Average traffic speeds in cities can be desperately slow – to the amusement of many a cyclist. The Touring Club of Switzerland (TCS) has recognised this and now uses e-bikes to provide roadside assistance.
Switzerland’s biggest cycling magazine and website Velojournal reported that the largest “mobility club” of Switzerland has introduced e-bikes with trailers to provide roadside assistance to their members whose vehicles have lost their “mobility”.
Having started this e-bike powered roadside assistance last year, Velojournal reports that the TCS had carried out more than 600 missions in their first year. The results have been so successful that the TCS is now going to expand the service to the cities of Basel and Lausanne.
The TCS reports that “the time taken per rescue is reduced dramatically in congested, urban traffic. Thanks to the modern equipment in the e-bike’s trailer a modern service is being offered to our members.” The equipment can cope with issues such as starting a car with a flat battery and other ignition related issues, as well as opening locked doors, and other typical problems.
Thanks to the pedalling patrols nine out of ten callouts are successfully dealt with by the cyclists and are able to get underway again.
The Austrian equivalent of the Swiss Touring Club has also introduced bike-based roadside assistance operatives in Vienna. It’s one more area where e-bikes with trailers or cargo bikes can replace motor vehicles in the urban context, being faster through traffic and far greener than the vans used here in the UK.
How long will it take till the roadside assistance companies in the UK get the message and introduce cycle patrols. In some ways, it is going back to their roots – as patrolmen (they were virtually always male in the early days) used to ride on motorbikes with sidecars: the motorcycles have just been replaced by e-bikes.