'Silent' bike clips cyclist

A Zerotracer motorcycle has collided with a cyclist in Canada.
A Zerotracer motorcycle has collided with a cyclist in Canada. Drive

AN electric motorcycle taking part in an around-the-world race for zero-emission vehicles has collided with a cyclist in Canada.

The two-wheeled Zerotracer motorcycle, entered in the 80-day Zero Race for vehicles using renewable energy sources, hit the 50-year-old cyclist on Friday after he allegedly rode off the footpath and into the Zerotracer’s path.

Canadian media reports say the cyclist was taken to hospital in a serious condition after the collision.

A report on the Swiss-based Zerotracer website suggests that the Kevlar-clad electric motorcycle was sgnificantly damaged, and would potentially withdraw from the race.

"If and when the Zerotracer will continue its journey is not determined at this point of time," a posting on the team’s website says.

Vancouver police are investigating the crash, but it appears the cyclist may not have heard the almost-silent, bright red electric motorbike approaching before venturing out onto the road.

Car makers are only just beginning to come to terms with what is known as ‘‘silent creep’’, or the ability of electric vehicles to move almost silently at low speeds.

Toyota has already developed a sound for its plug-in Prius petrol-electric hybrid car that is activated at low speeds, called the Approaching Vehicle Audible System, while other car makers including General Motors and Lotus are working on similar projects aimed at alerting pedestrians.

Meanwhile, Australia’s entry in the race appears to be doing well, claiming victory in the first leg of the event after restrictions placed on motorcycles on Chinese freeways forced the two-wheeled entries to use slower routes.

The University of South Australia-built Two-seater Renewable Energy Vehicle, also known as Trev, has so far travelled 16,000 kilometres from Geneva to Shanghai. The team is estimating that the energy used to power the three-wheeled Trev’s 30,000-kilometre trip around the world will cost about $400.

The race ends in Geneva in January after touring through the US and South America

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