Why is the Podbike safer than a regular bike?
From time to time we receive questions about the safety of the Podbike.
We want to try to sum them up in this blog post.
How safe is the Podbike?
You must remember, Podbike is a four-wheeled bike – not a car.
Podbike is built to be safer than a regular bike, not as safe as a car (then it would be too heavy for cycling).
The Podbike adventure started when our founder Per was in a bad accident with his regular bike. After that, he got afraid of riding the regular bike. So, he thought: “There must be a safer way to bike”.
Podbike should be ridden on bike lanes. And you can use it wherever you normally would bike with a regular bike with a trailer hitch on.
When the thorough testing of the test bikes is completed. We will crash some of them to check how much they can handle.
For now, we will have to share some facts about how Podbike is built to explain why it is safer than a regular bike.
So… Why is Podbike safer than a regular bike?
A velomobile body is able to absorb, deflect and distribute the collision energy reducing or preventing damage to the occupant(s). This has both been observed by velomobile users (Eastwood 2004, Puchelt 2014) and verified by laboratory testing and simulations (Schmidt 1994, Wilson 1994, Gloger and John 1998). Also the more supine, or recumbent position of the rider in a velomobile, together with lower fall height are likely to reduce the damage an impact will have, especially the risk of head injuries is reduced compared to riding on a regular bicycle where a crash often lead to the cyclist hitting the ground head first.
Plastic composites and fibres has potential to absorb much energy in collisions (Bambach 2013). With sensible compromise between strength and energy absorbing of the external body it is possible to improve on the protection of the velomobile occupants. Today this has little or no focus. There is no traces of extra protection that can be seen on the commercial velomobile body in Picture 13 which has been cut in half for exhibition purposes. Accepting slightly wider body around the occupant(s) will enable room for crumble zones that can be used to absorb impact energy without gaining extra mass. Such zones also prevent intrusive objects from crushing bodies in the cabin. Also deflection and retaining the occupants in their seats help to reduce damages.
Better stability compared to a regular bike
Stability of the vehicle is paramount for safety. Singletrack vehicles need to be balanced, relying on predictable friction and zeroing sideway forces. Having three wheels improve stability but four wheels are even more stable at the same width. Riding in slippery conditions like snow and ice or in variable side wind caused by passing cars or gusts also benefits from the extra pair of wheels. A long wheelbase contributes to high-speed stability, while a low centre of gravity (COG) keeps cornering speed high and reduce the chance of tipping over.
But, what if the Podbike rolls over? Will I be stuck?
It is not likely that the Podbike will roll over due to its stability. But if it were to happen.
Workshop Manager Øyvind explains in this video what to do, if you for some reason can not open the door.
Yes, it is still possible to get out of the Podbike. And it is easy.
Why is there no seat belt in the Podbike?
We are still considering this. Our concern is that a seat belt will make people feel too safe.
And then they might make too bold choices when they are using the Podbike.