In an effort to cut road deaths, the Dutch government will be using a new digital system to automatically reduce electric bicycles’ power in residential or built-up areas of Amsterdam. The Guardian reports: The digital technology, which has been successfully trialled on a 4km stretch of bike lanes at Schiphol airport, was funded by the Dutch ministry of infrastructure and water management. The not-for-profit Townmaking Institute behind the concept is working with e-bike manufacturers and government authorities with the expectation that the speed-cutting technology and new regulations could be rolled out by 2022. Sixty-five people died last year while riding e-bikes, which have an integrated electric motor to propel the wheels, up from 57 in 2018. The vast majority were men over the age of 65. The standard e-bike reaches speeds of 12mph (20km/h), but faster models, such as speed pedelecs, can reach 28mph. Discussions over the use of the technology are most advanced with the municipality of Amsterdam, but the provinces of Gelderland and North Holland are also said to have shown an interest. The technology trialled at Schiphol offers policymakers a range of options. “Say the weather is really bad, there is a headwind of 40km and cyclists are at a standstill, then cutting off the power would be counterintuitive,” said [Indranil Bhattacharya, a technology strategist at the Townmaking Institute]. “We built it so you can detect the direction the bike is going, and a policymaker can say: ‘We change the regulation. We won’t cut your power off because the weather is bad.’ The intelligent infrastructure would then tell the bicycle not to cut off the power.â The infrastructure could also inform an e-bike of upcoming obstacles or junctions, by alerting cyclists with a gentle vibration of the handlebars.
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