Cycling with epilepsy

For people who suffer from epileptic seizures, it can be dangerous to participate in traffic. For Ilona, who has balance problems and epilepsy, we have made a special tricycle with a panic braking system at Van Raam. With this bike she can, despite her epileptic seizures, safely get on the road and participate in traffic.


Epilepsy – a seizure comes out of the blue

Approximately 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy, making it one of the most common neurological diseases globally. Epilepsy is a brain disorder that manifests itself in the form of seizures. An epileptic seizure is caused by a sudden burst of intense electrical activity in the brain. It is usually not clear why someone with epilepsy gets a seizure at a certain moment. The seizure comes out of nowhere. Epileptic seizures can also look very different (source: www.epilepsy.org.uk).

Epilepsy and participating in traffic

An epileptic seizure while driving can have serious consequences and therefore the law in most countries includes rules on driving a car, truck or bus, for example, if you suffer from epileptic seizures.

In most countries there are no legal regulations for cycling with epilepsy, but if you suffer from seizures, cycling can be dangerous for you or for other road users. Cycling is very important for many people: it makes you mobile and gives you the feeling of independence. Whether it is safe for someone with epilepsy to cycle, varies per person and depends on the type of seizures. The most risky is cycling along the water, because during a seizure you can end up in the water and drown.

Bike with special adaptation because of epileptic seizures

Ilona Lodeweges suffers from balance problems and epileptic seizures but still wants to cycle. That is why she went to Van Raam in Varsseveld with her family for an appointment. At Van Raam we have different types of tricycles that are very suitable for children and adults with balance problems.

Special Easy Rider tricycle with panic brake
The SolidWorks drawing of the special adaptation

This was the challenge for us: can we provide the bicycle with a kind of brake that will be activated when the user gets an epileptic seizure?

The intention was that as soon as the brake will be activated, it will stop in a few seconds. Ilona does not feel beforehand when such a seizure comes up and thus does not have the ability to consciously slow down. During the fitting/appointment we looked what exactly happens when she is sitting on the Easy Rider tricycle and what her body does when she gets an epileptic seizure. It turned out that her hands slide down from the steering wheel. As a result, this movement is taken as a starting point for developing and making the panic / emergency brake.

At Van Raam's R & D department, the special adjustment has been drawn in a 3D drawing program as shown in the image.
 
During the development and production of the special Easy Rider tricycle with panic brakes, we kept contact with the family as much as possible to achieve the best possible result. The family also visited us several times to check whether the mechanism matched the wishes.

The end result: 3 wheel bike with panic brake

We have made a mechanical brake at Van Raam that will be activated by a loop around her wrist. As soon as her hand slides off the grab handle, a cable is tensioned and activates a metal spring that activates the brakes on both rear wheels. All this with a slower so that the brake slows down in a fluid motion in the first two seconds and (within a few seconds) brings the bike to a halt in a smooth movement.

Safe cycling with epilepsy
Ilona is happy with her custom made Easy Rider tricycle

Ilona wanted a tricycle that looked as "normal" as possible, so we tried to assemble everything as unobtrusively as possible. In addition to the special panic brake, Ilona's red Easy Rider tricycle is equipped with:

  • 8-Speed freewheel hydraulic disc brakes

  • Silent electric engine HT (electrical pedal support)

  • Extra big battery (24 Ah instead of 11 Ah)

  • Lightning over electro system

  • Hip belt

  • Armrests

  • SmartGuard tyres

  • 2 rear lights

Ilona has let us know that she is very grateful and happy with the special Easy Rider tricycle with panic brakes.

Tricycle for adults (Easy Rider)

Tricycle Easy Rider

The tricycle of Ilona is an Easy Rider tricycle with special adjustments.

View all information about the Easy Rider tricycle on the Easy Rider product page.

Check out the Easy Rider
Visiting the Van Raam showroom

Trying out a tricycle

Are you also looking for a tricycle and do you want to make a test ride on one or more models without any obligation? Or interested in a bike with special adaptations? Make an appointment (free!) with one of our consultants in our showroom in Varsseveld, the Netherlands.

Request free test ride