All about bicycles, electric-assisted bikes, technology and safety in the press

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SAZbike 06/2011
Reading time 1:00 minute

Insurers see high accident risk in e-bikes

So-called crash tests defame electric bicycles

An alarmist press release of the general association of Germany’s insurance industry (Gesamtverband der Deutschen Versicherungswirtschaft) that was picked up uncritically by many popular media (German newspaper "Bild": "More deaths and casualties by e-bikes”) throws an unfavourable light on e-bikes. What was felt to be really annoying in the bicycle industry was that the research carried out by the accident research department of the German insurers (UDV) responsible for the crash tests and the studies was allegedly inaccurate. Insiders of the industry blame the testers that they have handled the issue through the glasses of a car driver and that they are focussed solely on their “own interests".

Dirk Zedler, Zedler GmbH

I consider the tests that were carried out on behalf of the Insurers’ accident research after all as reasonable. A point where I do not agree, however, is the unbalanced presentation. To mix up pedelecs with a maximum speed of 25 kph/15mph and faster speed-pedelecs with a maximum speed of 45 kph/28 mph is not useful in my opinion. It has been my observation that riders of speed-pedelecs do not ride without helmet in general and do not necessarily behave like rowdies when riding pedelec. This shows clearly that the testers carried out the tests with their “car driver glasses” on.

There is no doubt that the issue “pedelecs and safety“ still holds enormous potential. Therefore, I would welcome it a lot to sensitise manufacturers, dealers and end-consumers for all facets of increased bicycle and pedelec safety. The alarmist presentation, however, will certainly have a negative effect on the issue electric mobility in an unnecessary way.

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