Stint cargo bikes not safe to transport kids, researcher says

One version of a Stint cargo vehicle made to carry multiple children. 12 April 2018.. (Tulp8 / Wikimedia Commons)

Stint electric cargo bikes, like the one involved in a fatal railway accident in which four children were killed in Oss last week, contain structural design flaws and are therefore not safe to transport children, independent researcher Peter Coppes from Helmond concluded after studying a Stint. His advice is to stop using this vehicle completely for the time being, Het Parool reports.

Coppes said that he was "shocked" by the defects he found in the electric bike. "It is illogical and unnatural that in order to be able to brake quickly, you have to release the right handle, which is also the throttle. In stressful situations the natural reflex is to hold the handlebar with both hands", he said. There is a brake on the left handle, but it is not strong enough to stop the machine quickly.

It also worries Coppes that the driver stands at the back of the vehicle. "You can still see this in boats, traditionally because the rudder is at the back. But with modern transport means pilots or drivers are all in the front."

The researcher raised concerns about the box in which the children sit on a Stint. "It's just a plastic bathtub, equipped without a cage or roll bar, which is also attached with two central bolts. I'm worried about the fact that such a container could vibrate loose", he said. On the Stint he examined, he could loosen these bolts by hand.

Coppes also looked into electromagnetic radiation released at railway crossings as trains pass. According to him, he measured values that could cause problems in Stints. Cars are equipped with steel plates to protect them against this type of radiation, but Stints are not. 

Stints manufacturer Stintum told Het Parool that the design of the vehicle was fully adapted to the wishes of childcare institutions and parents. "The vehicle was extensively checked and then allowed in traffic", director Edwin Renzen said to the newspaper. "There were comments but the Minister looked at them and still allowed the Stints. This man has, while the accident happened only on Thursday, already done a full investigation and drawn conclusions. We have full confidence in the investigation of the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate. Seven of our vehicles are currently there for extensive inspections."