National Electric Bike Owner Survey

Electric bicycles (e-bikes) are a growing class of bicycles in North America but there has been little research on e-bikes in the United States, especially on the people that have purchased e-bikes. Portland State University (PSU) conducted the first known survey of e-bike owners in North America in 2013. The research aimed in part to understand if e-bikes can reduce barriers to bicycling, including trip distance, topography, time, and rider effort. By reducing these barriers could the principal investigator realize more bike trips and longer bike trips and an increase in the diversity of people cycling, including people with a disability or chronic injury. To address these aims, PSU conducted an online survey of existing e-bike users on their purchase decisions and usage. Responses from 553 e-bike users across North America were analyzed. Results suggested that e-bikes are enabling users to bike more often, to more distant locations, and to carry more cargo with them. Additionally, results show e-bikes allow people who would otherwise not be able to bike because of physical limitations or proximity to locations, the ability to bike with electric assist. The results of the survey were published in TRR (MacArthur et al., 2014). The survey was distributed through e-bike blogs and forums, Facebook pages, Twitter, e-mails to manufacturers and retailers, and via postcards to local bicycle shops in the Portland region. Though 553 e-bike users answered the survey, the principal investigator know this is a small fraction of the total owners in North America and didn’t intend to represent a random sample. In addition, a majority of the respondents were older males with higher than average incomes. One of the drawbacks to the survey was how the survey was administered. Researchers didn’t have direct access to e-bike purchasers from dealers’ or manufacturers’ mailing lists. Researchers from PSU and the University of Tennessee would like to administer another survey to e-bike owners. The principal investigator feel 2016 is an ideal time to administer this survey because of the growth in sales over the last couple years and the opportunity to connect to a boarder demographic. For the project, the principal investigator will be teaming with the e-bike industry through relationships with the Bicycle Products Suppliers Association (BPSA), industry leaders and PeopleforBikes to help get the survey out to as many people as possible. The primary objective of this study is to gain a better understanding of the factors that influence purchase and use of e-bikes from existing users. Secondary objectives will explore feedback on how the bicycle owners are currently using and what features they like and dislike and what they might want in future models.


    • English


    • Status: Completed
    • Funding: $ 42,847.83
    • Contract Numbers:

      NITC 1041

    • Sponsor Organizations:

      Portland State University

      P.O. Box 751
      Portland, OR  United States  97207-0751

      University of Tennessee, Knoxville

      Knoxville, TN  United States 

      Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

      University Transportation Centers Program
      Department of Transportation
      Washington, DC  United States  20590
    • Managing Organizations:

      TREC at Portland State University

      1900 SW Fourth Ave, Suite 175
      P.O. Box 751
      Portland, Oregon  United States  97201
    • Project Managers:

      Hagedorn, Hau

    • Performing Organizations:

      Portland State University

      P.O. Box 751
      Portland, OR  United States  97207-0751
    • Principal Investigators:

      MacArthur, John

      Cherry, Christopher

    • Start Date: 20160701
    • Expected Completion Date: 20171231
    • Actual Completion Date: 20180331
    • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers Program

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01607654
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: National Institute for Transportation and Communities
    • Contract Numbers: NITC 1041
    • Files: UTC, RIP
    • Created Date: Aug 16 2016 4:19PM