e-BikeSAFE: A Naturalistic Cycling Study to Understand how Electrical Bicycles Change Cycling Behaviour and Influence Safety

Safety is a concern jeopardizing cycling sustainability. In Europe, more than 2.000 cyclists die every year in traffic accidents. Electrical bicycles amplify this concern because of their high speed and increasing prevalence. Previous studies, such as the naturalistic cycling study BikeSAFER, showed that interaction among cyclists and other road users (e.g., drivers, pedes-trians or other bicyclists) is crucial to cycling safety. As electrical bicycles become increasingly popular, other road users may need to recalibrate their expectations to maintain a safe interaction with this new type of bicycle. However, the extent to which electrical bicycles fail to meet other road users’ expectations because of their higher speed is yet to be confirmed. Furthermore, whether the growing number of electrical bicycles influences cycling behaviour and results in new safety challenges is still unknown. The e-BikeSAFE project is currently collecting naturalistic cycling data in Gothenburg. Equipped bicycles in e-BikeSAFE presently record cyclist behaviour in real traffic from cameras, GPS, and kinematics sensors. This data will be used to 1) understand how bicyclists with electrical bicycles behave in traffic and 2) the extent to which safety critical situations (crash and near-crashes) are different for electrical bicycles compared to traditional ones. For this later analysis, data from BikeSAFE will be used as a reference. This paper explains how the naturalistic methodology was adapted to the electrical bicycles and shows how e-BikeSAFE data will be combined with existing data from BikeSAFE for safety analyses including cycling behaviour and accident causation.

Marco Dozza, Julia Werneke, Michael Mackenzie
Research area
Publication type
Conference paper
Published in
Proceedings of the International Cycling Safety Conference 2013, November 2013, Helmond
e-BikeSAFE (associated project)
Year of publication