Busting Ten of the Most Common Myths About E-bikesSeptember 15, 2022
In some circles, electric bicycles (AKA: E-bikes) have an undeserved bad reputation. Like just about anything new, they require an open mind and a positive attitude. As their popularity skyrockets around the world, it’s only a matter of time before e-bikes really take off around the world. So before anyone else goes around spreading misinformation about e-bikes EB-UK are taking a look at ten common myths and revealing the truth behind them.
MYTH: E-bikes Are Too Fast!
FACT: Most e-bikes travel at bike-like speeds. In fact, studies show that in some instances, e-bikes are slower than regular bikes, depending on the terrain and power produced by the rider! And then there is UK law prohibiting them from going any faster than 15.5MPH.
MYTH: E-bikes Riders Are Reckless
FACT: E-bike riders, like nearly all riders, are generally respectful of the road. We are unaware of studies or reports showing that e-bike use decreases public safety and we have certainly witnessed far worse from normal cyclists while out on our journeys.
MYTH: They Are Too Heavy!
FACT: E-bikes are slightly heavier than traditional bikes, but the greatest contributor to a heavy mass in bicycling is personal weight, not the weight of an e-bike. It’s no different than riding a traditional bicycle with loaded panniers.
MYTH: E-bikes Are Just E-motorcycles With Pedals!
FACT: Pedal-assist e-bikes are fundamentally different from ATVs, off-road motorcycles and internal-combustion off-road vehicles. Motorized vehicle regulations were written before the invention of e-bikes and shouldn’t be used to regulate e-bike use. E-bikes are emissions- and noise-free. PeopleForBikes works to distinguish e-bikes from motorcycles and bicycles so that e-bikes are understood and non-motorized trail access is preserved.
MYTH: E-Bikes Should Be Banned From Bike paths
FACT: Most e-bike users are like most other path users—they generally respect the law of the road and are kind to others with whom they share public resources. Riding an e-bike is like riding a regular bike. If you want to break the law, you don’t need an e-bike to do it and if you want to behave like a dick-head you can do that with no vehicle at all.
MYTH: We Need More Public Studies to Allow E-bikes!
FACT: Many studies have already been performed that evaluated how e-bike and bike riders interact on trails. One study demonstrated that trying out an e-bike increased a person’s acceptance and reduced their uncertainty around e-bikes. In Colorado, the City of Boulder studied e-bike use on shared paths and found minimal “conflicts” between trail users, no observed crashes, no negative verbal interactions, and safe passing.
MYTH: E-bike riders Often Need Rescuing
FACT: There’s risk in everything we do. This is a lesson that you learn the hard way. Climbers, hikers and cyclists are rescued from difficult situations every day. Self-reliance and proper preparation must be emphasized. As for most of these myths, there is no study to show e-bikers are more prone to being rescued, in fact, they are more likely to be able to ride out of most even if their batteries die because that just means their e-bike turns into a normal bike! It doesn’t just stop dead.
MYTH: Speeding e-bikers Can Easily Break The Law
FACT: Excessive speed—both on regular- and e-bikes—can be monitored and ticketed using radar guns. But this is a highly inefficient use of trail manager time. Furthermore, speeding on e-bikes has yet to be identified as a significant problem. Clear signage and public etiquette education are the best ways to encourage all trail users to travel at safe speeds.
MYTH: E-bike Riders Don’t Know Trail Etiquette!
FACT: Sure they do. Most have years of trail experience behind them. The typical e-bike rider is 45–65 years old and generally uninterested in reaching maximum speeds or passing other trail users without proper warning or slowing down. Sure, there will always be a few, but that goes for normal cyclists as well.
MYTH: E-bikes Are Cheating!
FACT: We like to think that e-bikes aren’t cheating, they’re empowering.
We need to embrace e-bikes because they get more people on bikes more often. From older riders to those with longer commutes, to people dealing with health issues, e-bikes provide important bike riding opportunities. We’re not saying they’re for everyone, but we believe that more people riding is not only good for everyone who rides, but for the entire community.
If you know of any other e-bike myths that should have been added to this list do let us know in the comments below and we will address them.