Available to buy in the UK. DryCycle is an eco-friendly 4 wheeled electrically assisted pedal cycle. With the look of a car, it keeps you dry and sheltered from all weathers, and allows you to ride in comfort and style on both roads and cycle paths. A great source of exercise and fun.
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IS IT SAFE?
Yes, like all Pedal Cycles (Bicycles, tricycles etc, electric assisted or not) that mention their safety our DryCycle has been tested to ensure it is safe. The tests include strength of brakes, framework, and various other endurance requirements.
Normally Bicycles are tested to EN4210 and Electric Assist Pedal Cycles are tested to EN15194. EN15194 is basically EN4210 with added bits to cover the electric requirements.
EN15194 and EN4210 both test Bicycles to ensure they are robustly made and made within certain design parameters, given the basic normal shape of a Bicycle.
We can’t test our product to EN15194 because our product is not a Bicycle (Two wheeled, with things like front forks, saddle to sit on and a diamond shaped frame), and no standard exists for a 4 wheeled EAPC such as ours. So we’ve had to design our own standard using EN15194 as the basis for this. We then had our vehicle tested to our EN15194 equivalent standard by an independent testing house (Bureau Veritas).
This involved completing cycles of up to 100,000 repetitions of endurance tests on various components to ensure they wouldn’t weaken/fall apart over time within parameters in line with the EN15194 standard. For safety and convenience we also use the very top of the range components from Shimano for our motors, batteries, derailleurs, and the Di2 electronic gear shifting.
So, yes, it is as safe as any other Bicycle, in as close a manner as it is possible to get in which bicycle safety is usually tested.
BUT IS IT SAFE IN A CRASH?
Normally on a web-site selling Bicycles there will be absolutely no mention of how safe a bicycle will be in a crash, as there is no question in the buyer’s mind that of course it isn’t very safe in a crash, because it’s a bicycle. With a bicycle there is no bodywork or framing between the rider and any vehicle that may hit it, or anything between the rider and the road should the rider fall off, and there is no legal requirement to crash test bicycles or any other type of pedal cycle, such as the DryCycle.
There is also no requirement to crash test vehicles which are several rungs higher up the automotive tree, such as mopeds, motorbikes/trikes, light or heavy motorised quadricycles (such as the Renault Twizy or Aixams), which is why EuroNCAP took it upon themselves to test various Heavy Quadricycles in 2014 and then again in 2016, and you can view those videos here https://www.euroncap.com/en/ratings-rewards/quadricycle-ratings/.
Since our vehicle is a Pedal Cycle we do not need to crash test it, but since safety is the number one reason why people don’t cycle more we designed our DryCycle with crash testing in mind and on 23/08/19 Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire crash tested two of our DryCycles.
You can see the video below.
RESULTS OF CRASH TESTS
A critical part of crash testing is evaluating the risk of Head Injury.
Head Injury Criteria (HIC) is a calculation used by all major crash testing organisations.
A HIC₁₅ number of 700 is the pass/fail threshold in car crash tests conducted by EuroNCAP, NHTSA, and IIHS for the parts of those tests which relate to Head Injuries.
Numbers below 700 pass the element of the crash test concerned with Head Injuries, numbers above 700 fail.
A score of 700, is estimated to represent a 5% risk of a severe injury, which is an injury of 4+ on the Abbreviated Injury Scale (Mertz et al., 1997) (Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine, 1990)
Our crash tests showed the following:
The HIC₁₅ number for the DryCycle in the Frontal Full Width impact at 15.5mph was only 29.59
The HIC₁₅ number for the DryCycle in the Side Impact at 20mph was only 124.86
It's clear that both these results for DryCycle fall far below the 700 threshold, so the risk of severe head injury in the accident scenarios we tested is extremely low.
Of course the majority of cars pass the Head Injury Criteria as well, and do so at higher impact speeds (40 & 30mph), but the numbers those cars score out of 700 are not reported, so it is hard to offer a comparison to individual cars on this criteria.^
We can however compare this to bicycles:
The HIC number for a crash test dummy wearing a Cycling Helmet on a Bicycle in a Front Impact at 12mph was 707 *ꭞ
The HIC₁₅ number for a crash test dummy on a Bicycle in a Side Impact at 25mph was 753 *
*The speeds of these impacts are different to ours, as no standards for crash testing bicycles exists, but they are at least close in speed to our own, their side impact is 5mph faster than ours, whereas their front impact is 3.5mph slower.
ꭞThis is a HIC number and not a HIC₁₅ number, as it is from an older test. At the time HIC numbers were used the pass/fail threshold was set at 1000, rather than 700, as HIC numbers are typically higher than HIC₁₅ numbers.
The HIC₁₅ and HIC numbers for the bicycle crash tests are from the following two reports:
^ There are other differences between car crash tests and our own. We’ll use EuroNCAP to illustrate this as we are UK based. EuroNCAP crash tests differ from ours most notably due to:
The DryCycle crash speeds (at 15.5mph and 20mph) are below that of the EuroNCAP crash speeds (at 31mph (50kph) each).
The Frontal Full Width Impact in EuroNCAP is into a solid concrete block rather than the side of a car.
The Side Impact is done using a deformable barrier mounted to a ‘sled’ impactor. We used an actual car as deformable barriers cost more.
WHY A 4 POINT HARNESS?
Two large safety improvements that have been made to vehicles fairly recently have been airbags for steering wheels and pre-tensioners for seatbelts.
Pre-tensioners work by taking the slack out of the spool on a normal inertia reel seatbelt. A properly adjusted 4 point harness will have little or no slack in it, so doesn’t need a seat belt pre-tensioner, which saves cost and complexity with an increase in safety over a normal 3 point belt. Multi-point harnesses (4 points or above) are required in racing, as they are recognised by racing bodies as being more effective than 3 point inertia reel seatbelts in crashes, otherwise they’d swap out their racing harnesses for 3 point inertia belts, so that the racing drivers could more easily reach the cup holders 😊.
Airbags in cars help lessen the blow of the drivers face coming into contact with the steering wheel during a crash of course, but airbags are complicated and costly. We chose not to have a steering wheel, and by using a 4 point harness we restrain forward movement in a crash as well. Modern cars also have technology which retracts the steering wheel column so that it doesn’t push the steering wheel up to meet the face of the driver in the event of a frontal collision, like it does with the heavy quadricycles being tested in this video. The reason why the DryCycle has side sticks instead of a steering wheel is specifically to avoid the problem of having a steering colomn push a steering wheel into the riders face in the event of a frontal collision.
SAFETY BY DESIGN
Every aspect of the DryCycle has been designed with safety in mind.
> Elastometric Nitrile Closed Cell Rubber attached to key sections of framework to cushion the force of any impact.
This rubber is similar to the material behind car bumpers and interior panels that are designed to help protect pedestrian and occupant safety requirements in cars. At the front of the vehicle this rubber is placed both on the inside and outside of the metal framework so that it helps protect both the rider and any pedestrians that may be involved in a collision at the front of the vehicle. We also place this rubber around the aluminium framework at the sides of the vehicle to the sides of the rider to help cushion any blow on the rider from a sideways impact, this is hidden behind the plastic panels, which were also chosen for their safety in a crash as well as their soft touch for luxury. The padding of the seat which is behind the rider offers padded protection from rearward impacts.
> Robust box section aluminium chassis and roll cage made from tube aluminium to fully wrap around the rider with a strong metal box.
The DryCycle has a robust box section aluminium chassis and a roll cage made from tube aluminium to fully wrap around the rider with a strong metal box. This is designed with several triangular and angular sections within it to help maximise its strength in the event of an accident. We've included crush cans front and rear to provide an initial crush zone to help reduce the energy of any impact that is transmitted to the rider in an impact. Of course nothing we do will ever allow our circa. 120kg vehicle to fully compete with a circa. 1500kg car in an accident, especially if the car is driven into you at high speed or crushes the DryCycle against another substantial object, but the same is true of cars versus trucks or other larger vehicles of course.
This is the DryCycle's framework, it's made out of 6082T and 6063T grade aluminium. Both of these are high grades of aluminium more commonly found in aircraft and up to 3 times more rigid than common lower grades. This photo also shows the front and rear bumpers with crush cans, which are drilled, weakened sections designed to crush in accidents to absorb energy.
We like to think we’re realistic in what we think DryCycles can achieve, we don’t think they’re going to take over the world and become the main means of transport, but we do think that they can and should be a part of the transportation mix for health conscious buyers. This is our main reason for designing the DryCycle; to improve the riders health throughout the year with regular exercise, not just seasonal exercise in the summer as a bicycle is more typically used for, and we think there is no better motivation to exercise than having to do so in order to arrive at your chosen destinations. There is something elemental in this that appeals to the primeval part of our brains, and actually makes exercising by travelling fun.
Our focus throughout the design period was on making the DryCycle as comfortable, user friendly, delightful, and fun as possible whilst providing a vehicle that needs the rider to exercise in order to move, and keeps them dry and safe. We hope you'll enjoy it as much as we do!
‘…why move a heavy weight if we are not going to hit [destroy] anything with it? In transportation why put extra weight in a machine? Why not add it to the load that the machine is designed to carry? Fat men cannot run as fast as thin men but we build most of our vehicles as though dead−weight fat increased speed! A deal of poverty grows out of the carriage of excess weight. Some day we shall discover how further to eliminate weight.'
~ Henry Ford, My Life and Work
Henry Ford's first vehicle was his quadricycle, which was quite small, but heavy in comparison to the DryCycle, due to the technology of the day.
Of course there are plenty of other benefits in building a small lightweight enclosed vehicle, in terms of reducing the energy used to produce it and the energy needed to move it, so the Drycycle is also a very environmentally sound choice of transport as well. With DryCycle you can have your cake and eat it, then cycle away to burn it off, saving both you and the planet!