E-bike safety: Insights from a survey of Australian e-bike riders

Marilyn Johnson, Geoffrey Rose

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review


E-bike sales are rapidly increasing globally. The increase in sales and use raises questions about ebike riders’ experiences in the existing road and cycling networks. For example, does the current cycling infrastructure cater for e-bikes? Are the cycling safety issues the same for e-bike riders as they are for pedal cyclists? Are there new safety issues e-bike riders? In this study these questions were investigated with a review of the literature of people’s perceptions of safety when cycling and a survey of 478 e-bike riders that explored their experiences and perceptions of safety. Survey respondents were more likely to be male (73.9%, female: 26.1%) and ranged in age from 18 to 86 years with two thirds aged over 50 years (66.9%). The majority of female e-bike riders did not regularly ride a pedal bicycle as an adult prior to purchasing an e-bike (63.1%). E-bike riders ranked their feelings of safety when riding an e-bike at 10 locations with various cycling infrastructure facilities with physically separated bike lanes and local streets considered the safest spaces to ride. Three key e-bike rider characteristics were identified as impacting e-bike rider experiences and safety: cycling proficiency (level of confidence/comfort riding in complex situations); age (potential complications arise from physical limitations related to age) and bike handling/control skills (i.e. heavy e-bike, additional interface e.g. power settings). These e-bike rider characteristics are an important lens that needs to be considered when evaluating the suitability of existing cycling infrastructure, in particular given the greater hill climbing capabilities and higher spot speed of ebikes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTRB 95th Annual Meeting Compendium of Papers
PublisherTransportation Research Board
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016
EventTransportation Research Board (USA) Annual Meeting 2016 - Washington, United States of America
Duration: 10 Jan 201614 Jan 2016
Conference number: 95th


ConferenceTransportation Research Board (USA) Annual Meeting 2016
Abbreviated titleTRB 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited States of America
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