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Bietigheimer Zeitung, 2018/02/27
Reading time 2:20 minutes

Cycle traffic “The cheap stuff is dangerous”

The annual general assembly of the Bietigheim-Bissingen branch of the German cycle association (ADFC) was attended by the bicycle expert Dirk Zedler. The head of Zedler-testing institute specialised on the inspection of damaged bicycles held a lecture on the effects of the increasing share of pedelecs on cycle traffic as well as on the current progress in quality in bicycle construction.

Bicycle expert Dirk Zedler (on the right) with chairman Albrecht Kurz lectured on the general assembly of the ADFC Bietigheim-Bissingen

“The normal bicycle will continue to lose importance, the e-bike will gain importance”; apart from this clarification the expert compared both vehicles with normal stairs and moving stairs. What happened to moving stairs which are used by a majority of people today will also happen to e-bikes, a comparison he would not have believed himself only a few years ago.

In two fields of technology the automobile has already been left behind: on the one hand in the application of carbon and on the other hand in the field of electromobility. “We reinvent technology every few years”, he describes the radical change in which the cycle industry is right now. The sensors in e-bike motors are one example: Among state-of-the-art motors there are four brands that recognise the “rider’s wish” and support him in riding at faster or slower speed.

“The pedelec means new challenges for the entire cycle industry”, explains the expert who has already been awarded "Hero of the new mobility” by Baden-Wuerttemberg’s Minister of Transport Winfried Hermann for his professional commitment. Pedelec riders would cycle a lot more and that on different terrains; in addition, they would often carry along bulky loads which would require for example a new design for the frames.

A survey substantiates that clearly more pedelec riders prefer their two-wheeler to the car in the city, in the case of non-motorised cyclists it is the reverse. “It is a great means to mobilise people in the urban world”, raves Zedler.

At the same time, he expressively recommends buying high-quality pedelecs: He claims that models of poor quality were often nonsensitive, that the “rider’s wish” was poorly recognised and realized, which means that a rider who wanted to brake when approaching red traffic lights would actually approach them at unchanged speed.

According to Zedler, however, continuing news about frequent accidents were deceiving. There were other surveys that substantiated that the pedelec were not more dangerous than a normal bicycle. The enormous demand for the models and thus the number of cyclists would lead to an increase in accidents.

Rechargeable batteries are hazardous goods

“The cheap stuff is dangerous”, this is the experts urgent warning addressed to the ADFC members against the purchase of too cheap motors and batteries: “The difference is great, even greater than you can imagine.” Battery fires were often due to poor quality and inappropriate handling, states Zedler, showing the picture of a burn mark on the road for demonstration purposes: This mark showed reportedly the place where a bicycle had caught fire. Rechargeable batteries were chemistry and declared as hazardous goods. Many people were not aware of this fact. If you cycle in summer, you should let your battery cool down for example, before recharging it.

Read the entire article here.

Author: Jonathan Lung
Photo: Werner Kuhnle


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