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The most common safety risks that we come across in our daily work around bicycle safety, technology and operating instructions are also published by us in articles in the leading German special-interest magazines TOUR (Europe's road bike magazine no. 1), BIKE (Europe's mountain bike magazine no. 1), MYBIKE and EMTB in order to make this information, which is important for the industry, available to a wider public.

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Serious accident: Germany’s Federal Court of Justice (BGH) sets aside previous judgements

A mountain biker crashes into an obstacle of barbed wire and suffers from serious injuries. The German BGH now sets aside the previous judgements that sought the main culpability with the biker.


BIKE: Mr. Zedler, are the up to 25 percent of personal negligence in the use of step-in pedals justified which has been put up for debate by Germany’s Federal Court of Justice?
No, at first sight not. Without detailed knowledge of the case, it is of course impossible to make a conclusive assessment of this. However, it is neither apparent whether an expert with bicycle expertise was heard by the court at all.

Has the accident aggravating effect of step-in pedals been proven?
I am not aware of any studies showing that step-in pedals aggravate accidents. In my more than 25 year old career as a sworn bicycle and e-bike expert with far more than 10,000 expert reports this has neither been a commissioned subject nor has it become conspicuous in any way. We have no indication for the fact that step-in pedals have caused comparable accidents or contributed to such injury consequences. It can be assumed on the contrary that step-in pedals provide a better control for the rider on the bike. Former clip and strap pedals offering a comparable control led much more often to crashes. Flat pedals are less suitable for touring cyclists and mean a high risk of abrasions and cuts in the shin area if you slip.

Is it not rather to be assumed that a rollover, as it must have happened apparently, would also have happened with “normal” pedals during the emergency braking?
A rollover due to excessive deceleration during emergency braking is a simple matter of physics. The rider goes over the handlebars, no matter whether with or without step-in pedals. In the 1990s, when lots of rollovers happened due to folding up mudguards, countless of such accidents were examined. The consequences were terrible, even at walking speed. None of these riders had step-in pedals on their bikes, but they were riding with normal touring pedals. None of these riders succeeded in jumping off during the rollover to mitigate the consequences of the accident.

How do you think will the case proceed from here?
“Before the courts and on the high seas, we are in God’s hands”, is a saying that unfortunately is sometimes true. I hope for the injured biker that the court that has now been called upon will appoint a bicycle expert together with a doctor who will deal with the subject matter in greater detail. The lawyers should not take further action before the course of the accident and the injuries have been analysed thoroughly and brought together.

Thanks a lot Mr. Zedler for answering our questions.

The interview was held by Sebastian Brust.

Read the entire article here.

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