First death or serious injury on a YikeBike
Thankfully, this has not happened yet but it is, of course, inevitable that it will happen since we make a product that is used on the road. We thought it is easier to first talk about it before it happens than after any actual first incident.
The reason it is inevitable is that any company that makes road vehicles will have people die or suffer from serious injuries. Every car and bike company has customers who are injured or die while using their product - the more people using your device the more likely it is. This does not mean that the product is inherently unsafe but it is designed to be used in an environment that has risks people are prepared to accept (as every cyclist and motorist accepts the risk every day). When a product is new and there is a problem, the natural reaction is to blame the product rather than compare it to other similar products.
Clearly we would prefer it if there was never an accident on a YikeBike and we have gone to extreme lengths to make our product safer than other products on the market. Here are a list of reasons why we think the YikeBike is safer than a normal bike (which is probably the best comparison)
- Better visibility in traffic - the YikeBike's lights are on all the time, are visible from every angle and the rider is in a more upright position, meaning it is easier to see and be seen in traffic
- Anti-skid brakes - not only is the braking better because you can't skid but there are no brake pads and cables that require maintenance or get wet, greasy or jammed
- Speed limited - speed is another key factor in serious bicycle accidents and the YikeBike is limited, by design, to go less than 25km/h
- Built-in indicators – there is no need to take hands off handle bars and people from all angles can see you indicating
- Better acceleration - it is not until you ride a YikeBike that you realise how much safer it feels having strong acceleration. If something is coming towards you it is easy to turn the power on and get out of the way
- Built-in brake lights - others on the road know when you are stopping
- No handle-bars to get in the way in the event of a fast stop (more details see this blog post)
- Built-in lights - no risk of having your lights or batteries fail at night time (they use the same battery as the motor)
- Safer for other road users - because the YikeBike is speed limited and weighs less than 15 kg it is much less of a danger to other road users in a collision
- It has a distinctive noise - pedestrians and other cyclist can hear you coming (but it’s much quieter than a motor bike)
In addition to these things YikeBike has used best practice engineering tools to test the design of parts and perform Failure Mode Analysis to identify and reduce risks. For a brand new type of product there will also be failure modes that we have not thought of - that is the unknowable nature of new things - easy to see with hindsight but hard to know at the time.
User safety has been in the forefront of everything we have done during the development, manufacturing and distribution of YikeBikes but, regrettably, it is the nature of the field we are in that someone will be injured or die whilst using a YikeBike. This commentary will be of little comfort, I’m sure, to someone who has been injured or has lost a loved one but we hope it goes some way to allay concerns and convey our ethos. If companies and consumers did not try to do innovative things there would be nothing new to make life easier, better for the environment and more fun.....