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Do people who buy e-bikes cycle more? - Science Direct


  • People who buy an e-bike more than double their use of bicycle for transport.

  • Trial schemes and data from people who purchase an e-bike provide the same results.

  • Studies without control groups may wrongly attribute seasonal mode share changes to e-bikes.


Previous research shows that e-bike owners use private cars less than other transport user groups, and also report to have changed from motorized to non-motorized transport. A challenge with many studies is that they are either retrospective or cross-sectional, thus giving little control over confounding factors.

We followed up a short term trial where quite large mode change had been observed among participants. In the present study we conducted a before after-study with a customer group who bought an e-bike (N = 39) and a comparison group wanting to buy one (N = 142) using a survey with a travel diary to capture changes in travel behavior. We also used a broader comparison group (N = 767) to test the robustness of the results from a policy perspective. The measurement period lasted up to six months.

We found that people who purchased an e-bike increased their bicycle use from 2.1 to 9.2 km per day on average, representing a change in bike as share of all transport from 17 to 49 percent. The comparison group had negligible changes in cycling during the same time period, and the choice of comparison group had a very marginal effect on the results. The results show that the large change in cycling we previously found of a trial scheme with e-bikes is replicated with actual customers. The change in cycling share is somewhat larger than it was for the short-term users, showing that mode change from e-bikes is not just a novelty effect.


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