Document Type

Report

Publication Date

3-2018

Subjects

Electric bicycles -- Oregon -- Portland, Cyclists -- Oregon -- Portland -- Public opinion, Electric bicycles -- Effect on reducing barriers to cycling

Abstract

Electric bicycle (e-bike) use is a rising phenomenon in North America as a growing number of manufacturers produce a variety of bicycles which can accommodate the needs of diverse populations. With the growth of the e-bike industry, e-bike users are an increasingly integral part of both the transportation network and recreational trail system. However, little research has been conducted on e-bikes within North America, especially on the individuals who have purchased e-bikes. The first-known U.S. e-bike owner survey was conducted by Portland State University in 2013. The 2013 survey aimed to understand whether e-bikes have the capacity to reduce barriers known to deter individuals from riding a standard bicycle for any given trip, including trip distance, topography, time and physical exertion. The authors believed that if these barriers could be reduced by the electronic assist of the e-bike, then the propensity for diverse groups of individuals to bicycle could increase, especially for populations known to be disproportionately impacted by these barriers such as females, older adults and those with a physical limitation. Additionally, e-bikes provide the potential for individuals to ride to further destinations, ride more and carry more cargo. Through these interrelated benefits e-bikes may increase the diversity of people bicycling, increase distances traveled by bicycle, and change the purposes for which bicycles are used. The present study seeks to strengthen our understanding of these issues, and to reveal whether the findings from the previous study have changed over time and with the growth in the e-bike industry. This study also hopes to overcome multiple limitations of the first study by targeting a larger portion of the population by connecting with ebike manufacturers and enhancing survey distribution techniques, and by asking respondents a refined and expanded set of questions. Additional questions also permit the researchers to delve into topics underexplored or unexplored in the 2013 study, including safety implications and mode replacement. This report looks to present the results of the 2017 survey and compares results to the 2013 study when appropriate. The data of the two surveys are not statistically compared in this report but may be done in future analysis.

Description

This is a final report, NITC-RR-1041, from the NITC program of TREC at Portland State University, and can be found online at: https://nitc.trec.pdx.edu/research/project/1041

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