Will the Netherlands take to e-bikes?
In 2017 the Dutch had more than 22.8 million bicycles at their disposal. That is an average of three in every household. This makes the Netherlands the global leader in the number of bicycles per household. Today, 1.9 million of these bicycles are electric. In 2016, 29% of all new bicycles sold were e-bikes and in 2017 this percentage rose to 33%, i.e. 957,000 electric bicycles. This percentage is expected to increase further. The image of e-bike is changing rapidly. Only a few years ago people saw it as a bicycle for the elderly, but nowadays more and more people under the age of fifty are switching to e-bikes.
A quarter of all Dutch people cycle every day. Twenty-seven percent of those under the age of fifty cycle every day and seventeen percent of those over the age of 65. The bicycle is mainly used as a means to get to work or school. People in the Netherlands are increasingly cycling to schools, colleges, etc., but they are also cycling more often to work and for leisure. More than a quarter of all trips and almost one tenth of all kilometres travelled by the Dutch are by bicycle.
Currently, almost half of e-bike users are aged 65 and over. They use the e-bike mainly for leisure purposes. In 2017, the number of e-bike cyclists in the aged between 12 and 65 increased. At the same time, the use of e-bike for transport to work or school is increasing rapidly. A large proportion of the additional bicycle kilometres can be attributed to the e-bike.
The average trip on an e-bike is 5 kilometres, and on a regular bike 3.5 kilometres. Twenty percent of bike trips are in excess of 7.5 kilometres and eight per cent are longer than 15 kilometres. The increase in e-bike purchases by different age categories will increase the average number of kilometres per trip. The e-bike has enormous potential to get employees living within a 7.5-kilometre radius of their work and travelling to work by car on a bike. The e-bike lowers the threshold and promotes the social and economic benefits of cycling. Provision of an e-bike could become an interesting element of employment benefits packages.