The study asked e-bike users in the greater Sacramento area about the reasons why they chose to invest in an e-bike, the ways in which they use their e-bikes, positive and negative aspects of using e-bikes, and reactions from friends and family members.
In some parts of the world, electric bicycles (e-bikes) represent a significant share of daily travel, though
they are still rare in the United States. The small size and maneuverability of e-bikes that are assets in
cities in China may not be as important in the U.S., where cities are built to accommodate cars, but their
potential as a substitute for cars makes them an important part of the discussion around sustainable
transportation. In this study we conducted 27 interviews with e-bike users in the greater Sacramento
area in which we asked participants about the reasons why they chose to invest in an e-bike, the ways
in which they use their e-bikes, positive and negative aspects of using e-bikes, and reactions from friends
and family members. Several important themes emerged from the interviews. The functional character-
istics of e-bikes, particularly greater speed and acceleration than conventional bicycles with less exertion,
contribute to several positive aspects of their use, including enabling more people to bicycle, more trips
to be made by bicycle, and more fun for their users. The result, for these users, was an overall decrease in
driving, with some users getting rid of their car altogether. Negative aspects cited by users include secu-
rity concerns, safety concerns, unwieldiness, and range anxiety. Participants also discussed several mis-
perceptions on the part of non-users that could inhibit their adoption. These results provide insights for
the development of e-bike policy and guidance for future research.
Published December 28, 2013
This synthesis is intended to establish a baseline of the current state of knowledge and practice and to serve as a guide for trail managers and researchers.
This study offers direction for future studies on mountain bike riding, including: characteristics of mountain bike riders and their use patterns, identification of resource degradation problems, identification and resolution of conflict issues, wilderness trespass issues, partnership issues, communication issues, and testing of management strategies related to mountain bike use.
This guidebook can be used to assist in successfully planning, designing, and constructing mountain bike trail systems, while keeping in mind that user issues must be addressed at every stage of development.
This guidance has been created to help mountain bikers and land managers understand different perspectives on this issue, in the context of the Scottish access rights, and to suggest ways in which they can work together and try where possible to find solutions.