Further with an E-bikefrom Fietsberaad CROW
With North America waking up to the development of e-bikes, the bike industry and our Nanaimo city planners should take note of what European countries have already learned after 10 years of e-bike sales. Here is some data out an official study in the Netherlands. Remember that the bike-crazy country of the Netherlands is the size of Vancouver Island with a population of 17 million. Services, shops and most other needs are close at hand. Work can be one of the main reasons people travel further than the average 7.5 kilometers.
Current Dutch statistics are limited as they do not distinguish between e-bikes and ordinary bicycles. However by correlating between different sources of information a clear picture has emerged. For example, on the basis of the data collected by the bicycle computers on e-bikes, we have a good indication of the distances and at what speed e-bikers travel. Added with market and other information, the image of the e-cyclist has become clearer.
What the findings show
Cyclists travel considerably further with an electric bike. It is especially noticeable in commuting and with 'former' car drivers. In the Netherlands e-bike owners ride on average 31 kilometers per week, whereas people on regular bicycles do an average of 18 kilometers per week. The difference is about a factor of 1.7 and one could automatically conclude that the people who bought an e-bike increase their cycling by 70 percent. That would be an incorrect assumption It seems more likely that the purchasers of an e-bike are already bike minded folks and just make more use than the average owner of the regular bike. And one can conclude that they made the transition to the e-bike to compensate for physical limitations.
All e-bikers put together in the Netherlands cycle 1.3 billion km per year. That is ten percent of the total number of bicycle kilometers cycled per year.
What does age got to do with it
Among the young (under 46 years), the share of the e-bike on the overall transport sector is almost negligible. Only 2 percent of the bike kilometers is e-cycling kilometers. That is very different for the older age groups. In the age group over 60 years, a quarter of all cycling kilometers are made on an e-bike. The same applies to middle-aged women. Impressive figures when taken into consideration that this market share was achieved in just five years.
To improve the accessibility, facts about the use of the e-bike for commuting becomes interesting. Only a small part of the Dutch commuters (about 5 percent) have an e-bike. From the limited data available through research it can be deduced that the average commuting distance of e-cyclists is approximately twice as long as that of the ordinary cyclists.
It also notes that regular cyclists who purchase an e-bike (with subsidies), live about 60 percent further from their work than the average bike commuter. Car Commuters who buy an e-bike, (with subsidies), have on average a commuting distance 2.5 times longer as a regular bike commuter. The latter is surprising because even short distances (<7.5 km) too many commuters use the car. These car commuters are apparently less inclined to switch to the e-bike.
One possible explanation is that to car commuters who would like to be cycling, an e-bike is an attractive alternative to driving, but who find the distance too great.
For car commuting short distances other objections play a role that can not be solved with the electric assist, such as luggage, taking children to school, image of cycling and so on.
From the results of the various studies, the data on how many people made the switch from the car to a new e-bike differ from 39 percent to 65 percent. That may have to do with the way campaigns were conducted and grants were used. It appears that e-bike commuters who switched from car commuting, use their e-bike less frequently. They remain using the car for their home–work commute. The need for parking at companies will not decline as strongly as the numbers might suggest through the switching to e-bike rates. E-bicycle commuters coming out of the car do have a significantly longer commuting distance. So the lower frequency of e-bike commutes might be weight against the number of car kilometers being diminished. This is of importance especially on the effects on congestion, emissions, and our health..