Traffic safety of electric bicycles – A naturalistic cycling study

The number of electric bicycles has increased in recent years in Germany and elsewhere. 410,000 electric bicycles were sold in Germany in 2013 only. The growing number of electric bicycles and the possibility of higher speeds give rise to concerns about road safety.

German Insurers Accident Research (UDV) and Chemnitz University of Technology carried out a large-scale naturalistic cycling study to investigate the vehicle usage, speed and road safety of users of electric bicycles in Germany. Three groups were compared: riders of pedelecs, s-pedelecs and conventional bicycles.

A field study approach was selected to collect cycling data in a realistic yet controlled setting. Participants’ behavior was recorded during their daily life as unobtrusively as possible. The bikes were equipped with a data acquisition system (DAS) with video cameras and different sensors.

There were a total of 90 participants. 49 of them were pedelec users, 10 were s-pedelec users, and 31 were ordinary cyclists. Each participant was observed for a period of four weeks riding their own bike. In addition, participants were required to fill in a travel diary for one week to record all journeys, not just those for which they used their bike.

Original source: Unfallforschung der Versicherer

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