Let’s talk about one of the lesser-known features of electric bikes: the kill switch.
You might be wondering why a means of transportation that’s supposed to make pedaling easier (and sometimes redundant) would need a kill switch that instantly shuts it off.
And if you are wondering about it, you should know that this is a legitimate thing to wonder about. To get to the answer, you just have to change the way you’re thinking about the problem.
What happens when you’re riding your e-bike and then — all of a sudden, without prior notice, completely out of the blue — something goes wrong? Say you fall and crash into something, although I wouldn’t wish it on you, and the bike gets damaged.
If the throttle is stuck and the motor keeps running, the e-bike could:
- Keep rotating the wheel;
- Bounce off objects and move around dangerously;
- Hurt you and anyone else who comes into contact with it as it does;
- Overheat and burn out the motor;
- Catch fire.
I mean, when you look at it this way, having a kill switch on the e-bike suddenly makes a lot of sense, right?
Most Electric Bikes Have a Kill Switch on the Brakes
Not everyone knows that most electric bikes also have a kill switch on the brakes. They don’t know it because it’s automated and it kicks in only if you try to apply the brakes and the throttle at the same time.
“Come on, Dim!” I heard you thinking, “Why would I hit the brakes and give throttle at the same time?”
I know, I know… But hear me out.
Are you 100% confident — and I mean 100% confident — that you wouldn’t do something stupid if you were put in an emergency situation and you panicked?
Maybe you are, but I’m not. The thing is, the cost of doing something stupid on an electric bike is higher than it is on a regular bike. You can wear out the brakes and/or burn out the motor, both of which can be a pricey fix.
Fortunately, if you are like most riders, your e-bike is fitted with a kill switch. So you don’t have to worry about doing something stupid, even if you end up in an emergency as you inevitably will.
Can You Remove the Kill Switch?
If you’re confident enough in your electrical wiring skills, or you know a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy with a bike repair shop who is, maybe you can. But before you do, think about whether you really need it.
For starters, modifying an electric bike may not be legal in your state, county, or municipality. At least not in a way that gets rid of essential safety features. Second, you may void the e-bike’s warranty and break the terms and conditions of your insurance.
Finally, let’s not forget that you probably don’t need to do it in the first place.
Electric bikes have a kill switch to protect the rider and the people around them in case of an emergency. Most e-bikes also have a hidden kill switch that cuts power to the motor if the rider tries to apply the brakes and give throttle at the same time.