Whilst there is growing interest in using e-bikes, there are still barriers that need to be overcome for more people to take the plunge. For the 66% of Europeans who are not ready to take the plunge, 24% give the reason that there is a lack of safe cycling infrastructure in their towns and cities. This shows not only city leaderships, councils and authorities but also the wider bicycle industry still has a way to go to create a cycling environment that convinces people to switch to electric two-wheeled power.
Following an extensive report from Shimano, e-bikes are in a rapidly growing demand phase for the everyday commuter and those less active (our sage customers) who want a stepping stone into an active lifestyle.
As ONE MOTO showcased their global launch of The RYDA Collection (their range of e-bikes) at GITEX last year, the demand for the pedal assisted collection has grown 400%, and this looks to continue. With their HQs in London and Dubai and their recent India launch, the growth is set to continue well into 2023.
“Our first report was conducted together with YouGov in 2019,” says Ben Hillsdon, head of PR and communications at Shimano Europe. The 2020 report was researched and written right at the very beginning of the global Covid-19 pandemic when it was still uncertain what the ‘new normal’ would look like, or how long the pandemic would last. This survey focused on 12 European countries, namely Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, and surveyed over 14,000 people.
The events in 2020/21 allowed Shimano to chart the behavioral changes Covid-19 has had on the use of e-bikes. 27% of Europeans said they are more likely to use or buy an e-bike now than they were before the pandemic, with two fifths (39%) saying they would use one to avoid public transport.
What does this look like for the UAE? Well in 2020 HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai announced his intention for “Dubai to become a cycle friendly city” and as an avid rider himself he is pioneering this initiative with (currently) over 460kms of cycle tracks throughout the Emirate.
Why buy an e-bike?
The study reveals some interesting details on the motivation of Europeans to buy an e-bike. In Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Italy, Switzerland and Spain the main reason is to avoid the use of public transport as people are still afraid to catch Covid-19 there. Replacement or at least an alternative to using a motor vehicle is given as the main reason in the UK, Austria and Germany. For people in the Netherlands and Poland, daily exercise is the main explanation while only in France, the carbon footprint reduction is the reason to buy an e-bike.
For the whole population, Covid-19 is not the only motivating factor in e-bike use; a growing awareness and urgency around climate change is prompting people to make personal choices about reducing their own carbon footprint. Over a third (37%) of those under 24 said they would use an e-bike to lessen their impact on the environment, whereas two fifths (41%) of those over the age of 55 said they were looking for an alternative to a motor vehicle.
E-bike as car replacement
Nearly half (46%) of those more likely to buy or use an e-bike say that they would do so as an alternative to a car. This is a win for everyone in our urban areas; fewer cars on the road means less pollution and fewer traffic jams. However, despite e-bikes being significantly cheaper than a motor car or an e-vehicle, 54% see the cost is a barrier. “E-bikes are powerful car trip replacements for those with access to one, cutting carbon emissions and air pollution for a fraction of the cost of electric cars, yet in many countries like the UK, where e-cycle uptake is very low indeed, e-cycles are the only electric vehicle that doesn’t yet have a purchase subsidy to encourage greater use,” says researcher and active transport journalist, Laura Laker.
People are waking up to the advantages of e-cargo bikes across Europe, notes Shimano. The study shows that of those who say they are likely to buy or use an e-bike in the next 12 months, 7% of those in Germany and 8% of those in the Netherlands say they would purchase an e-cargo bike. Even the UK, which lags behind in terms of e-bike uptake, 5% would consider buying an e-cargo bike. The most likely age groups to consider an e-cargo bike are those aged 18-24 years and 25-34 years, however this is also the group that may find the cost to be a more significant barrier.
Bricks and mortar bike shops
During the Covid-19 pandemic, many countries ruled that bike shops were ‘essential services’ and allowed them to remain open during lockdowns. The Shimano study shows the need for bricks and mortar bike shops amongst bike owners. Yet, many of the avid cyclists with an understanding of e-bikes are favouring the online purchase experience over visiting bike shops. With companies such as ONE MOTO they found customers ordering bikes online with direct delivery to avoid the considerable waiting times linked to supply chain. Order direct from the manufacturer securing your order.
If you’d like to discover more about the e-bike RYDA collection from ONE MOTO, visit their online platform www.one-moto.com
Q1 2022, ONE MOTO are launching “The ONE” which will be showcased on their website and pre-sales will be taken from 20.1.2022. Register your interest at www.one-moto.com
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