One of the hottest forms of transportation for women over 50 frequenting beach towns this winter season is e-bikes. Many men and women over 50 in towns like Delray Beach, FL are using e-bikes to get around town, go to the beach, and out for some fun. There is a lot of confusion among many people as to what are e-bikes and are they safe? How do they differ from other motorized two-wheeled vehicles?
VanMoof, a manufacturer of e-bikes has assisted us with an “e-bike 101” Q&A that answers many of the common questions about e-bikes.
Q. What is an e-bike?
The simplest way to explain an e-bike is a bicycle with an integrated electric motor that can be used to assist the rider. Depending on local laws, many e-bikes are legally classified as bicycles rather than mopeds or motorcycles.
Q. Is an e-bike the same as a moped?
No, they are not the same. Mopeds are considered a motor vehicle in many areas. Some states require riders to have an operator’s license, tags, and moped insurance. Riders should check with their local DMV and learn about their state’s moped laws.
Mopeds provide all the propulsion of the rider while an e-bike motor only assists at intervals that the rider selects. Mopeds typically cost more up-front, a new moped can get pricey when compared to an e-bike. Costly items like shock absorbers and automatic breaking systems add to the cost.
Q. How fast can e-bikes go?
20mph is the legal limit for Class 1 e-bikes. But some high-end e-bikes do get up into the 30 mph range. These typically have an extra ride, safety, and insurance restrictions.
Q. Are e-bike’s safe?
An e-bike is as safe as any other vehicle once the rider learns the safety protocols and follows all rules and regulations. Of course, riders of all bikes should follow local laws, wear helmets, and be responsible and aware of other road users.
Q. Can you ride e-bikes on the street?
Most states consider e-bikes to be a bicycle, riders will be able to legally use them on the street and trails. That includes paved bike trails that are off-limits to mopeds. This is another benefit to e-bikes.
Q. Can you use e-bikes for exercise?
Absolutely! All e-bikes have pedals and riders can simply choose to not use the bike’s motor, so anyone can get a great workout while on an e-bike! Research shows the e-bikes are better for your health than any other mode of transport and equal to non-electric bikes.
Q. How popular are e-bikes?
E-bikes sales are booming all over the world and have certainly seen a spike since the pandemic began. For example, e-bike company VanMoof saw global Q2 (Apr-June) sales growth for e-bikes year-on-year was 379% (overlapping strongly with COVID) and US sales increase, year-on-year, 2019/20 (Jan to June) was 91%.
In addition, US retail sales of e-bikes in the first quarter of 2019 grew 90% year over year and 130 million e-bikes are expected to be sold globally between 2020 and 2023, easily outstripping electric cars.
Q. Was Simon Cowell injured on an e-bike?
No, Simon Cowell was not injured on an e-bike. He was riding an electric motorbike in the crash, not an e-bike according to the Bicycle Association, the national trade body for the UK cycle industry. The organization stated that the machine Cowell was riding was capable of speeds well above the legal limit for e-bikes, making it an electric motorbike. According to reports, Cowell was riding a vehicle that runs on 15 kilowatts of electricity and is capable of speeds up to 60mph, three times faster than the typical e-bike.
Q. How much do e-bikes cost?
Generally, electric bikes will range in cost from a low of $600 to over $8000. Not many quality e-bikes can be found for under $1000, with most mainstream e-bikes costing between $1500 – $4000. VanMoof has many different types of e-bikes available for under $2000.
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