E-bike safety concerns soar in Germany as accident rates rise

E-bike safety concerns soar in Germany as accident rates rise

In recent years, as the number of e-bikes has risen dramatically worldwide, this convenient and environmentally friendly mode of transportation has gradually become more and more popular among consumers.

However, at the same time, the safety of e-bikes has also become increasingly prominent, especially in Germany, one of the largest consumers of e-bikes in Europe, where the rate of electric bike accidents has risen significantly.

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    Nearly tenfold increase in accidents

    As e-bikes sales soar in Germany, safety concerns are becoming increasingly apparent.

    Statistically, the number of e-bikes in Germany has shown explosive growth in recent years, with the proportion of households owning e-bikes in Germany growing from 3.4% to 15.5% from 2014 to 2022.

    At the same time, the number of e-bikes on the road has also surged from about 2.1 million in 2014 to 9.8 million by 2022. The magnitude of this increase undoubtedly poses a huge challenge to road safety.

    While the widespread use of e-bikes has brought convenience to people’s mobility, it has been accompanied by a rising accident rate.

    In 2023, the number of accidents involving e-bikes that resulted in injuries reached about 23,900, an increase of nearly tenfold from about 2,200 in 2014.

    To add insult to injury, the fatality rate for e-bike accidents also continues to rise, with 188 deaths due to e-bike accidents in 2023, compared to 39 in 2014.

    E bike safety concerns soar in Germany as accident rates rise 1

    High risk of injury and death in e-bike accidents

    Personal injury accidents caused by e-bikes are more likely to result in death than those caused by non-motorized bicycles.

    According to statistics, an average of 7.9 riders die in every 1,000 personal injury accidents with e-bikes in Germany, compared to an average of 3.6 deaths on bicycles – a much higher rate than with non-motorized bicycles.

    By contrast, the number of accidents involving non-motorized bicycles declined by about 7% between 2014 and 2023.

    In 2023, about 70,900 people were injured by non-motorized bicycles; in 2014, there were 76,073. Fatalities also declined during this period: 256 people died from non-motorized bicycles in 2023, compared to 357 in 2014.

    The higher speeds and power of e-bikes undoubtedly increase the risk of riders being injured in accidents, while at the same time the number of accidents involving regular bicycles is trending downward, which further highlights the seriousness of the e-bike safety problem.

    E bike safety concerns soar in Germany as accident rates rise 2

    Age characteristics increase the risk of accidents

    The age profile of the e-bike rider community also increases the risk of accidents.

    According to the Federal Statistical Office, the average age of e-bike accidents is 53 years, far higher than the 42 years of regular bike riders, and in 2019, 60% of e-bike users who died in Germany were over 70 years old.

    This age difference also contributes to the higher fatality rate in e-bike accidents, as older people have a higher risk of serious injury or death in a fall than younger people.

    But as the popularity of e-bikes increases, the user base is changing. In the past, e-bikes were mainly favored by the elderly, but now more and more young people are also choosing this convenient and environmentally friendly mode of transportation.

    In 2014, more than half of e-bike accident users were over the age of 65, and by 2023, that number had fallen to one-third. The age structure of the accident population shows a trend of rejuvenation, and at the same time the number of serious injuries and deaths has decreased accordingly.

    The rapid popularity of e-bikes around the world has brought unprecedented convenience and efficiency to people’s mobility, but the safety issues behind them are gradually surfacing.

    How to ensure the travel experience at the same time, targeted solutions to travel safety hazards, firmly guard the bottom line of safe travel, and then create a broader green travel future. There is no doubt that the e-bike industry needs to continue to explore and address important issues. 

    You can also check the top 10 electric bike manufacturers in German and the top 10 electric bike manufacturers in Europe for your reference.

    E bike safety concerns soar in Germany as accident rates rise 3

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    Hi, I'm an experienced writer about mechanic and an expert on bike and e-bike tech who appreciates practical, beautifully-engineered things. And of course, I love cycling.
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