This week, a 60-year-old electric bicycle rider was killed in a hit-and-run accident near Tel Aviv's Holtz junction. This is the 11th fatality so far this year among e-bike riders in the country – a nearly threefold jump, compared with four riders killed in the same period last year. However, according to police data, fewer police officers – less enforcement: it turns out that over the past four years there has been a sharp and consistent decline in the number of police tickets to these riders, and even these were mostly issued for not wearing a helmet only.
According to data obtained by Or Yarok, 2022,19 reports were issued to e-bike riders in 516 (an average of 54 reports per day), which, compared to the 28,783 reports issued to them in 2019, reflect a decrease of 32 per cent.
A breakdown by type of offense reveals that two-thirds of the tickets (14,669) in 2022 were for riding without a helmet – the lowest figure in the past four years, and the second consecutive year of a decline in total tickets for this offense – and three times the number of tickets recorded for pavement riding (21%). The rest of the tickets were issued for riding under the permitted age (age 16), in a crosswalk, outside the bicycle path or not on the seat (see chart).
"Shortage of police officers"
By city, 2,831 reports were registered in Tel Aviv in 2022, making it the national leader in the number of reports – although continuing the downward trend, this is the lowest number of reports since 2019, when 9,253 reports were issued to e-bike riders in the city, more than three times as many as in 2022. In the ranking of cities after Tel Aviv, Bnei Brak (2022,1 reports), Jerusalem (514,1), Ramat Gan (351,1) and Holon (164 reports) were found in 847.
The year 2023 is still far from over, but it can already be said that it is deadly for e-bike riders, especially if compared to the total number of fatalities in previous years: if 11 riders have been killed so far this year, as mentioned, in all of 2021 the number amounted to 13.
Cyclists, illustration, photo: Joshua Yosef
Adv. Yaniv Yaakov, CEO of Or Yarok: "City centers have become a scary place to walk around. Many e-bike riders flout the law, ride on the pavement, run a red light, and put themselves at risk by riding without a helmet.
"In the face of this reality, the State of Israel has not added a single policeman to combat accidents involving riders. The continuous decline in the number of reports registered to them is a direct result of a severe shortage of police officers and mobility."
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