10 E-Bike Crashes Caught on Tape

July 23, 2012

Luckily there are only a handful of electric bike accidents caught on video, most of which are here on this list. In the majority of the accidents below, the riders are making simple mistakes that could have been avoided. This is a fun list, and no one is seriously hurt. In case you will not have time to watch all these videos,  I will include one morbid photo at this juncture as a reminder that it is possible to get seriously injured if you are not careful on your E-bike. In China where electric bikes are widespread, thousands of people are killed and maimed each year (2500 dead in 2007) while riding electric bikes…they have even been nicknamed “The Silent Killers”:



Hmmm….what a groove killer. I guess you would call that “dramatic pre-leaf”. Now let’s hurry up and  get to the comedy:

1. Liveforphysics Death-Bike Crash


This crash was caused by throttle twitchiness and a new rider on a super powerful electric bike. As the bike accelerates the rider is pulled back. and this just causes the throttle to jerk back even more. This video was filmed at the San Francisco E-bike Hill Climb in 2011, on a bike capable of speeds of 70-MPH. (read more about this bike on our 10 fastest e-bikes story). Please make note: in this video and others here, the rider is wearing a HELMET AND GLOVES!



2. Killacycle Crash

This rider is attempting to do a burn-out for the media but loses control of what was at the time, the fastest electric motorcycle in the world.


3. Liveforphysics Drag Strip Hub-Motor Crash





4. Alligator Bridge Electric Bike Crash


A rider on a hub powered mountain bike is having a wonderful and joyous ride, just before going over a wet wooden bridge and falling hard.




5. E-bike into Flames Golden Gate Park Frisbee Gold Course


While riding through Golden Gate Park, this woman did not have her LiPo battery strapped down properly, and it bounced up and down in its basket front rack, causing it to be pierced by a metal sharp edge at the bottom of the basket, setting the pack on fire and risking an innocent Frisbee golf course to a potential forest fire:




6. China Woman vs. Semi Truck


This woman runs a red light on an electric scooter and pays a hard price. Fortunately she got away with just losing her scooter:




7. China Woman vs. Semi Truck #2

This woman isn’t so lucky. In the USA they have a saying…“look both ways before crossing the street”. The good news is she did survive this horrible crash.




8. Blacktrail Bike Crash

Watching someone crash an $80,000 electric bike is always fun, especially when its an attractive German female. Given that there is a disproportionate amount of men who ride ebikes, it is surprising that there are so many women on this list.  I guess I can point this out because a disproportionate amount of our readers are men.


9. Optibike Crashes at  Pikes Peak Race

Speaking of women crashing expensive electric bikes, this Optibike team rider let the twitchy throttle of a powerful 1100R Optibike get away from her and smashed into the only non-optibike contender in the race, damaging his bike. This story has become electric bike lore and now someone finally posted a video of the calamity (Read story about 2012 Pikes Peak Race).



10. Railroad Track Electric Bike Crash



Please let me know in comments if you know of any other electric bike crashes caught on tape, or if you have any thoughts on this list. I will try to update this list as more footage comes along. I hope my E-bike and I don’t make this future list. I will leave you with some make-believe crashes – German electric bike crash dummy testing. And if you like this story please take the time to Subscribe to our news-feed.




Eric has been involved in the electric bike industry since 2002 when he started a 6000 square foot brick and mortar Electric Bike store in downtown San Francisco. He is a true believer that small electric vehicles can change the way we operate and the way we think.


  1. Thanks for sharing this timely and much-needed reminder about the life-threatening potential for serious accidents in new ways and with previously safe actions. In the final analysis, every individual rider is responsible for not only his/her own safety, but also for those pedestrians and motorists they share the walkways and roadways with. Unaccustomed power without any indicators like noise or experience can be lethal, as many of your clips prove.

    • Thanks Granny…do you work for the Health and Safety Executive?? Not sure you should be doing anything as dangerous as riding bicycles.
      I think this raises other points. No noise – well pedestrians are supposed to look before they cross roads. A large man cycling at 22 mph will do just as much damage as a slightly smaller man using an ebike at 22 mph. Perhaps there should be a klaxon blaring at all times and all bicycles should have indicators. And brake lights. And fog lamps. And perhaps a protective shell. And pedestrians should have indicators! they are silent. Some of them even run!!
      Also I’m not sure the rider is responsible for the motorists safety. A rider is hard put to kill a motorist but motorists do kill many riders. Basic physics. Plus in many countries (with much lower cycling injury rates the car driver has responsibility for the safety of cyclists – perfectly reasonable given that he is piloting 2 tons of metal at far greater speeds).
      Pedestrian deaths from cyclists are almost non-existent.

  2. The problem is that many of these e-bikes are getting closer to motorcycle characteristics when at speed, but having none of the advantages motorcycles do (weight, suspension and more traction) but people still have the normal bike mindset when using them which is dangerous. If everyone riding an e-bike approached it more as a motorcycle (full face helmets, protective apparel, boots) I’m certain you would have less injuries. As for avoiding accidents, the good old bell is a good starting point for your fellow pedestrians and non e-bike friends. For cars…. just be more vigilant.

    • Closer to motorcycle….? Closer to moped maybe. But even a Honda step-through weighs twice as much and has twice the power of 99% of ebikes. Max speed is 25 on 99% of ebikes (like a normal cyclist going down hill) compared to 100+ on motorbikes. Full face helmet/apparel/etc? You’re talking out of your exhaust Kwakman.

      • Electric motors make 100% torque at 1 rpm,(revolutions per minute)
        where any gasoline motor will be 3,000 to 6,000 rpm’s before they make 100% of their torque potential, that is why trains use electric motors, a gasoline or diesel engine driven drivetrain would have to have 100 speeds and start off with 1000 to 1 gear reduction to start off with.
        It is how the big commercial diesel trucks work and they max out their redlines about 1300 rpms and idle at around 300 rpm’s! the instant application of power to an electric motor is like revving a motorcycle to 6,000 rpm’s then releasing the clutch lever instantly/abruptly.
        As you can imagine, you better be pointed where you plan on going and not be leaning or turning or even crossing painted sections of the street! which if wet are like oil slicks.

  3. Incredible that the fool on the Killacycle wasn’t wearing a helmet. Dude deserves a Darwin Award.

  4. daytriker – it would be interesting to see the same tests performed using Recumbent 2 wheel & Trikes to see how much of an advantage the feet first position & lower center of gravity would help reduce the injuries.

    • Yeah fine feet first on a recumbent, but they are lower down than normal bikes and cars have less chance of seeing them. I’d rather fall off a normal bike than get crushed to death between a car or bus that didn’t see you.

      • Narly thought

      • Actually Eddy, the exact opposite is true. The only time a low down position is a disadvantage is in parking lots & it is much easier to avoid a driver backing out of a space. Since Trikes & Recumbent Bikes are a relative scarcity drivers really notice them on the road. Sometimes it is out of curiosity & sometimes it is because they think it is someone disabled in a wheelchair or an old guy in his mobility scooter. Drivers also tend to give us a much wider berth than passing. – Ask any Recumbent Rider.

    • In a bike vs car accident I would rather be higher than the car!

  5. Too bad my crash wan’t on film. That Chinese lady got lucky.

  6. So we need to ban E-Bikes as well as electric cars and any car with an exhaust system that makes it quiet, going by the German insurance guy because people don’t hear them, oh wait, they aren’t going to ban cars …. there’s to much money to be made. (In most places bicycles don’t need insurance) If you notice a lot of the complaints come from people who will lose something because of, or have to compete with E-bikes ie; Insurance co, taxi lobbyists and people who don’t ride anyway. I can take someone out with my Cannondale as easy as someone with a optibike can so…yeah

    • If you’re going to ban quiet stuff then maybe ordinarily cyclists and pedestrians should be included.

  7. The Police commissioner in Zurich Switzerland is on the record for saying that, if you are going to buy an electric bike you have to know how to ride. He did not mean the basic skills, but how to handle yourself in traffic. I’ve ridden in urban environments for over 30 years and have a healthy balance of aggressive vs defensive behavior on the road and a huge amount of respect for the many dangers. There is no doubt that the heavier weight and faster speed of eBikes represent a hugely increased risk factor.

    • Hi Anton. Absolutely agree with your first statements….but this? “Represent a hugely increased risk factor”. Really?? Combined weight of rider and bike has gone from 210 pounds to 240 pounds. Speed has increased from 17 mph to 23 or so mph. How about “Represent a mild increase in risk factor”?

      • What about 100% torque at 1 rpm?

    • Crashing on a pedal powered bicycle is not unlike like wrecking a small motorcycle, riding on dirt will be far more forgiving than wrecking on the asphalt! especially if a car hits you forget it!

  8. 2500 DEAD in China from these things? are you sure, where did you get that figure from? thanks…

    • I lived in China for ten years and don’t believe that only 2500 people were killed on e-bikes in one year–that would sound more reasonable for just one city.

      • I would have to agree with the numbers.

    • There is a billion of them even if only 30% ride that is a lot of crappy riders mingling with the worst drivers in the world.

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