A new study from Norway is confirming it: when provided with ebikes, even frequent bike riders use them more often. The effects are larger on women.
In Norway, most cyclists are “Sunday riders”: they use bikes mainly as a sport. Bike commuters (who use their bike on a daily basis) are quite few (only 5% of commuters are cyclists) and even these people don’t use their bike every day.
The Oslo Institute of Transport Economics picked their research subjects among the latter: the occasional bike commuters.
The 220 volunteers were divided in two groups: a group simply went on using their bikes, just as they did before. The other group was provided with free ebikes for 4 weeks.
The results speak for themselves: people who could ride ebikes have increased their bike trips from 0,9 to 1,4 per day. Even the average distance cycled was higher: it went from 4,8 km to 10,3 km. Last but not least, the percentage of bike trips increased from 28% to 50%.
These results mean that even frequent bike riders benefit from the assistance of an electric motor, and therefore choose to use the ebike more often and for longer trips, compared to their regular bike.
Aslak Fyhri, one of the researchers, states that the effect was greater on female subjects: they increased the use of their bikes a lot thanks to the electric assistance. There was a minor increase for male participants to the study: it was mainly related to the lengths of their trips, rather than their frequency.
One of the most important factors in the study is that when riding an ebike you don’t sweat, therefore you can use it when you can’t take a shower or change your clothes when you get to destination, as it happens for commuters who go to work.
The sales of ebikes keep growing in Norway too, even if we’re still talking about small numbers. In 2014 10k ebikes were sold in Norway: a small percentage of the regular bikes (400k). We should remember that Norwegians are just 5 millions (we can compare it to France, where in 2014 77k ebikes were sold, but France has 66 million inhabitants).
To know more about the study, you can read the original article published on a science magazine.