According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (“RoSPA”), a staggering 18,477 cyclists were injured on Britain’s roads during 2016, including 3,499 who were either killed or seriously injured. [1]

 

Although still relatively small (for the time being at least), the e-bike market appears to be growing rapidly and it seems there are a few good reasons for this – not least of all because, whilst being electric, they don’t need to be registered, taxed or insured. In fact, anyone over the age of 14 can ride an electric bike and they’re ideal for those wishing to take up cycling, albeit without having the physical fitness level required to use a standard, push pedal bike.

 

According to the UK organisation, Cycling UK, 75,000 e-bikes were sold during 2016. [2] However, that also raises the question, then, as to whether it naturally follows that e-bike accident statistics are set to rise through future months and years? In this article, we take a look at cycling accidents relating to electric bikes, as well as some of the current facts and figures from across the UK.

 

What are e-bikes?

Electric bikes are a relatively new concept and can either provide full, or partial power, in terms of performance with a top speed of around 20mph.

Powered by their own battery pack, e-bikes are already proving to be an excellent choice for city commuters and above all else, they’re incredibly good fun!

 

 

What are the main advantages of having an e-bike?

There are numerous advantages associated with electric bikes:

  • They can provide assistance anytime you might need it – for example, going up hills or when you’re planning to go on a longer journey.
  • Despite having a battery, they’re still incredibly lightweight (usually weighing anywhere between 20kg and 40kg, which is the typical maximum limit).
  • They’re ideal for city commuters, especially when you consider that you can even take them on a train (just like any other bike) and best of all, you won’t need to pay any parking charges at the end of your journey!
  • You can charge your battery whilst you’re at work by simply plugging it into a normal socket.
  • They’re incredibly efficient. Most e-bikes will travel between 40 and 50 miles on a single charge.
  • On average, an e-bike costs just 0.4 pence per mile to run – a massive saving when compared to the average family car!
  • They’re even available as a folding bike, which means you can quite literally store it anywhere – under your desk, in the hallway or even in the boot of your car.
  • Despite having a top speed of 20mph, you’re not legally required to have any tax or insurance; nor do they need to be registered.
  • Some employers also offer “Ride to Work” schemes, meaning you could even get financial assistance to either purchase or hire your electric bike.

 

 

What are the disadvantages of having an e-bike?

Unfortunately, the main disadvantage of having an e-bike must surely rest in the fact that, with an average speed of say, 15mph, then you’re much more likely to be involved in a road traffic collision. And of course, if you’re travelling at a higher speed compared to that of the average cyclists this could well mean that the level of injuries is capable of being much more serious.

 

 

What are the most common causes of bike accidents?

According to the UK’s leading road safety charity, “Brake”, almost three-quarters of collisions with cyclists occur at a junction. [3]

 

During a recent joint survey with car insurer Direct Line, the charity found that a distinct lack of safe cycling routes across the UK simply deters people from cycling and that almost one in four of the population would be persuaded to cycle more if there were more specific routes and trails made available to them.

 

Suffice it to say, if this could ever be made possible then there would many other apparent benefits – such as a reduction in harmful emissions and an overall improvement in the population’s health.

 

According to the NHS, regular cycling is a great way of losing weight, reducing stress and improving overall fitness, with an average 80kg person (12st 9lb) being able to lose more than 650 calories with just an hour’s riding. [4] Add to this the benefits of owning an e-bike, with extra power assistance when needed, and the potential results speak for themselves.

 

 

Can the number of cycling accidents ever be reduced?

Put simply, if more people could be encouraged to take up cycling then there would naturally be fewer vehicles on the road – which can only be a good thing for every type of road user. Sadly, according to the Department for Transport, almost all road deaths and serious injuries are caused at least in part by the actions of drivers. [5] Suffice it to say, if the UK population were to drive much less (or even not at all), then there would naturally be a much-reduced chance of ever being involved in a cycling accident. However, whether this can ever be achieved still remains to be seen.

 

 

Conclusion

Preventing cyclist deaths and serious injuries ultimately mean preventing needless suffering which currently carries a significant economic benefit. On average, every road death is estimated to cost the British economy £1.8 million due to the increased burden on health and emergency services, criminal justice costs and insurance pay-outs. This means that, in 2014 alone, cyclist deaths cost the British economy a staggering £180 million – not to mention thousands of families being left to mourn the loss of a loved one.

If you’re unfortunate enough to be involved in a cycling accident, then you’re certainly well advised to seek independent legal advice at the soonest opportunity. As with any other type of road user, you should be entitled to make a cycling accident claim & receive compensation for any personal injuries you might have sustained as well as any other losses, such as cycle repair/replacement, any treatment costs, loss of earnings and so on.

Whether the continued campaigns ever help reduce the number of vehicles on Britain’s roads remains to be seen. However, there seems very little doubt that there are huge benefits to be had when it comes to reducing four wheels by half … and what better way to do it than on an electric bike given the many benefits it has to offer?

 

 

References

[1] The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents – https://www.rospa.com/road-safety/advice/pedal-cyclists/facts-figures taken from Department for Transport, 2017, Table TAS30001: Report casualties by road user type, age and severity, Great Britain, 2016, date accessed: 3 November 2011

[2] Cycling UK: https://www.cyclinguk.org/resources/cycling-uk-cycling-statistics

[3] Brake – http://www.brake.org.uk/facts-resources/15-facts/1246-cyclist-safety

[4] NHS – Benefits of Cycling, NHS Choices, 2014

[5] Reported road casualties Great Britain: Annual Report 2015, Department for Transport 2016.