65% of public don’t know you have to pedal e-bikes

The scale of the education challenge facing the cycling industry around electric bikes had been laid bare by new research from Halfords.

The study found that the majority of the public do not understand the most basic aspects of an electric bike, with 65% unaware that e-bikes require the rider to pedal (perhaps having been confused by the ‘e-bikes are cheating’ line).

If electric bikes are to unlock new consumers and bring new punters into the cycling industry then the report has laid out the uphill challenge facing the trade and brands that seeking to grow the market rather than convert ‘in-the-know’ cyclists to add an e-bike to their collection.

Halfords’ ‘State of the Nation’ 2019 eBike Report also revealed that 28% of people think they aren’t fit enough to ride a bike. 16% feel they are too old to cycle and 28% are put off by hills. 9% suffer from a long running injury which puts them off. Those statistics strongly suggest that there is a significant opportunity for electric bikes to significantly increase the number of cycle consumers in the UK – if the education challenge can be truly tackled.

The hurdle between e-bikes and general members of the public is not limited to the fact that e-bikes require pedalling. The report also found that:

  • 20% think insurance is required for e-bikes
  • 43% are unsure if e-bike riders need to pay “road tax” (eg Vehicle Excise Duty, which is based on CO2 emissions)
  • 37% think e-bikes need a charging point

The Cycle to Work guidance was refreshed last month to make it easier for employers to provide bicycles and equipment, including e-bikes, which are typically worth over £1,000.

There are more statistics in the report.