These are some of the results of a study conducted by the Cycling Council and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment into the facts surrounding the electric bike. The ‘Electric bike facts’ project intends to provide more insight into the use and the users of these bikes as well as their travelling habits, and safety. This is because there is relatively little known about the electric bike and that makes it difficult for municipalities to formulate policy for it.
Currently already 15% of the bicycles sold are electric bikes. According to estimates, there are now about 750,000 to 1,000,000 electric bikes in use in the Netherlands. Based on the user profile revealed by the study, the electric bike is still a transport vehicle mostly for senior citizens: 43% of electric bike owners are over 65 and 80% of them are over 50. One bicycle vendor’s sales figures reveal that the sales emphasis in the last 1.5 years was on the 45-70 age category. The emphasis is therefore less on the 65+ age category and more on 45-64 age category. But the age range for prospective buyers is also decreasing. A comparison between the current owners and prospective buyers indicates that the group of owners will undergo a shift to younger age groups in coming years.
Additional data from the research reveals that a number of governing bodies have already taken measures regarding electric bikes. The most frequently mentioned measure is the introduction of charging facilities in bike parking facilities. Governing bodies also make electric bikes available for trial as well as organise events and promotional campaigns (having commuters try out an electric bike leads to a purchase by 10% of the testers). Other frequently named measures are fiscal discounts and subsidies aimed at lowering the acquisition costs of an electric bike (the study showed that 87% of electric bike owners bought the bike without financial aid).
Less frequently mentioned are cycling instruction-courses and adjustment of the infrastructure (such as construction of fast bike lanes and widening of recreational bike paths).