Effects of e-bikes on bicycle use and mode share
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionTransportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment. 2015, 36 45-52. 10.1016/j.trd.2015.02.005
In Norway, as in many countries, a political goal is to increase bicycle use, and the e-bike is promising in this respect. However, concerns have been raised about mode-share effects. It has been argued that if the e-bike’s only function is in cycling becoming cycling with electric assistance, there would be no benefit to either the environment or public health. Little is yet known about the use of the e-bike, or of its potential in reducing motorized travel. In the current study, 66 randomly selected participants were given an e-bike to use for a limited period of time and the results compared with those of a control group (N = 160). E-bike cycling trips increased from 0.9 to 1.4 per day, distance from 4.8 km to 10.3 km and, as a share of all transport, from 28% to 48%, whereas with the control group there was no increase in cycling. The effect of the e-bike increased with time, indicating a learning effect among users, and was greater for female than for male cyclists. There were no differences with age. Overall, the results suggest that the e-bike is indeed practical for everyday travel.