Electric bikes – the underestimated risk

Electric bikes – the underestimated risk

Anyone, who owns an electric bike can count themselves lucky: they are mobile, flexible, move in the open, but don't have to struggle like classic cyclists. This is especially appreciated by those who need to travel greater distances, tow a trailer or are slightly older. But be careful: electric bikes are among the most dangerous means of transport.

Every third accident is serious

599 e-cyclists were involved in accidents in Switzerland in 2015. And while that might not sound so dramatic, what is disturbing is that every third accident involving an electric bike ends in hospital – and one in 40 accidents ends fatally for the cyclist. In the case of conventional bicycles, only one in four accidents are so severe, and only one in 140 accidents is fatal.

New speed – new risks

Anyone familiar with these figures will understand immediately why a bicycle helmet is recommended for slow electric bikes up to 25 kilometers per hour and a motorcycle helmet is required for faster vehicles capable of traveling at up to 45 kilometers per hour. Three factors make electric bikes so dangerous: First of all, you can ride much faster than on a normal bicycle. The braking distance and the impact forces increase accordingly. Second, cyclists often underestimate the speed of electric bikes. This can be fatal, especially when overtaking or turning. Third, the electric bikes also tempt people into the saddle, who have only driven cars for many years. They must learn to be a "weaker" road user again. Even in terms of their physical fitness, they are often more susceptible to injury than classic cyclists.

How to stay safe while on the go

What can e-cyclists do to protect themselves against accidents?
 
  • Visit special driving training for electric bikes.
  • Start off slowly: Use the lowest speed setting for your first outing and only increase it once you are able control your electric bike in any traffic situation.
  • Wear a helmet at all times – it protects you from serious head injuries in most cases.
  • Make yourself visible – with bright clothes, hi-vis strips and lighting, even during the day.
  • Cycle defensively: Give other road users the right of way and always ensure that you have been seen through eye contact.
      
If you take these tips to heart, you will be able to enjoy trips by electric bike without a care – and return home safe and healthy.

Optimum protection for your bike

Classic and electric bicycles up to 25 kilometers per hour are insured against theft away from home up to a maximum of 2,000 Swiss francs under Zurich's contents insurance. An additional module is required for faster e-bikes. Those who want more protection can take out the Zurich Bike comprehensive insurance:
It covers all bikes in the event of loss or damage resulting from theft, compensates costs up to 12,000 Swiss francs for repairs after an accident or fall, and offers a 24-hour breakdown service.