Ludwigsburger Kreiszeitung, April 22, 1995

Making bicycles safer

Bike expert Zedler examines material failures and bicycles damaged in accidents

Broken forks and brakes as well as twisted front wheels are part of his everyday business. Dirk Zedler scrutinizes bikes, because he is one of very few bike experts in Germany.

The engineer’s office in Eglosheim can become an important address for injured bikers, as Dirk Zedler does not only estimate an accident damaged bike’s value accurately, but can also trace back the accident’s cause as well as material deficiencies.

"Often, bikers are lost when it comes to material damage", he knows from experience. First contact for cyclists is the dealer the bike was bought at. He again turns to the importer who then passes the case on to the manufacturer. A long chain in which many a case of loss gets caught in. "Therefore, it is important to have the damage at the bike documented immediately", he advises. Because, if courts deal with the matter, this proof will be important.

But: Usually, the bagatelle limit for insurances is at around 1,200 Marks. For damages below this limit, the insurance companies mostly pay without an expert opinion.

Dirk Zedler has been working as "publicly appointed and sworn bike expert" for almost a year. Until he could pin the swearing-in certificate of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce to the wall, some time had passed. " had to prove my expertise to the Chamber by credentials, reports and references", Zedler says. His expertise, he got from "ten years in the bike sector".

Beside his studies in mechanical engineering, working in some bike shops, Zedler’s being an active triathlet and working for a big German bike magazine, are to be counted among his qualifications.

In the office of the 32 year old engineer also motorsport manuals are to be found. "I used to be a car and motorbike freak", recalls the bike expert. Nowadays, he cycles to work, takes the train for appointments with insurance companies. "I am interested in the bike because there is still so much to do", he explains.

The technical development of bikes has been enormous in the past ten years. Instead of three speed bikes made of steel and standard parts, mountainbikes with suspension forks or trekkingbikes with stepless gear change are waiting in the garage these days. Nevertheless: "There is a lot of dilettantism", Zedler says. Because in the bike sector, there is no general certification. "Every dabbler can build and sell bikes."

There is indeed a DIN-standard. But it only refers to bikes which are allowed to be used in road traffic according to the Road Traffic Licensing Regulation. And therefore excludes the majority of bikes, e.g. racer and mountainbikes. „That’s why bikes with constructional and material deficiencies are thrown on the market“, Zedler explains. He advises consumers to buy their bikes only at specialist dealers and to ask for a detailed invoice.

The dilettantism is one of the reasons why bike experts all over the country have united to form the "Federal Association of Bike Experts". Its members, around ten bike experts, work out documents for theoretical and practical exams for bike experts thereby wanting to protect and safeguard their own profession’s expertise. People having trouble with the manufacturers’ or insurances’ liability, can turn to Dirk Zedler(...)

Author: wie

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