Electric cars 'three times more likely to hit pedestrians' than petrol vehicles

A study has revealed that electric and hybrid vehicles pose a greater risk to pedestrians compared to their petrol counterparts due to their quieter operation. Researchers have found that these vehicles are particularly difficult to hear in urban settings.

The analysis, which examined 32 billion miles of travel by battery-powered cars against 3 trillion miles by petrol and diesel vehicles, indicated that electric and hybrid cars had twice the likelihood of being involved in pedestrian collisions on a mile-for-mile basis, reports Birmingham Live.

In cities, the risk was three times higher. "Electric cars are a hazard to pedestrians because they are less likely to be heard than petrol or diesel cars," explained Phil Edwards, the study's lead author and a professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

He stressed the need for government action to address these dangers as the UK moves towards banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars. Edwards also advised: "If you're moving to an electric car, remember it's a new kind of vehicle. They are much quieter than the old-fashioned cars, and pedestrians have learned to navigate roads by listening for traffic."

"Drivers of these vehicles need to be extra cautious. "If government made sure these systems were installed in all electric vehicles and retrofitted them to older electric cars, that would be a good start."

Nicola Christie, professor in transport safety at UCL, warned: "When these cues are missing this could be very problematic for people in busy urban areas."

"The problem could be exacerbated for people with poor visual acuity or for children who find it hard to judge the speed and distance of vehicles," she explained.

Edwards added: "If the government is planning to promote a transition to electric cars, then that will bring some risk to pedestrians unless we take care of this."

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