filed under: e-bikes and emerging technologies
Reviewing a Decade of Research
Several themes emerged from this review of the e-bike literature. E-bike use has grown dramatically over the past decade and there is little evidence to suggest this growth will slow in the coming decade.
Elliot Fishman & Christopher Cherry
Electric bicycles (e-bikes) represent one of the fastest growing segments of the transport market. Over 31 million e-bikes were sold in 2012. Research has followed this growth and this paper provides a synthesis of the most pertinent themes emerging over the past on the burgeoning topic of e-bikes. The focus is transport rather than recreational e-bike research, as well as the most critical research gaps requiring attention. China leads the world in e-bike sales, followed by the Netherlands and Germany. E-bikes can maintain speed with less effort. E-bikes are found to increase bicycle usage. E-bikes have the potential to displace conventional motorized (internal combustion) modes, but there are open questions about their role in displacing traditional bicycles.E-bikes have been shown to provide health benefits and an order of magnitude less carbon dioxide than a car traveling the same distance. Safety issues have emerged as a policy issue in several jurisdictions and e-bike numbers are now approaching levels in which adequate safety data are able to be collected. Research on e-bikes is still in its infancy. As e-bike usage continues to grow, so too will the need for further research, in order to provide the necessary data to inform policy-makers and industry.
Published July 20, 2015
This study aimed to compare conventional mountain bike and eMTB use. This was done by investigating 2 questions: (1) What proportion of exercise response is retained for an experienced mountain biker while using an eMTB when compared with a conventional mountain bike? and (2) What are the perceptions and beliefs of experienced mountain bikers toward eMTBs both before and after riding an eMTB?
On average, the majority of survey respondents disapprove of e-bikes being allowed on the trail. This remains true across the board for each of the major user groups; however, mountain bike rider respondents are less likely to disapprove of allowing e-bikes on non-motorized trails and equestrian respondents are more likely to disapprove.
In order to better guide research into the range of potential social and environmental impacts and benefits related to the use of eMTBs on natural surface trails, IMBA and the BPSA are interested in what questions land managers have regarding this new use. The survey explicitly targeted land managers’ experiences and concerns regarding eMTB use on natural surface and/or singletrack trails – not paths or bikeways – although some land managers are responsible for both types of trail infrastructure.
The emergence of electric bicycles, commonly known as e-bikes, is a rapidly growing component of the bicycle market in the US. As a transportation option, they represent an opportunity to reduce vehicle use and emissions, as well as the physical barriers to cycling. For use on trails, they present similar opportunities to reduce barriers to cycling but, as a new use, present new challenges for trail management.