455 cyclists died on German roads in 2018. Compared to the previous year, this is an increase of a good 15 percent. This significant increase will not only be due to the XXL summer, but also the much-vaunted e-mobility, which in the future should actually protect the climate and make cities more liveable. But the electric revolution is just beginning. Soon, significantly more electric vehicles should push into the already full traffic area. Cyclists should be prepared for it to become tighter and more turbulent for them.
Among other things, the ongoing pedelec trend will further increase the risk potential. In 2018, sales of e-bikes rose to a record 980,000 units, an increase of 36 percent over the previous year, according to the two-wheeler industry association. Drive technology is a relief for many users and also allows seniors to get back on the bike. Not a few are, however, overwhelmed both with the traffic altogether and with the comparatively high speed that the electric drive allows. Turning motorists are often surprised when a supposedly slow cyclist suddenly rushes to an intersection. So it is hardly surprising that in 2018 the number of fatal pedelec users has risen by almost 30 percent compared to the previous year.
Actually, 25 km / h are the upper limit for pedelecs, although the drive technology in most cases allows significantly more. Probably not a few owners take advantage of this and tune their e-bikes. Corresponding Entdrosselungssätze can be ordered for little money on the Internet. A few simple steps are enough to double or even triple the top speed. Experts estimate that a good third of pedelecs drive faster than allowed. The risk is obviously accepted by some users, because occasionally you can even watch as a motorist, how to be overtaken by e-bikes without insurance sign – at much too high speed and on much too narrow bike paths. In addition, the pedelecs often frame and brakes are not designed for such high speeds.
There is also a legal form of fast e-bikes, the so-called S-pedelecs. They are approved for 45 km / h and therefore have to wear an insurance license plate and the drivers a helmet. For a S-Pedelec the bike path is actually taboo, but on motorways they are rarely welcome and are often overhauled by annoyed motorists too narrow. A dilemma, why S-Pedelec pilots like to dodge on the actually forbidden for them bike paths or on common footpaths and bike paths. On the latter pedestrians stroll with dogs and children. Here, a lot of traffic education will be necessary to raise awareness of potential dangers.
Electric mopeds like e-scooters will soon be mixing in this already difficult situation. They will probably be romping on bicycle lanes at tempo 20 in May or alternatively, if one is not there, they will be able to avoid the road. Experts warn against further traffic congestion on the now too narrow cycle paths. Especially as the number of wide cargo bikes is growing rapidly, which will further reduce the traffic area.
A major problem for the two-wheeler sector is ultimately the lack of infrastructure, especially in cities. This is also indicated by the current bicycle climate index of the ADFC. The transport infrastructure for cyclists obviously can not keep up with the current mobility change in cities. While decades ago the situation for bicycle traffic in Danish or Dutch cities improved, German municipalities are continuing to invest in traffic infrastructure for cars. In the coming years, billions of euros will flow into the construction of a charging infrastructure for e-cars, while only relatively small amounts are left for better bike paths. Presumably, it will often stay here only symbolic policy such as the establishment of bicycle lanes, but cars may continue to drive.