Extending life on the bike: Electric bike use by older Australians

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Abstract

Older age may bring physical limitations but for many people, the desire to remain active does not diminish. To remain active, and continue the physical and psychological benefits of physical fitness, people need options that support continued movement; one option is an electric bike. In this study we identified the characteristics of older people who own and ride an electric bike in Australian and understand their motivations for purchase, their electric bike use and safety issues. We conducted an online study of electric bike owners in Australia (n=529). In this analysis, we focused on responses from participants aged 65 years and older (n=69). Respondents were aged from 65 to 88 years (71 years), most were retired (73.9%) and had been regular cyclists prior to purchasing an electric bike (80.3%). Almost half (42.6%) purchased their electric bike in a specialist electric bike shop and the two most reported motivations for purchase were to ride with less effort and replace car trips. The majority of respondents rode their electric bike weekly (88.0%) including people who rode it daily (34.3%). The most frequently cited mode shift was from private motor vehicle (car) to electric bike across all trip purposes. Respondents typically felt safer riding an electric bike than a pedal bike and the majority had not experienced an electric bike crash (84.1%). This initial, exploratory study provides the first insights into older Australian electric bike riders. Electric bikes provide a fun, practical option for people to incorporate active travel into their most frequent trips. Mode shift from car trips suggest that electric bikes increase regular (weekly, daily) physical activity. Initiatives and public policies that support electric bike use may increase the uptake of electric bikes by older people in Australia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)276 - 283
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Transport & Health
Volume2
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015

Keywords

  • Electric bike
  • Older people
  • Australia

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