Even though electric bicycles have been around for a while, they are surging in popularity. Researchers claim that electric bike sales grew by 145% between 2019-20, compared to a 65 percent growth during that same time period for traditional bikes.
An uptick in the use of e-bikes by cycle-share companies has also been reported by a national bike-sharing association. Chicago transportation officials recently announced that its Divvy bike-sharing program will expand service and double the number of e-bikes 2022 to 3,500. In anticipation, the city will add more bike charging stations, and new bike lanes will be added citywide. Lyft will enter the market put $50 million towards e-bikes and stations.
It’s simple to understand the e-bikes’ appeal. They are easy to learn, use and store. They’re environmentally-friendly and good exercise. Though you must be 16 or older to ride one, you don’t need a license or insurance in most cases. Electric or gas-powered, low-speed bikes, can be ridden on city streets, bicycle lanes and bike paths.
e-Bicycle Safety Record
But are they safe? Researchers at New York University’s School of Medicine revealed that between 2000 and 2017, some 3,000 people injured themselves on e-bikes, (consider that the bikes were in their infancy during this time). More troubling, the study also showed that e-bike injuries were more severe than other forms of e-transportation and likely to require hospitalization. That may change as the public becomes more experienced in riding e-bikes.
Let’s face it: e-bikes are here to stay. Riders who go electric should learn to use the bike safely because they’re so different from traditional pedal bikes. e-Bikes are often much heavier than regular bikes, reach higher top speeds, and allegedly make corners and obstacles more dangerous.
Bottom line: e-bikes are popular because they are seriously fun and can get you from point A to B more quickly. Just be sure you know the laws governing their use, and follow the rules of the road, lane or bike path in your state or local jurisdiction.