How frequent are crashes involving pedelecs?

Answer

According to police registration, in 2014 there were 15 fatalities among cyclists on a pedelec or speed-pedelec, and 118 fatalities among cyclists on a regular, non-powered bicycle. Statistics Netherlands data indicates that in 2014 12% of the total bicycle distance was travelled on a pedelec. At an equal crash rate we would have expected 16 fatalities among pedelec riders in 2014; the number was 15. Proportionately, therefore, in 2014 the number of fatalities among pedelec riders was not higher than the number of fatalities on regular bicycles. It should be mentioned that the police has registered crashes with pedelecs in a separate category only since 2013 and it remains to be seen whether this is done accurately. On the basis of one year it is impossible to determine whether the risk of a fatal crash is higher on a pedelec than on a regular bicycle. That can only be determined with any certainty when a series of years shows that the fatality rate is not higher (Vlakveld, 2016).

It is unknown how often pedelec crashes with serious road injuries occur. Non-fatal bicycle crashes (such as a fall or a collision with a bollard; see see Reurings, 2012) are not or barely registered by the police, especially if no other (motorized) road users are involved.