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Nationaal Fietscongres: SARS:Ebikes


Tim Jones

on 2 February 2015

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Transcript of Nationaal Fietscongres: SARS:Ebikes

The Experience of Electric Bicycle Users in the Netherlands and the UK
Tim Jones | Oxford Brookes University
Lucas Harms | University of Amsterdam
Eva Heinen | University of Groningen

Very few studies on e-biking experience
Amsterdam | Utrecht | Groningen | Oxford
Opportunity to focus on EU viz NL & UK
Dill & Rose, 2012; Popovich et al. 2014
Interviews with e-bike users
Advertisements, social media | 12 NL & 10 Oxford | One hour interview: engagement, education, experience, envisioning |
Follow-up survey: perception rating-travel behaviour
12F | 43-70 years (ave. 56) | All full driving licence |
5 without access to car | All but one owned bicycle.
Thematic Analysis (NVivo) |
Multiple coding | refined coding frame
Knowledge formation
User experience
Perceived impact on travel & health

Summary policy recommendations
Motive For Purchase
Response to 'critical juncture' | Maintaining velomobility
“When I turned 50 I decided it was time to change something about my health habits, so I did not have time to do any physical activities, so at that point I decided that [e-]biking to work might be a reasonable idea.” Marcel, Groningen.
“In February I took the metro, it’s good, I walk to it, it’s 30 minutes, and at the [hospital] I jump out and I’m at my work. But I don’t like to sit in the metro, and … in winter, okay, [but] in summer, I don’t think I like it. So some colleagues said, “why don’t you buy an E-bike?

Ellis, Amsterdam.
Combination of factors
“I was

trying to get back into cycling

but with that

health issue
in place as well as the
constraints of being a single parent

having to only leave the house at a certain time

and be home at a certain time. So I was faced with a number of factors so I

needed to speed up

but I couldn’t speed up because of my health, so I started to look at E-bikes as a dual thing. I thought it would

get me fit

it would

enable me to speed up

my journey on a bicycle and it would have all the added benefits of
lowering costs.

I don’t have to worry about


and all those sort of things but it was the first two of I want to cycle, how do I speed up my journey and how do I address the fitness issue…?”

Helen, Oxford.
Perceived impact on travel behaviour
Continuity | Intercepting car use
“I use the e-bike so much more than I imagined and if I have to go to town [8kms] then it doesn’t enter my head to use the car [which was the previous method].” Natascha, Groningen.
“[If I hadn’t have purchased an e-bike] I wouldn’t have got back on my bike, no. [Beforehand] I drove every day, that’s what I was doing. I was driving every day, parking over the road, so I would have carried on doing that.” Helen, Oxford.
“My mother lives in Abingdon. Whereas before I probably wouldn’t have tackled the journey on my ordinary bike, I feel that I can easily get there and back by using the E-bike.” Bradley, Oxford.
“It’s not possible to travel by regular bike four days a week, so I can choose metro or car [laughs]…then I would not travel by bike.” Ellis, Amsterdam.
Perceived impact on health
“Well for me I think I lost weight now just…just because I’m now going with E-bike, because I move more.” Marjolijn, Groningen.
“[On my regular pedal cycle]…three or four trips in the whole summer, and with my e-bike I do it three times a week. I just started doing more exercise because I’m taking much more trips outside the city – which I never did before.” Suzanne, Amsterdam.
“I didn’t know that I liked it that much. I always feel happy. I liked it so much better than sitting in a car. Yeah, I can tell. Like if you have a glass of wine – it feels good. So it’s a kind of warmth…a nice feeling inside.” Natascha, Groningen.
Moving more and being moved
Dissonance | Riposte
“Two years ago I bought my E-bike, and it’s getting hard to go back onto the normal bike then, because it’s pretty addictive the E-bike. [laughs] And it’s not good for your condition, for your health.”
Ramona, Utrecht.
“ Alright, I understand [the] point if you say, well, [if] someone is travelling 5km every day [by] normal bike ... he would buy an E-bike, then he would have less exercise. But that’s not how it works in practice. In practice people cycle longer, more often, they ... in my own experience I’m just faster getting the bike than taking a car. If it’s very windy normally I think I would take the car sometimes – and now I’m not even thinking about it, I just take the bike.”
Anton, Amsterdam.

Perceived impact on health
General Benefits
Less effort than conventional cycling

Going further in less time

Getting more done | multiple activities

Not getting sweaty | arriving at work without need to shower & change

Exploring new places

Certainty of ability to get home

Fitting in cycling with increasingly busy lifestyles

More flexible than public transport | an option to not using the car
Capability within complexity of everyday life
General barriers
Economy | Technology | Social Stigma | Safety | Infrastucture
Carrying children
Battery performance
Battery load time
'For old people'
'Not 'green'

Minor incidents
Intra v inter city
Parking at hubs
Financial outlay
Battery replacement
“…my bike doesn’t seem like an electric bike, so I camouflage it with the big bags on the back, and with the plastic flowers on the front, just to camouflage the electric part – you don’t see it”

Ramona, Utrecht.
“I think most E-bikes are made for women aged 60 and over or something and they don’t think about it how you can move your child on it.”

Marjolijn, Groningen.
“Like most things with a battery there’s a sort of honeymoon period, and then after a couple of years you’re looking at, you know, it declining in efficiency ... and the battery is quite an important ... financially it’s quite expensive.”

Carina, Oxford.
“In the beginning you have to get used (to the fact) that it goes very fast (...) I pulled the brakes, and the brakes are very strong, and so I just pulled myself over”.

Suzanne, Amsterdam.
“Outside the city I have it on maximum acceleration, maximum support, (...) But in the city I normally put it down a notch or two, because all the other cyclists ... if you go too fast then there will be accidents and you have to brake all the time, so it doesn’t work anyway.”

Anton, Groningen.
“I got some health problems – my kidneys and muscles don’t function too well anymore, so I lose strength every month, and it’s getting worse…I noticed with normal biking I was out of breath..." Ramona, Utrecht.
1. Embed e-biking in policy discourse

2. Develop design guidance for e-biking

3. Provide incentives for industry to innovate

4. Provide consumer support (tax relief, service)

5. Tackle stigma through social marketing

6. Monitor and research e-biking
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