The number of electric bikes on Denmark’s roads has increased dramatically over the last few years – as has the number of fatal accidents involving them.
Newly-released figures from the Vejdirektorat road directorate reveal that in 2018 electric bikes accounted for 10 percent of the fatalities amongst cyclists.
In total, the six fatalities represent a steep rise on the two or three killed since 2012, during which time there have been 21 total deaths.
Vejdirektorat is at present engaged in an analysis of electric bikes expected to be published in the autumn.
“This is something we need to look at more closely because we’ve had a rise in the number of killed and injured amongst ‘soft’ road users, and that is not exactly a positive development,” said Marianne Foldberg Steffensen from the organisation.
Pedal to the metal
One of the contributing factors could be that by using a simple kit costing around 800 kroner, and with half an hour’s work and some simple tools, it is possible to tune an electric bike to go up to 60 km per hour, reports Politiken.
The kits are fully legal, but now the accident prevention body Havarikommissionen has suggested they ought to be banned. “It’s extremely unfortunate it’s so easy to buy such a kit and tune an electric bike, but I realise it is hard to ban something that you can just get hold of on the internet or abroad,” said the chair of the body, Mette Fynbo.
“As it is so simple, people might easily get the impression that it isn’t a problem.”
More like a moped
According to the law an electric bike’s motor should assist a cyclist up to a 25 km per hour maximum speed. After that, it is up to the cyclist’s own muscle power.
There is, however, an exception for a specially fast bike called a pedelec, which can go up to 45 km per hour. Unlike normal electric bikes, these have specially strong frames, more powerful brakes and side-mirrors fitted. At the moment, they are permitted in Denmark as an experiment.
Fynbo points out that 30-40 km per hour is the speed a moped normally travels at and that it can be difficult for both cyclists and drivers to assess how fast an electric bike is going when it comes to braking and orientating yourself.
Fatality on Funen
A man was killed on Friday evening in a collision between his electric bicycle and a lorry at a roundabout near Årslev in Funen.
The 62-year-old cyclist appeared to be going at around 30-40 km per hour, according to the duty officer at Funen’s police department.
The man was taken to hospital but died of his injuries.
The new statistics reveal that the majority of all the cyclists killed and injured are more than 44 years old and around two-thirds of them are women.