News Article

Realistic Study on E-Bike Traffic Safety


CHEMNITZ, Germany – The growing number of e-bikes and the possibility of higher speeds present rising concerns about road safety, in particular the risk of crashes and accidents. But is there any reason for that?

Realistic Study on E-Bike Traffic Safety
The potentially higher speeds of e-bikes are used mainly by speed e-bike users. – Photo UDV

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

Mainly convenience

The comparison of conventional bicycles, on one hand, with e-bikes and speed e-bikes on the other hand, shows that the latter are not less safe than bicycles or associated with different risks. The potentially higher speeds of e-bikes are used mainly by speed e-bike users. E-bike riders use the motor assistance primarily for convenience.

The field study approach was selected to collect cycling data in a realistic yet controlled setting. More specifically, they took a naturalistic approach: the participants’ behaviour was recorded during their daily life as unobtrusively as possible. For this purpose, they developed a data acquisition system (DAS) with video cameras and different sensors which were fitted on the participants bikes.

90 participants

There were a total of 90 participants. 49 of them were e-bike users, 10 were speed e-bike 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.

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