The two-wheeled problem in Israel

Will a solution be found?

Two-wheeled vehicles were the answer to the city’s traffic jams for many years. Leading to the hundreds of kilometers of bicycle paths that have been paved in Israel in the last decade. But in recent years, electric vehicles have changed the game’s rules and become a life-threatening problem – for the riders and pedestrians who encounter them on the road.

Talking on the phone while riding an electric bike

In cities like Tel Aviv, accidents involving two-wheeled vehicles (mostly electric bicycles and electric scooters) are a daily matter. In 2021, 89 riders on electric two-wheeled vehicles were killed – a 150% rise.

The steep rise in casualties is a direct result of the ‘wild west’ atmosphere, which characterizes the use of electric vehicles. Too many riders behave as if the roads are empty. They disregard traffic lights, drive on sidewalks, speed, and cutoff pedestrians- it’s not uncommon to see a Walt courier speeding down the road at 45 kph while engrossed in his cell phone screen.

This last point is worth dwelling on because, in the case of a two-wheeled vehicle, the price of mobile distraction can be exceptionally high and painful (not to mention deadly). Half a second of distraction is enough to lose control of a two-wheeled vehicle and crash (or run over a child just crossing the street). The consequences for two-wheeled riders, directly or indirectly, are painful and can be avoided.

1500 NIS fine for prohibited use of cellular phone while driving

Several years ago, the legislature defined laws and regulations concerning non-motorized and electric two-wheelers. Wearing a helmet and obeying traffic laws are the main ones. But recent data showed that the legislation in its current form is insufficient. As a result, the Ministry of Transportation formulated new regulations concerning electric vehicles, including banning riding for miners under the age of 16, a ban on making modifications to the vehicle, and the obligation to ride only if the vehicle is in good condition.

It was also decided to increase the fine for prohibited phone use while driving to 1500 NIS (legislation that applies to drivers of ‘regular’ vehicles and two-wheeled riders alike). Alongside a recommendation for increased enforcement against riders who break the law.

Whether these measures change the trend is still too early to determine. Hopefully, it’s a step in the right direction to restore the two-wheeled vehicle its title, as safe for riders and pedestrians everywhere.

A positive sign from technology

One of the prominent trends in road safety is the understanding that education and deterrence alone will not succeed in eradicating life-threatening phenomena that are the product of human behavior and that the solution to this lies in the implementation of supporting technology. Based on this philosophy, SaverOne was established.

At SaverOne, we have developed a system that harnesses the smartphone’s technology to fight the distractions caused by using apps on the smartphone itself.

SaverOne’s technology is installed on the driver’s mobile phone at the beginning of the trip. It disables the use of life-threatening applications defined by the driver in advance – preventing distractions before they arise.

This system is not intended for installation in two-wheeled vehicles yet. Still, there is no doubt that broader adoption of the SaverOne system will make the roads much safer, even for riders of two-wheeled vehicles. We must stop this distraction caused by the dangerous use of mobile devices while driving, and today, with the SaverOne solution, we can.