“There are more and more electric bikes on our roads. Today, we would like to recreate various situations in order to raise awareness about electric bikes among road users,” explains Daniel Junker, Head of Vehicle Experts at Baloise.
The first crash test recreates a collision between a car and an electric bike at a branch in the road. The car and the electric bike approach each other at a very tight angle. The driver is unable to see the cyclist or has only a very restricted view. Afterwards, Rolf Thommen, who heads up the Basel traffic police, analyses the scene of the accident: “In a scenario such as this, it is very difficult for the driver of the car to take the correct action as the restricted visibility means that they do not spot the cyclist in time and probably misjudge the bike’s speed.”
Practical tests have been conducted that show how difficult it is to estimate the speed at which an electric bike is travelling. “An initial, quick glance often does not reveal that the bike is electric. Based on our past experience, we tend to assume that it is moving at the pace of a traditional bike and are then surprised at how soon it reaches us,” says Marius Bloch from Dynamic Test Center AG.
Further practical tests on the track show the difference between electric bikes that have been fitted with ABS and those that have not: “If an electric bike without ABS brakes suddenly, the front wheel will lock or slide sideways, leading to a fall. In the event of an emergency stop, an ABS system will also stop the rear wheel from rising up and the rider from being thrown over the handlebars. Although an electric bike with ABS is a bigger investment, it pays off very quickly if you bear in mind that it can prevent a fall,” states Jean-Marie Unterrassner from the Bike Factory.
The second crash test highlights the blind spot problem. In a simulated accident at a junction, the electric bike rider passes the truck at 25 km/h on the right, entering the truck driver’s blind spot. The truck turns right at this moment, hitting the cyclist. “In a scenario like this, the cyclist is unlikely to survive the accident, or only with severe injuries,” explains Markus Muser from AGU Zurich.
“It is vital to make cyclists and pedestrians aware of this problem. The latest technology now includes assistance systems that help to make the blind spot more visible, but they are by no means fitted on all trucks. Cyclists and pedestrians alike therefore need to assume that the driver cannot see them and must take extra care,” concludes Daniel Junker from Baloise.
If you would like to observe a Baloise crash test in person, please send your contact details to firstname.lastname@example.org.