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Serious electric bike accidents spike upwards

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Serious electric bike accidents spike upwards
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
20:43 CEST+02:00
The increasing popularity of electric bicycles in Switzerland is leading to a corresponding rise in serious injuries and even deaths among users, new figures show.

The number of people killed on e-bikes rose to eight in 2012 from two the previous year, according to an annual report from the accident prevention bureau (BFU) released on Tuesday.

The total of people seriously injured on e-bikes rose 25 percent to 86 cases, the BFU said.

The report shows that 80 percent of the seriously injured and killed people were 45 or older, often those using electric bikes on a daily basis

In 57 percent of cases, the serious accidents are linked to a loss of control of the bike, the report said.

The other 43 percent of accidents involved collisions, in which drivers of cars were at fault 64 percent of the time.

Drivers of heavy vehicles or delivery trucks accounted for 17 percent of such crashes.

“The underestimation of the speed of electric bikes has here probably an influence,” the BFU said.

E-bikes can travel up to 40 kilometres an hour or more.

Motorists usually cannot distinguish between these bikes and regular ones, which travel much more slowly, the bureau indicated.

The organization launched a campaign last spring to warn the public that electric bicycles are faster than you think.

The BFU nonetheless acknowledged that the overall number of serious accidents was relatively low and the increase in cases was linked in part to the strong growth in the number of e-bikes in the past couple of years.

Sales of e-bikes since 2005 rose 37 percent from 135,000 in 2011 to 185,000 last year, the bureau said.  

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