Every single year, road accidents claim hundreds of victims in Israel, and this year the numbers have been higher than ever. Contributing to the rise in the number of incidents has been a new type of vehicle that is still growing in popularity – the electric bicycle.
According to data obtained from the National Authority for Road Safety, 62% of under-18s who ride electric bicycles were involved in an “almost-accident” in the past year, a year during which 21 electric cyclists were killed on the roads, along with 2 riders of electric scooters. Three pedestrians have been killed by either electric bicycles or scooters in 2021, and 356 people have been injured.
In an attempt to address the problem, MK Yaakov Asher (United Torah Judaism) has submitted new legislation demanding that electric bicycles and scooters be licensed in a similar way to other road vehicles, Kikar Hashabbat reports. His bill is due to be discussed in the ministerial committee for legislation following a discussion with the various relevant government ministries.
The legislation, if passed, will apply to all electrically-powered vehicles, and in order to minimize the necessary bureaucracy, licenses will be issued in the name of the rider rather than to the vehicle itself, so that even if a person buys a new bike or scooter, he will not have to obtain a new license.
MK Asher’s bill was spurred by the recent death of Rabbi Avraham Aryeh Aderet, one of the rabbis at the Netivot Olam yeshiva in Bnei Brak, who was killed by a person riding an electric scooter.
“This is a countrywide scourge,” said MK Asher. “Every single week we hear of new incidents with these electrically powered vehicles, but there’s no enforcement and people who are injured don’t even get any compensation for their damages.”
“Rabbi Aderet was a wonderful man, a warm-hearted Jew,” he added. “He worked a lot with baalei teshuvah (newly religious Jews - ed.). He was one of Bnei Brak’s most precious Jews and it’s simply tragic that his life was cut short in this way.”