Advantages of e-bikes
Less than a decade ago, they were rarely seen on Swiss roads, but today they're a permanent fixture: e-bikes. Every third bike sold today is an e-bike.
The advantages of e-bikes are obvious: they relieve road traffic, are eco-friendly and, according to a study by the University of Basel, exercise the cardiovascular system in a similar way to conventional bicycles.
Rising number of accidents
The e-bike movement is thriving, that’s for sure. But as the popularity of e-bikes rises, so do the accidents. And one aspect is particularly troubling: according to a study by the University of Zurich, it is mostly serious injuries, like traumatic brain injuries, that are on the increase.
Even though e-bikers are twice as likely to wear helmets as cyclists, their speed is higher. This not only makes the braking distance longer, but they have less time to react to unexpected incidents. This also applies to other road users, such as car drivers, who often notice e-bikes too late.
Four tips for more safety
Riding an e-bike is not without its conflicts and dangers.
Even if you have the feeling that you have everything under control, other road users are often unaware of the speed of e-bikes or even overlook them completely. That's why it pays to be particularly cautious.
Choose the right model
Before buying an e-bike, you should know exactly what you want to use it for. Whether it’s to commute to work on tarmac roads or to ride forest trails, you're best served if you have the right tyres, good brakes and correct pedal assistance. Models with an ABS system are particularly safe as they prevent the front wheel from skidding. It pays to ask for advice at the bicycle shop and to test ride as many models as possible.
Wear a helmet
It sounds trivial, but is still not a given for everyone: even though the majority of e-bikers wear a helmet, around 28% still do not, despite the fact that a helmet provides important protection from serious injuries. It’s important to replace bicycle helmets after major impacts or after five years at the latest and to wear a helmet with the EN 1078 standard, even for short distances. And it’s essential to adjust the helmet to fit securely.
Crucial for safety in road traffic is high visibility: riding an e-bike requires sufficient lighting, not only at night, but also during the day. So always switch on the light on your bike! A reflective vest or reflective tape on your clothes and helmet will also significantly raise your visibility.