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Speed pedelec trial on high speed cycle route in Germany 

7 days ago

2 minutes

The Hessian Ministry (for transport, energy, economic affairs, transport, housing and rural areas) and Darmstadt Regional council will begin a traffic trial on the Frankfurt-Darmstadt rapid cycle link from mid-May, initially for one year.

Source: Wirtschaft.hessen

The trial period will permit speed pedelecs to use the section between Langen and Darmstadt-Nord. Also known as S-pedelecs, speed pedelecs have a similar appearance to conventional pedelecs but have a higher speed limit of 45km/h, so are categorised as “mopeds” that aren’t normally allowed to ride on cycle paths.

Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences will help with analysing the traffic trial, which has the objective of investigating if high-speed cycling routes could be suitable for S-pedelec use. The university will record road safety levels on the cycle link with speed observations, on-site surveys and interviews.

The traffic test aims to investigate the speeds of various user groups, and analyse the effects of speed pedelecs being used on the high-speed cycling route. Cycling path users are advised to look out for signs to confirm the areas where speed pedelecs are permitted to be used.

The first set of results from the traffic trial is expected for spring 2025.

Transport Minister Mansoori explains the reasoning behind the trial: “Carrying out traffic trials is crucial to test all possible ways to accelerate the transport transition. I am pleased that we are now going into implementation here together with the Darmstadt Regional Council and I am curious to see what results we can draw from this.”

Background

Some argue that S-pedelecs are only able to reach a top speed of 45 km/h for a short time under maximum effort, so associate them as having a similar average speed to racing bikes. At the same time, the speed pedelec is seen as a great replacement for the car, especially for longer everyday journeys.

However under the context of road safety, the suitability of speed pedelecs on cycle paths has been questioned due to the large speed difference between S-pedelec users and slow cyclists. Due to their capability to reach high travel speeds of up to 45km/h with assistance, federal legislators usually categorise them as being similar to motorcycles, making it illegal for them to be generally used in cycling paths.

The Hessian ministry and Darmstadt regional council have reserved the right to end the traffic trial earlier within the year, in case of any road safety issues.

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