Friday, April 08, 2016

E-bikes for the over 60s

As we wrote recently, we borrowed two e-bikes over the Easter weekend to take part in a course for whiteheads in Mannheim organised by the Police at the Jugendverkehrsschule (Road Safety Centre for Children). We spent the Easter weekend cycling with electrical assistance around the neighbourhood. On Tuesday afternoon nine e-bikers met and listened to a policeman who himself has no car and uses an e-bike for transport on:
  • legal aspects of e-bikes in Germany, 
    • e.g. maximum allowed speed, 
    • pedal assisted rather than electrically propelled
    • no need for a licence plate or insurance placard 
    • helmet not proscribed but very highly recommended
  • motor position
  • Most useful of all for us was the statement that if one hires an e-bike as one leaves the hire station one should securely mount the bottom on the saddle and both feet on the pedals before starting pedalling to keep control of the bike. It is difficult to keep control of the bike standing up with one foot on a pedal.
  • discussion on helmets and the Swedish head airbag system.
The police officers then checked the positioning of our helmets on our heads -
  • one finger between eyebrow and front of helmet
  • the down straps should be vertical
  • maximum two fingers space between chinstrap and neck. 
We went out to the test track where he cast an eye over the various bikes. The Road Safety Centre has a model road layout with roundabout and we were soon pedalling round the track weaving our way through slaloms, cycling tighter and tighter circles and braking to order. This went on for three quarters of an hour before we retired to the classroom again to drink a cup of coffee and do the written road safety test normally done by school children. We passed the test.
We then got on our bikes for a half hour ride round very quiet suburban roads with a policeman front and back.
We can recommend this type course highly especially if one has not cycled for some years. If your local or regional police do not offer this course then check out your local bike shop or the local cycling club to encourage them to organise this type of course.

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