Electric bicycles result in more exercise
As electric bicycles have become more popular and more affordable, their use has taken off around the world.
A study which was recently published in the Transportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives journal, followed over 10,000 adults in seven European countries.
The researchers determined the average energy expenditure of different forms of transportation including riding an electric bicycle, pedal bicycle, walking, driving, etc.
The study then surveyed the thousands of participants to determine the amount of time they spent engaging in those activities each week and the distances they traveled.
As it turned out, electric bicycle riders ended up slightly edging out pedal bike cyclists in terms of total exercise each week. The study’s authors largely attribute this to the increased amount of time that eBike riders spend on their bikes, compared to cyclists and the longer-distance trips taken by eBike riders.
The study’s authors even go as far as to say the results should potentially be used to lobby for increased eBike usage and improved eBiking infrastructure:
In conclusion, this analysis supports the notion to accept, or even promote, eBikes as a healthy and sustainable transport option based on eBikers travel behaviour and self-reported mode substitution. Planners should be aware that eBikers travel longer distances than cyclists. Thus, eBikes might be used for longer commuting trips than non-electric bicycles. To accommodate (or promote) this new demand and to avoid conflicts with other road users in urban areas, cycling infrastructure should be expanded and may need to be adapted to accommodate higher speeds and address safety needs. The health benefits in terms of physical activity of using eBikes, particularly when replacing car trips, should be factored in when considering subsidising eBiking.
For any standard cyclists reading this and turning red in the face, don’t worry just yet. The same study also found that you all have a lower Body Mass Index (BMI) reading than eBikers, on average. Cyclists were found to have an average BMI of 23.8, while eBike riders had an average BMI of 24.8. Both are in the “normal” range of the BMI scale, but may be indicative of the trend where eBikes have been found to attract less traditionally physically active commuters who might not have otherwise cycled.
The study also found that eBike riders tended to be older as well, with an average age of 48.1 years versus the average cyclist age of 41.4 years.
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