eBikes.

Most eBikes are amazing for city riding. They’re more maneuverable than cars, save tons of money on fuel, and beyond that, they’re just plain fun! But riding your eBike through city streets means understanding the risks involved and taking proper precautions—so our team at Calgary eBikes is here to help you with this definitive guide to safely riding eBikes in city traffic.

Find an eBike Built for City Riding

Below, we cover what you should look for in a city-oriented eBike, then go through a list of tips for riders. Read on and get ready to commute like never before.

Choosing the Right eBike for City Traffic

When it comes to city riding, not all eBikes are created equal. Some features you’ll probably want to look for include:

  • Luggage racks to hold your work gear during commutes (or anything you want to take on a pleasure cruise).
  • Puncture-resistant tires to protect you against nails, glass, and other common roadside debris.
  • Upright riding positions that will reduce fatigue and help you stay visible in traffic.
  • Comfortable saddles that prevent long rides from becoming a pain in the butt.
  • Reliable brakes in case you need to stop short due to pedestrians or dangerous drivers in front of you.
  • Torque on demand for when the danger’s coming from another direction and you need to get out of there quickly.

Recommended Types & Models

Cargo fat-tire eBike by Surface604 being pushed up ramp in city by rider

Cargo eBikes

As the name implies, these eBikes are designed to have extra storage capacity—many are essentially commuter eBikes with extra room for storage via front and rear luggage racks. Ideal for making deliveries or toting office equipment across town, they emphasize utility over performance. Even so, there are some surprisingly powerful models available!

Our Recommendations:

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Commuter eBike by Surface604 being ridden by woman down city road

Commuter eBikes

These are designed specifically for riders who want an everyday solution to get them to and from work. With features like integrated lights, fenders, and a more upright riding position, they provide practicality and visibility that’s crucial for city riding.

Our Recommendations:

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Rider on Michael Blast cruiser eBike navigating city streets

Cruiser eBikes

Ideal for more relaxed city riding, cruisers offer comfortable seating and swept-back handlebars to minimize rider fatigue and maximize recreation. Many are also designed to be particularly eye-catching—so if you’re looking for an eBike that will turn heads, this might be where to go.

Our Recommendations:

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Types to Avoid

It’s not that you can’t ride off-road eBikes in the city—in fact, some fat-tire eBikes (like the Surface604 Boar series) are also excellent cargo models. However, eMTBs and other bikes designed specifically for trail riding can be less comfortable during long stretches in city traffic.

It’s also a good idea to avoid budget eBikes that compromise on power or reliability to save a few bucks. These might be okay for tooling around a suburban neighbourhood—but when you’re up against cars and trucks in the urban jungle, you’ll need power and braking ability you can count on in a pinch, so it’s worth investing in a quality product.

Tips for Safe Riding in City Traffic

Two riders wearing helmets before riding eBikes through city traffic

Always Wear a Helmet and Appropriate Gear

  • A helmet is essential for protecting your head in case of an accident. We’d say wearing one is a no-brainer, but—well, you know.
  • Wear bright or reflective clothing to make yourself more visible to drivers, even during the day.
  • Consider additional protective gear like gloves and padded jackets for extra safety.

Use Lights and Reflective Materials (Especially at Night)

  • Front and rear lights are crucial for visibility in low light or foggy conditions.
  • Reflective materials on your clothing, helmet, and eBike increase your visibility to others on the road.
  • Use blinking lights to grab attention, but make sure they're not so bright as to blind other road users.

Follow Traffic Rules & Signals

  • Obey all traffic signs and signals—just as you would in a motor vehicle.
  • Yield to pedestrians and be mindful of right-of-way rules.
  • Avoid riding on sidewalks (unless it's specifically allowed in your area).

See Also: Electric Bike Laws You Should Know When Riding in Calgary

eBike knocked over by car as the result of being in blind spot

Be Aware of Blind Spots (Especially Near Large Vehicles)

  • Large vehicles like trucks and buses have significant blind spots. Avoid riding too close to them.
  • Remember: if you can't see a driver’s mirror, they likely can't see you.
  • Be particularly cautious at intersections where large vehicles might turn.

Use Hand Signals to Indicate Turns and Stops

  • Clearly signal your turns and stops well in advance using standardized hand signals.
  • Make eye contact with drivers and other cyclists when possible to ensure your signals are seen.
  • Practice using hand signals while maintaining control of your eBike.

Maintain a Safe Distance from Other Vehicles

  • Keep a buffer zone around you, allowing enough space to react to sudden stops or maneuvers by cars.
  • Avoid tailgating and give yourself more stopping distance in wet or slippery conditions.
  • Be particularly cautious in congested traffic where cars may change lanes or stop suddenly.

Ride Predictably & Avoid Weaving Between Cars:

  • Maintain a straight and predictable path; avoid weaving between cars or changing lanes abruptly.
  • Make your intentions clear and predictable to those around you.
  • Stay in bike lanes where available, and avoid riding in the blind spots of vehicles.

eBike rider checking battery and other parts in her eBike before trip through city

Regularly Check & Maintain Your eBike

  • Regularly inspect your brakes, tires, battery, and lights to ensure they are in working order.
  • Perform routine maintenance or have your eBike serviced at a professional shop.
  • Keep the chain clean and lubricated for optimal performance.

Avoid Distractions (No Headphones, Phones, etc.)

  • Avoid using headphones or looking at your phone while riding; they can distract you from hazards.
  • Stay alert to your surroundings, listening for traffic and emergency vehicles.
  • If you must use a phone, stop safely on the side of the road.

Take Extra Precautions in Adverse Weather Conditions

  • Adjust your riding style for wet, icy, or windy conditions—slow down and increase your following distance.
  • Use tires suited for wet or slippery conditions if you frequently ride in adverse weather.
  • Be extra cautious around puddles, ice patches, and road debris that can be more hazardous in bad weather.

See Also: How to Prep Your eBike for Winter Riding

Find an eBike Built for Reliable City Riding

Riding an eBike in the city is one of the best ways to have fun outdoors, even if you’re on your way to work! Just make sure you have a model capable of handling the demands of urban environments, take care of it properly, and equip yourself with the tools and knowledge you’ll need to ensure your safety beforehand.

Calgary eBikes can sell you some of the best eBikes available in Canada, and we also carry an extensive collection of parts and accessories. Find a dealer near you today and take your city riding to the next level.