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Road deaths and injuries Serious e-bike injuries increase by more than a third

Row of e-bikes

A row of e-bikes in Bern, part of a rental system

(Keystone)

A total of 233 people died on Swiss roads last year, three more than in 2017. Although fatalities decreased for riders of motorbikes and bicycles, deaths and serious injuries for users of e-bikes went up. 

Last year in Switzerland 79 people died in cars, 42 on motorbikes, 27 on bicycles and 12 on e-bikes. In addition, 43 pedestrians were killed, the Federal Roads Officeexternal link said on Thursday. The number of seriously injured rose 6% to 3,873. 

The main causes of death or serious injury, according to the official statisticsexternal link, were not paying attention or being distracted, speeding and alcohol. 

Notable changes on the previous year included fewer deaths on motorways and zebra crossings but more pedestrian deaths outside designated crossing zones. The number of old pedestrians killed crossing the road also dropped significantly. 

On the other hand, 12 e-bike riders died – five more than in 2017 – and 309 were seriously injured, an increase of 38%. 

Safety measures 

These e-bike figures are the highest ever recorded and reflect the increasing popularity of e-bikes in Switzerland. Of the 321 deaths or serious injuries, 236 were on slow e-bikes (up to 25km/h) and 85 on fast ones. 

+ Rules for e-bikes in Switzerlandexternal link 

The Federal Roads Office said it was looking into potential measures to improve safety, in particular for fast e-bikes. These include having to have lights turned on at all times and obligatory speedometers. 

Compared internationally, Switzerland does well when it comes to road safety. Nevertheless, the Swiss Council for Accident Preventionexternal linksaid safety was a permanent task. Only around 50% of cyclists wear a helmet, it noted. The council also called for roundabouts to be made safer and for cars to be fitted with built-in emergency assistants, which will activate when the driver is not responsive, for example after a heart attack.


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