The road accident figures for the first half of 2020 confirm the trend observed in recent years: serious accident victims are on the increase among e-bike riders.
More often than not, unsuitable speed was the cause of the serious accident, the Federal Roads Office (Ofrou) said in a statement. Among electric bicycle riders, it is the cause of more than 20% of these accidents, without it being specified whether they are slow (less than 25 km / h) or fast bikes. In this category of road users, the number of seriously injured increased in the first half of 2020 to reach 207 (compared to 148 in 2019), while the number of fatalities decreased from 7 to 6.
“These figures are perfectly explainable by the number of cyclists, which exploded during the confinement”, explains the president of Pro Velo Switzerland, Matthias Aebischer. “We have more than doubled the number of sales of slow and fast electric bikes during the first half of 2020, and the number of kilometers also surely. You have to compare what is comparable, and remember that behind the Ofru is the Federal Council, which recently asked for new obligations for users of electric bikes. “
Read also: Wearing a helmet derails the debate
The obligation to turn on the headlights
To improve the safety of these users, the Federal Council put several measures into consultation in mid-August 2020, including the introduction of the obligation to turn on the headlights on all electric bikes, to wear a helmet on slow e-bikes and install a tachometer on fast e-bikes.
“I repeat that we recommend wearing a helmet, but we are against its obligation”, specifies Matthias Aebischer. “We do not want a difference in treatment between the user of a simple bicycle and that of a slow electric bicycle which goes, most of the time, slower than the former. Above all, we refuse to allow cities to clear their customs by stopping building bicycle infrastructure because helmets have become compulsory. ”
The OFRU report also contains figures for other categories of road users. All categories combined, 95 people lost their lives in Switzerland in a road accident during the first part of the year, 19 more than in 2019 over the same period. 70 fewer people were, however, seriously injured on the roads in the first half of 2020, i.e. 1,614.