Middle of the Road: Students share their varying opinions on e-bikes


Ava Dodge

During school hours, a row of e-bikes line the bike racks inside of the Carlsbad High School campus.

Ava Dodge, Reporter

Starting in the midst of the pandemic, electric bikes, or e-bikes, have taken the city by storm. They’ve become a main means of transportation for the younger population, posing as a new rival for student drivers. Their popularity has no sign of slowing down, and neither does their speed.

Recently, there has been a large increase in the amount of e-bikers at CHS. Administration ordered additional bike racks to compensate for the overflow of e-bikes. Senior Maison Hollander has altered her route to school to avoid these large numbers of e-bikers on the road.

“It’s just a big crowd, and it kind of stresses me out,” Hollander said. “I don’t want to hit any of them.”

The e-bikes’ rise to fame began during quarantine, when COVID-19 was at a pinnacle. They’ve especially appealed to students without licenses, who’ve continued to ride them into the school year.

“Socially, kids can get out more, especially after the pandemic where everyone was locked down,” Hollander said.

E-bikes are a faster alternative to traditional bikes, capable of reaching up to 30 miles per hour. Sophomore Allyson van der Schaaf obtained her license on Sept. 14 of this year. As a new driver, she is wary of e-bikes, but as an owner of one, she enjoys their quicker speeds.

“Since you can get places faster [with e-bikes], you can do more things and you can also bring more things to do,” van der Schaaf said.

Kids of all grades, from elementary schoolers to high schoolers, have been riding their e-bikes to school. This combined with the general influx of riders has made schools further voice the importance of road safety for both drivers and bikers alike.

“Bikers do have the right of way most of the time, so you shouldn’t be riding recklessly and still pay attention to who’s around you,” Hollander said. “And obviously a car could completely crush a bike. It’s not the other way around.”

Instances of unsafe riding around the school campus and parking lot have occured, which has ignited some skepticism about e-bike safety, particularly among parents. Senior George Brooker thinks that e-bikers should stay safe while riding.

“I do notice that sometimes they can get in the way and kind of block traffic,” Brooker said. “And it definitely seems like it’s a bit dangerous, especially during school hours when everything is so chaotic and busy.”

Despite some sightings of troublesome riding, Brooker also recognizes the positives of owning an e-bike. If he didn’t have a license, he’d strongly consider getting one for himself, and thinks the student society can gain from them.

“But then for the students, I feel like it has benefited them a ton, because some of them don’t have their license and their parents work,” Brooker said. :So it’s a very convenient way for them to get to school.”

Brooker, Hollander, and van der Schaaf all agree on encouraging traffic law education for e-bikers, especially for the younger kids. They see the risks of e-bikes as drivers, but also the advantages of them to non-drivers.

“I think there’s definitely more of a danger to [e-bikes],” Hollander said. “But they’re also fun. So yeah, you get a little, take a little.”

E-bikes have proved to be a controversial topic, receiving a little bit of criticism for every praise. While student drivers’ opinions on them may vary, one thing remains clear: At least for the time being, e-bikes are here to stay.

“I think that [Carlsbad High School] should look at all the good things that [e-bikes] have provided, like having kids on time at school, and having them take friends to school,” van der Schaaf said. “But they should also make sure that the kids know what they’re supposed to be doing.”