Development of German pedelec (and bicycle) crashes between 2013 and 2021

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review



Introduction: The continuous growth in the use of e-bikes (in Germany mostly pedelecs that support pedaling up to 25 km/h) raises questions about the use of historic crash data for the development of road safety measures. The aim of this study was to address this issue, by conducting a longitudinal analysis of pedelec and bicycle crash data over a period of nine years to identify trends and to clarify whether such trends are specific to pedelecs. Method: We analyzed 95,338 police reported pedelec and bicycle injury crashes from 2013 through 2021. The dataset consisted of crashes from three federal states of Germany: Brandenburg, Hesse and Saxony. Data were analyzed with respect to sex and age distribution, time, location and type of accident, conflict partner, cause of crash and injury severity. Results: Many of the analyzed variables showed a considerable degree of temporal stability, with differences as well as similarities between the two bicycle types staying quite consistent over the years. One notable difference was the mean age of the involved riders, with crashed pedelec riders being significantly older than conventional cyclists. At the same time, however, the mean age of these pedelec riders has decreased by eight years over time. Single vehicle crashes were consistently more common for pedelec riders than for cyclists. Similarly, pedelec rider crashes went with a higher injury severity over all the years. Conclusions and practical applications: While, on a more detailed level, we found differences between the two bicycle types, overall crash characteristics were remarkably similar and consistent over time. Our findings provide no clear argument for road safety measures that are specifically designed to target pedelecs. Instead, the stable crash total, and the increases in ridership of both bicycles and pedelecs, highlight the demand for new, innovative solutions to improve cycling safety in general.


Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of safety research
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

External IDs

Scopus 85173247240
Mendeley 1f03210b-bd63-3c19-8e2d-b9fe958674ae



  • Accident analysis, Crash characteristics, Crash severity, E-bike safety, Electric bicycle, Longitudinal, Rider age, Single vehicle crashes