The US Department of Transportation (DOT) recently announced a major effort to increase electric-powered tricyclists’ visibility in cities around the country.
The new electric-assisted bicycle programs, which include a new “solar assisted tricycle” and “sunny tricycle,” are designed to increase the visibility of electric-driven tricycling by reducing the amount of space between the rider and the vehicle’s motor, which makes it easier to detect obstacles, said Kevin Trenberth, executive director of the National Sustainable Transportation Alliance (NSTA), a group representing electric-vehicle companies.
“It’s a step forward to a system that’s a little more transparent,” Trenberg said.
While the goal is to get the tricycle visible to people who don’t already ride on a public sidewalk, “it’s important to remember that it will be a little bit harder to get a tricycle off a sidewalk than a bicycle,” he said.
Trenberoth noted that, while the tricycler has to be attached to a trailer, it can also be towed and can travel on roadsides and on streets without being locked up.
This type of electric assisted tricycle, which is powered by a battery, can be fitted with a trailer or towed.
Electric-assisted tricycled bicycles are expected to be available in 2018, although it’s unclear if they will be made available for the public.
Trenberg noted that electric assisted bicycles can also serve as a useful tool for improving the safety of public transit systems, as well as other public-transit systems.
NSTF is working to develop a list of recommendations to improve the safety and visibility of electrified tricycycles in cities.
A recent study in the Journal of the American College of Pediatricians found that electric-assist tricycines are safer than conventional tricycycles, but that electric assist trycles are still less visible and less maneuverable than traditional tricycyclists.
In 2017, the National Bicycle Advisory Committee, a nonprofit advocacy group, recommended that electric tricyllas be made a priority for the federal government.
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