Unsafe riding practice among electric bikers in Suzhou, China: an observational study

Jie Yang, Yihe Hu, Wei Du, Brent Powis, Joan Ozanne-Smith, Yilan Liao, Ning Li, Ming Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Electric bike (E-bike)-related deaths have been increasing rapidly in China and such injuries may be partly attributable to unsafe riding practice. Objectives: To describe potentially unsafe riding behaviours among electric bikers (E-bikers) and to investigate factors influencing these practices in China. Methods: In September 2012, a cross-sectional observation study including a speed measurement component was conducted in Wuzhong (an urban district) and Zhangjiagang (a rural district) of Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, China. Hand-held radar speed metres were used to read travelling speeds of E-bikes and a pro forma observation checklist was used to collect data on road riding practice. Mixed-effect logistic regressions were used to calculate adjusted ORs and 95 CIs for the association between speeding, road rule violations and helmet use and their influencing factors. Results: Among 800 E-bikes with a speed reading, 70.9 exceeded the designed speed limit of 20 km/h. Among a further 20 647 E-bikers observed, 38.3 did not comply with the road rules when entering intersections; and only 2.2 wore helmets. No regional variation was identified between urban and rural areas. Male E-bikers were associated with more speeding and road rule violations, whereas riding a pedal-equipped E-bike was associated with less road rule violations and less helmet use. Conclusions: Unsafe riding practices such as speeding, road rule violations and lack of helmet use were commonplace among E-bikers, especially among men. The study findings indicate that measures aimed at improving E-bike safety are required in China.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere003902
Pages (from-to)1 - 8
Number of pages8
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Cite this