High-speed cycle lanes for s-pedelecs being trialled in Germany

Trial aims to find out if s-pedelecs can be safely used on dedicated cycle lanes, as they’re currently legally only allowed on roads

Clock10:17, Wednesday 15th May 2024
S-pedelecs will be allowed on a cycle lane in Germany as a part of a new trial

© Getty Images

S-pedelecs will be allowed on a cycle lane in Germany as a part of a new trial

Germany’s Hesse state and Darmstadt Regional Council will open a cycle lane to speed pedelecs as part of a new trial to find out if they are safe to use on dedicated high-speed cycling routes.

The trial will take place on the Frankfurt-Darmstadt rapid cycle route from mid-May and be overseen by the Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences, who will record speeds and observe traffic safety, as well as interview cyclists on the ground. This will be used to determine if s-pedelecs could potentially be allowed on cycle lanes in the future, with the trial set to end in the spring of 2025.

“Conducting traffic trials is crucial to test all possible ways to achieve a faster turnaround in traffic,” Kaweh Mansoori, minister of transport, said in a press release.

“I am pleased that we are now starting to implement this together with the Darmstadt Regional Council and I am excited to see what results we can draw from it.”

Speed pedelecs, or s-pedelecs, provide pedal assistance like a regular e-bike, but their speed is capped at a much higher 45kph limit, as opposed to the 25kph limit adopted by regular pedelecs. Due to this, they are currently categorised as mopeds within German law, requiring registration and insurance to be used on German roads.

However, the Hesse government wants to test the viability of s-pedelecs as alternatives to motor vehicles, especially for longer journeys. There is also a safety element to the trial, as s-pedelec users have to use roads, even if there is a cycle path running alongside it.

Read more: E-bikes overtake regular bikes in sales in Germany

The trial comes at a time when Germany's e-bike market is blossoming, with the sale of e-bikes outstripping that of regular bikes in 2023. A total of 2.1 million e-bikes were sold in Germany in 2023, accounting for 53% of the market, compared to the 1.9 million regular bikes sold.

S-pedelecs only currently account for less than 1% of all bicycles sold in the country, according to the Hesse government.

Keep up to date with the latest cycling news on the GCN website.

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