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Manhattan Beach Unveils 'Ride Safe, Ride Ready' E-Bike Safety Campaign

May 19, 2022 08:32AM ● By Jeanne Fratello

Screenshot from a Ride Safe, Ride Ready PSA by Justin Newman and Alex Chun.

Why simply tell kids to wear a helmet... when you can show them what it's like to smash a watermelon wearing a helmet with a mallet? That's one of the lively social media messages in Manhattan Beach's new e-bike safety campaign, called "Ride Safe, Ride Ready."

The campaign, announced during National Bike Safety Month, is designed to educate the community on e-bike safety, accident prevention, and general e-bike preparedness.

“Ride Safe, Ride Ready” is the result of a city-wide collaborative effort between the city of Manhattan Beach, the Manhattan Beach Police Department, and two Mira Costa High School students, Alex Chun and Justin Newman. Led by Councilmember Joe Franklin, “Ride Safe, Ride Ready” will be an ongoing initiative focused on education, engagement, and enforcement.

Collaborators on the Ride Safe, Ride Ready team at Tuesday Night's City Council meeting. Photo via Monica Chun.

"I am very proud of us as a city right now," said Manhattan Beach Acting Police Chief Derrick Abell, introducing the campaign at Tuesday night's City Council meeting. "I can’t even begin to tell you how important it is to work together on this as a city."

Safety Message To Be Spread Around Town

Beginning today, residents will start to see and hear e-bike safety messaging all around town. The city is partnering with local bike shops, the Manhattan Beach Downtown Business Association, local businesses, and MBUSD schools to educate the community about e-bike safety. e-bike handlebar hangtags highlighting basic e-bike rules of the road, tips on how to be “Ride Ready,” and hazards of the road will be placed on e-bikes around town.

Local businesses, civic organizations, the Downtown Business and Professionals Association, the Manhattan Beach Chamber of Commerce, and the North Manhattan Business Improvement District will also be highlighting “Ride Safe, Ride Ready” on their social media accounts.


“E-bike safety and accident prevention has become a major concern in Manhattan Beach and other surrounding cities. Every day we receive complaints about e-bikers riding at excessive speeds, not wearing helmets, or just demonstrating a lack of safety precaution,” said Franklin in a statement. “With summer just around the corner, there’s going to be a significant influx of people, especially teenagers, riding their e-bikes around town. We knew it was critical to create a program like “Ride Safe, Ride Ready” that will educate and inform the public on e-bike safety and constantly reinforce those guidelines that were established to help keep everyone safe.  This is a community challenge, and it required a community solution.”

According to the MBPD, the most common violations on e-bikes are for youth riders without helmets, riders running stop signs or red lights, and riders other than small children biking on the sidewalk.

“During the pandemic, many cities saw e-bike sales soar. Manhattan Beach alone saw an increase of over 900% in E-Bike sales in 2020 and along with it, a dramatic rise in e-bike accidents and injuries,” said MBPD Acting Captain Andrew Harrod in a statement. “Most e-bikers have minimal knowledge of the laws associated with electric powered mobility devices like e-bikes, and while we’ve strengthened enforcement, at the same time, we also need to step up education.” 

Teens Stepped Up to Lend Support

Although plans for a campaign had been underway since last July, the effort got unexpected support in February when Chun and Newman spoke up at a City Council meeting to volunteer to spearhead such a campaign.

The teens cited their own experiences on Ebikes - and their familiarity with social media - as assets in the campaign.

With the official launch of the campaign, Chun and Newman have been started to spread the word via social media. They created a humorous PSA video, the first in a series of e-bike safety videos, which are on Tik Tok and the “Ride Safe, Ride Ready” Instagram, and are currently outreaching to local summer programs and camps for kids to set up safety briefings.

Screenshot from a Ride Safe, Ride Ready PSA by Justin Newman and Alex Chun.

Simultaneously, Gita O’Neill, her children Kai and Luca O'Neill, and their friend Lara Meyer, along with Manhattan Beach Middle School Principal Rose Ahrens and MBPD have been working on an E-Bike safety campaign aimed at middle school age children.

At Tuesday night's City Council meeting, Meyer told the council how she suffered a severe concussion from an e-bike accident. "My helmet had saved my life," she said. "If I hadn’t been wearing one, [the doctors told me] I would have had permanent and irreversible brain damage. E-bike safety is so important and needs to be a priority for Manhattan Beach."

“I’m thrilled to see the community rally together to address the challenges associated with the growing popularity and use of e-bikes,” said Mayor Hildy Stern in a statement. “It’s important we continue working together to educate youth and our peers on the importance of practicing e-bike safety measures to reduce risks and enjoy the benefits of riding e-bikes.”

Join MBPD, City Council members, Chun, and Newman on Saturday, May 21, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the base of the Manhattan Beach Pier to learn how to assist in making sure that Manhattan Beach is a safe and enjoyable place to ride e-bikes. For more information, visit Safety Tips for Bicyclists.

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