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Greater safety for eBikers

Setting the course for tomorrow's mobility

  • Increasing traffic means a greater safety risk for cyclists
  • Technical solutions from Bosch make eBiking safer
  • Improved infrastructure for bicycles necessary
Tamara Winograd

Tamara Winograd >

Stuttgart/Reutlingen – Germany has discovered the eBike: Currently, around 4.5 million pedelecs travel the German roads; 980,000 electric bicycles were sold in 2018 alone. A positive development for the environment – and a nice trend towards a more active lifestyle. Because according to studies, commuters who ride their bikes are healthier than those who commute by car every day. But: There is less and less space on German roads. Although there is now a wide range of alternative mobility options, little has been done in terms of urban infrastructure development over the last decade. There is a lot of catching up to do in order to increase the safety of cyclists. Equally important: responsible action and technical solutions. The interplay of these three factors is a prerequisite for riding enjoyment and ensures that eBikers can travel the roads in a sustainable, relaxed and above all safe manner.

Safety through technical innovations

With the increasing number of eBikers and the significantly higher number of kilometres they cover via pedelecs, the number of accidents has also increased. Especially the incorrect use of brakes plays an important role in the causes of accidents. "Safety is of the utmost priority for Bosch. We are constantly working to further increase safety for eBikers and their surroundings. Bosch contributes to this goal with innovative products and comprehensive services", says Claus Fleischer, CEO of Bosch eBike Systems. One example is the first anti-lock braking system for pedelecs. The Bosch eBike ABS has been proven to increase road safety for eBikers. A study by the Bosch accident research confirms: If all pedelecs were equipped with ABS and riders react accordingly, up to 29 percent of all accidents with pedelecs could be avoided annually.

Taking responsibility for your own safety

Choosing an eBike with ABS is an important step in making riding on the road safer. Adequate head protection is also important. A helmet should always be used when riding a pedelec. According to a German study commissioned by the Ministry of Transport Baden-Württemberg and the Thuringian Ministry of Construction, Regional Development and Transport, 20 percent of head injuries in lightly injured and over 80 percent in seriously injured people can be avoided by wearing a bicycle helmet. eBikers should also be very familiar with the riding and braking behaviour of their electric bicycle. Safety training for new pedelec owners may therefore make sense. Many dealers and associations, such as the General German Bicycle Club (ADFC) offer safety training that is especially geared towards pedelecs. "Only those who are safe and confident on the road, those familiar with their pedelec and able to recognise and assess dangerous situations in good time, can enjoy the eBiking fascination to the fullest," says Fleischer.

Tuning pedelecs poses a safety risk

Riding responsibly includes not tuning your pedelec. Because riding tuned eBikes on public roads may not only lead to legal and technical problems but may also have safety-related consequences. The technical manipulation of eBikes, such as increasing the shutdown speed to over 25 km/h, creates continuous loads that were not accounted for in the design and for which the bike and components are not designed. In addition, other road users completely underestimate the speed of the approaching eBike. As a result, tuning compromises the safety of the pedelec as a whole, putting yourself as well as other road users at risk. For model year 2020, Bosch eBike Systems is committed to lawful and compliant eBiking and will launch new software that detects eBike tuning and switches into limp home mode as a result. This reduces riding enjoyment and discourages manipulation.

Parking bicycles safely

In order to make cities more bike-friendly and to encourage more people to make the switch to an eBike, this also requires anti-theft, barrier-free and weather-protected parking facilities such as bicycle parking garages or lockable bicycle garages. A study by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) shows that Germany is still lacking in this regard: 55 percent of respondents demanded safe bicycle parking facilities and are extending this demand to the politicians. With good reason: Last year alone, around 290,000 bicycles were stolen or illegally used in Germany. In order to reduce the risk of theft, appropriate safety technology is required in addition to a secure parking space. A mechanical lock is indispensable. Bosch eBike Systems now offers additional digital protection with the premium Lock function, which deactivates the pedelec's motor support when the on-board computer is removed. This makes pedelecs less attractive for potential thieves, because the chance of resale is much more difficult.

Safety as a prerequisite for cycling culture

Anyone riding their bike wants to feel as comfortable as possible on the road. The subjective feeling of safety is one of the central factors in the choice of a means of transport. However, this has further deteriorated in Germany. According to a survey by the ADFC, people feel increasingly unsafe when cycling. 74 percent of respondents stated that they have a bad feeling when they allow their children to ride their bikes on their own; in large cities, it is 85 percent. A worrying trend. It may be worth taking a look at Copenhagen. 62 percent of the population there cycle to school or work. Meaning the people of Copenhagen cover 1.4 million kilometres a day. A survey of Copenhagen's residents ("Bicycle Account") shows that's no coincidence. 76 percent of all cyclists in Copenhagen feel safe. Safety is therefore an important prerequisite for establishing a culture of cycling.

Need for a better cycling infrastructure

The main reason for the increased insecurity among German cyclists is that the urban infrastructure can barely keep up with the increased number of cyclists. "Whether with or without electrical support, safe mobility requires a corresponding bicycle infrastructure that must be adapted to growing needs. We urgently need more space for cycling," explains Fleischer. Protected bike lanes, or wide cycle paths along the main transport routes that are physically separate from car traffic, are important to cyclists. The establishment of safe bicycling boulevards or bicycle fast lanes is also a factor. Fleischer adds: "This is where politicians have to act and invest more. And now. Because the redesign of our cities is progressing far too slowly. But this modern mobility solution will prevail only if cyclists feel safe. The course for tomorrow's mobility must already be set today."

Sources:

Bosch eBike Systems is shaping the future of eBike mobility with innovative products and digital services ranging from highly efficient drive systems to the first production-ready ABS for eBikes and Connected Biking solutions. On the daily routes through the city, on leisurely rides through the countryside or for sporting adventures in the mountains: Bosch eBike Systems offers eBikers the right drive system (drive unit, battery, display, and app) for every requirement and every area of use, ensuring a unique riding sensation. Today, more than 100 of the world's leading bicycle brands trust the perfectly coordinated, modular product portfolio. As an independent division within the Bosch Group, Bosch eBike Systems also makes use of the Group's technology and manufacturing expertise. For healthy, safe and sustainable mobility that is fun.

For more information please visit www.bosch-ebike.de

The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. It employs roughly 402,600 associates worldwide (as of December 31, 2021). The company generated sales of 78.7 billion euros in 2021. Its operations are divided into four business sectors: Mobility Solutions, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology. As a leading IoT provider, Bosch offers innovative solutions for smart homes, Industry 4.0, and connected mobility. Bosch is pursuing a vision of mobility that is sustainable, safe, and exciting. It uses its expertise in sensor technology, software, and services, as well as its own IoT cloud, to offer its customers connected, cross-domain solutions from a single source. The Bosch Group’s strategic objective is to facilitate connected living with products and solutions that either contain artificial intelligence (AI) or have been developed or manufactured with its help. Bosch improves quality of life worldwide with products and services that are innovative and spark enthusiasm. In short, Bosch creates technology that is “Invented for life.” The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its roughly 440 subsidiary and regional companies in some 60 countries. Including sales and service partners, Bosch’s global manufacturing, engineering, and sales network covers nearly every country in the world. With its more than 400 locations worldwide, the Bosch Group has been carbon neutral since the first quarter of 2020. The basis for the company’s future growth is its innovative strength. At 128 locations across the globe, Bosch employs some 76,100 associates in research and development, of which more than 38,000 are software engineers.

Additional information is available online at www.bosch.com, www.iot.bosch.com, www.bosch-press.com, www.twitter.com/BoschPress.

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