Lost control of electric bike or overlooked by a motorist while turning: 445 men and women suffered fatal injuries in an accident with their bike in 2019.
Although this is the same number as in 2018, it is 16.8 percent more than in 2010, according to the Federal Statistical Office in Wiesbaden. Experts fear that the number of bicycle accidents could rise again as a result of the Corona crisis.
“My fear is rather that it will get worse,” Siegfried Brockmann, head of accident research for insurers at the German Insurance Association, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur. Things would have changed in the Corona crisis, and probably to the detriment of cyclists. Many people have switched from public transport to bicycles. “The pedelec is the decisive issue among seniors.”They could participate in the mobility sector again through electronic assistance, but the speed must also be linked to the strength of the drivers, he said. “If we say it’s a bicycle, it has to behave like a bicycle.”There are technical possibilities for this.
Among those fatally injured in 2019, more than half (53.8) were 65 or older. For electric bikes, the figure was even higher – at 72 percent. Among those killed, 118 were riding a pedelec. Such electric bikes support cyclists up to a maximum speed of 25 kilometers per hour with an electric motor.
Almost 87.000 cyclists were injured on the roads last year. The most fatal accidents occurred in Bavaria (77), Lower Saxony (73) and North Rhine-Westphalia (71). The fewest fatal accidents occurred in Saarland (2), Bremen (3) and Hamburg (4).
“Yes, I think there will be a further increase because more people will switch to cycling,” said also the spokeswoman for cycling of the Verkehrsclub Deutschland (VCD), Anika Meenken, referring to the Corona crisis. With more bicycle kilometers ridden, the number of accidents would also increase. Wider bike lanes, turning assistants for motorized traffic, different traffic light phases for cyclists, 30 km/h speed limits in large parts of cities and rapid implementation of the new catalog of fines with higher fines and driving bans are necessary, it said.
“The rising numbers of accident fatalities among cyclists are also due to the significant increase in cycling in general and pedelecs in particular,” said ADAC spokeswoman Katrin van Randenborgh. It is clear that the need for investment in cycling infrastructure is high. ADAC believes there is an urgent need to make rapid progress on retrofitting existing trucks with turn assist systems. “Technically, a combination with an emergency braking system makes sense.”
“German cities are decades behind in developing cycling infrastructure,” said General German Bicycle Club expert Stephanie Krone. This is taking its toll now that bicycle traffic is increasing. “Since Corona, we have seen a real boom in cycling and many new entrants on the bike ? and that’s exactly what the German government has set out to do as part of the climate package.”The strong growth of bicycle traffic is politically desired.
What’s needed now is the rapid expansion of bike lanes, the safe reconstruction of intersections and a reduction of car traffic in city centers, Krone said. That cars and trucks need mandatory driver assistance systems that actively protect pedestrians and cyclists is clear, she said. “The danger comes primarily from motor vehicles ? and is reinforced by a bicycle-unfriendly design of the cities.”
In accidents involving injured or killed cyclists in which a second road user was involved, this was a car in 73.9 percent, according to the statisticians. In these accidents, cyclists were the main culprits only in almost a quarter (23.4) of the cases.