More Consideration for our Partners on the Road

08 Nov 2020 News & Campaigns

Editorial Road Safety Report 2020

One glance at our roads is enough to realize that using two wheels to get around is becoming more and more popular. Manufacturers of motorcycles are recording an increase in sales, and pedelec manufacturers in particular are experiencing a boom in their figures.

According to data published by the European Association of Motorcycle Manufacturers (ACEM), the market in the EU grew by eight percent in 2019 compared to the previous year, with a total of almost 1.1 million new motorcycle registrations. At the time of writing, there are no official figures for pedelec sales in 2019 for the EU as a whole. However, the ZIV, an association for the bicycle industry in Germany, recorded growth of almost 39 percent for the year, with sales rising to 1.36 million.
In light of this development, it makes sense that more and more towns and cities are expanding their cycle infrastructure significantly as Germany looks to establish more firmly the kind of culture that has become a long-standing tradition in countries such as the Netherlands and Denmark. This is reflected in the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure’s National Cycling Plan 3.0, which includes measures such as increasing the number of bicycle bridges, tunnels for cyclists, and express bike lanes.
Personal light electric vehicles are also experiencing a real boom all around the world. Before they were approved for use in Germany in May 2019, e-scooters were already cruising around a number of American cities, as well as in Europe in places such as Paris, Vienna, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Lisbon, and Madrid. The huge increase in the popularity of this sector, and particularly of e-scooter rental companies, has led a number of cities – especially those in the USA – to take a more active role in the regulation of their urban infrastructure in order to provide better mobility management overall, improve road safety, and curb the discourteous behavior that can often be seen with regard to the parking of these vehicles, for example.
But no matter what type of two-wheeled vehicle people choose, or whether they use them during their free time or for their daily commute, doing so makes them largely unprotected as road users. As such, there is a high risk of these road users “coming off worst” if they are involved in a collision – particularly if it is with a car, van, or truck – and ending up being severely injured or, in the worst-case scenario, even killed. While it is true that the numbers of people killed while riding two-wheeled vehicles have been on the decline in many EU countries for years, we must be careful not to take our eye off the ball. One aspect that should not be overlooked is the consequences of single-vehicle accidents, which can often be disastrous. For example, official statistics for Germany for 2019 show that such accidents accounted for around 30 percent of all the accidents involving motorbike users, as well as 30 percent of the fatal accidents.
This report will detail what action can be taken to counteract this issue. Like DEKRA’s previous road safety reports, this publication aims first and foremost to get people thinking and act as a starting point for discussions – among politicians, road traffic experts, manufacturers, scientific institutions, and associations. At the same time, it is intended as a guide for users of twowheeled vehicles and all other road users, who can help to reduce the number of people involved and killed in road accidents in the long term by cooperating with one another and treating each other with mutual respect, as well as by increasing their awareness of the risks of road use and observing safety standards. Thanks to the good examples set in other countries, we are confident we can make this change.