According to research commissioned by Shimano, who make the STePS e-bike system, the profile and acceptance of e-bikes as a commuting option is growing in the UK. The poll, conducted by OnePoll, found that 34% of respondents would be prepared to use an e-bike instead of public transport, with men (38%) more keen than women (29%) to make the jump.
Cramped conditions and increasing fares on public transport were both cited as reasons for switching, and on the flip side of the coin the ability to ride in normal clothes, with less effort, and arrive at work fresh is seen as a big plus for electric bikes over standard bikes.
Not everyone wants to switch, of course. Respondents highlighted the fact that other forms of transport are perceived as safer and more comfortable as reasons for sticking with the train, bus or tube.
Asked what could be done to help facilitate a switch, those polled said the Government should consider the use of subsidies, as in the electric car sector, to facilitate an e-bike purchase. The continuing Cycle Superhighways scheme in London was also praised as helping to make cycle commuting safer, and another suggestion was test days where potential buyers could try out a range of bikes.
Mark Greshon, Shimano Senior Brand Manager at Madison said: “The survey shows that Brits aged 25-34 years, who are most likely the people in the early stages of their professional career, are most in favour of e-bikes for their daily commute. This makes a lot of sense as this younger generation is open to new technology like Shimano STEPS which we’ve already seen make a real impact in other European countries already. We want to encourage the adoption of cycling in general and e-bikes are a viable option for many that would not have previously considered cycling. In the UK it could contribute to less crowded public transport, cost savings and an increasingly healthy lifestyle for our nation in years to come.”