E-Bikes Boost Bicycle Ridership
Norway's Institute of Transport Economics has conducted what is believed to be the first study on how people actually use electric-assist bicycles. According to Phys.org, "the electric bike is responsible for dramatic changes in people's transport patterns."
"People travel twice as much on the electric bike, both in terms of kilometres, amount of trips, and as part of the total transportation, says researcher Aslak Fyhri at the Institute of Transport Economics."
How much more?
"Their daily trips increased from an average of 0.9 to 1.4 trips. The average length of the trips was doubled from 4.8 to 10.3 kilometres." Prior to being given the e-bikes, the study group made 28% of their trips by conventional bicycle. Reports Fyhr:
"After they started using an electric bike nearly half of their transportation was done by bike. Even though the participants cycled more than the average Norwegian in the first place, this is a major increase."
Price was also a consideration. One-in-three women indicted they would be willing to pay more -- up to 1,500 Kr ($193US) -- for an electric bicycle, while only one-in-four men said they would buy on. the key reason seemis to be the perception that using an electric bicycle is 'cheating': you don't get the same level of exercise, which a recent study by the University of Nebraska Omaha suggests is a misconception.
Electric bicycles can cost as much as a good quality bike, which has lead to the development of several All-In-One motors, the BIKE+ by ZeHus on our prototype K15 being just one of them: Copenhagen Wheel and FlyKly being others.
Now there's another new entrant, the Centinel Wheel, pictured above, from South Korea. Its motor, battery and controller are mounted inside the wheel and controlled by a Bluetooth App. The company is seeking to raise funds on Kickstarter, but at the moment is far from achieving their goal.
Beyond the question of cost is rider concern for their own safety. If there isn't safe cycling infrastructure available, only risk-takers are likely to regularly ride either type of bicycle, the study confirmed.
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