Since on 1st January 1, 2017, new speed pedelec legislation entered into force, as a result of which in the Netherlands they now have to be registered as a moped and be fitted with the registration plate for this category. Before this, speed pedelecs were categorized as low-performance mopeds and could be used without registration and without a helmet. Another new obligation resulting from the moped categorization is that speed pedelecs have to go on the road where there is no cycle path on which mopeds are allowed
SWOV, the Dutch institute for scientific road safety research, has studied the effects of this new position on the road have been studied. For that they have continuously observed the natural driving behaviour of a number of speed pedelec riders as well as their surroundings (Naturalistic Riding). The participants in this survey used the speed pedelec for commuting. The speed pedelec was equipped with two cameras with built-in GPS and accelerometer to record driving behaviour, road position, speed and traffic conditions.
The research shows that there are major differences between speed-pedelec riders. The “one and only speed-pedelec rider” does not seem to exist. A significant part of the distance (23% of the total) is ridden on the cycle path where they should actually have chosen the road. O
On the road, they ride significantly faster (32 km/h) than on the bike path (29 km/h). Participants often felt unsafe on the road. On the road, the researchers also observed issues of free flow of traffic and expressions of irritation. The researchers conclude that despite riders’ support for the helmet obligation, it remains a major challenge to safely fit the speed pedelec in Dutch road traffic.
The full report in Dutch can be downloaded here: https://www.swov.nl/publicatie/speed-pedelecs-op-de-rijbaan-observatieonderzoek