Understand the future first

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Traffic safety consequences of faster and more powerful electrically assisted cycles

Electrically Power Assisted Cycles (EPACs) can be classified in different categories depending on the power of their motor and to which speed electric assistance is given to the cyclist. Trivector have just completed a study financed by the Swedish Transport Administration’s Skyltfond which looked at the traffic safety consequences of faster and more powerful EPACs.

The study identified three classes called pedelecs (elcyklar), motorised cycles (motoriserade cyklar) and speed-pedelecs or S-pedelecs (snabb-elcyklar). The latter two categories were denoted faster and more powerful EPACs (snabbare och kraftigare el-assisterade cyklar), and were the main focus of the report.

The project comprised of four parts: literature review, interviews with experts outside of Sweden, a questionnaire distributed to bicycle retailers in Sweden and a workshop with cycling and traffic safety experts in Sweden. The primary aim of the project was to increase the knowledge of traffic safety consequences of these vehicles in Sweden.

New to the market

These vehicles are relatively new to the market, and although sales and use are increasing in certain European countries, there is still very limited knowledge as to their traffic safety implications. There is more known about S-pedelecs than motorised cycles, for which there is very little known. We have also studied safety impacts of pedelecs as a point of comparison. More is known regarding pedelecs compared to the vehicles which are the focus of this report.

Higher traffic safety problem

According to this report, faster and more powerful EPACs pose a higher traffic safety problem compared to pedelecs and normal bicycles. These problems are due to a range of issues that are summarised in this report in four categories: infrastructure, vehicles and technology, behaviour and legislation. A number of measures are proposed to address identified traffic safety problems.

We need to increase our knowledge

Not much is known about these vehicles, particularly since they have only recently appeared on the market, and are not used to a great extent in Sweden. The most important conclusion from this report is that we need to increase our knowledge as to how these vehicles impact traffic safety in Sweden.

To read the full report "Upp till 45 km/h med el-assistans på cykeln - Säkerhetsrisker av snabbare och kraftigare el-assisterade cyklar" (in Swedish with English summary), click here.

More information

For more information, please contact Anna Clark, +46 10 456 56 23.

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