The 2019 E-Bike Report survey just released by Halfords has revealed some curious untruths that they think may be holding back sales of electric bikes - including the 'road tax' myth and even a small number of respondents thinking that an e-bike can't be ridden in the rain.
Halfords said that of those polled 30% would consider buying an e-bike, rising to 41% amongst 18-24-year-olds - but while this news seems positive and on an upwards trajectory compared to the relatively small percentage of the population who currently ride an e-bike (around 50,000 are expected to be sold in the UK this year), these ten myths that surround them give us less reason to be cheerful...
E-bike are cheating
65% said they didn’t know that you still have to pedal when riding an e-bike!
20% thought insurance was required to ride an e-bike, but of course you don’t require any insurance in England, Wales or Scotland as long as the motor is EU-legal.
43% were unsure that e-bike riders have to pay 'road tax' - which technically doesn't exist, it's actually Vehicle Excise Duty based on emissions, and e-bikes don't pay it because they don't produce any!
They can only be recharged at charging points
37% said they would be put off because they think a charging point is needed, when of course the large majority of e-bikes just require a standard mains plug to charge.
You can't ride them in the rain
9% thought e-bikes couldn't be ridden in the rain, although any commercially made e-bike will have been rigorously tested to ensure it's waterproof.
You can hack them
6% thought e-bikes are vulnerable to hackers, but luckily that isn't possible!
They get easily confused
11% strangely thought their bike would get 'confused' in an unexpected situation - perhaps getting the technology mixed up with self-driving cars.
They're too expensive
36% said e-bikes are too expensive - and while most e-bikes are an investment, it's nothing compared a car plus all that petrol and insurance, and you can get numerous decent e-bikes for less than a grand nowadays.
15% said they would be scared that they would not have full control over their bike, even though they work almost exactly the same way as a standard pedal cycle.
They use lots of electricity
19% thought their electricity bill would go up significantly, but e-bikes are charged through the mains and cost the normal rate of electricity.
As well as the myths above, respondants also quoted some of the usual apparent barriers to cycling that they think will be problematic if they cycle to work, such as not thinking they're fit enough and not wanting to arrive at work sweaty.
Darren Smith, Halfords’ e-bikes expert said: “There are thousands of e-bikes on the roads, cycling paths and bridleways across the UK, but our research shows there is still a huge amount of confusion about them. Switching from other forms of transport to an e-bike will mean greater benefits to users – not only are they able to cycle further without exerting as much energy, they’ll also reduce the impact on the environment."
Even against these tide of e-bike untruths, Halfords are still seeing an increase in e-bike sales as an increase of their overall percentage, and in total their e-bike sales have gronw 47% in the last year.