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Portland State launches online survey to study e-bike use in North America

Published April 28, 2017

PORTLAND, Ore. (BRAIN) — Four years after its pioneering survey of e-bike riders in North America, Portland State University has launched a second online survey to gauge how the market is maturing.

"We want to see how things have changed," said John MacArthur, sustainable transportation program manager at the university. "We feel that the market has significantly grown, more people have purchased them and they're more in the general zeitgeist."

The 2013 survey attracted some 550 respondents, and MacArthur said he is hoping for at least 2,000 with the new survey. PeopleForBikes, the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association, e-bike brands and retailers are helping spread the word about the survey through their websites, social media accounts, email lists and other means.

"Meaningful data from an academic-based rider survey is a key component to understanding this rapidly emerging category," said Morgan Lommele, e-bike campaigns manager for the BPSA and PeopleForBikes. "Our two associations will work together to get the survey distributed to e-bike riders through our members, their retailers and e-bike user groups."

The survey went live on April 23 and will be active through June 23. MacArthur said he would like to have at least a draft report prepared by August, which would be in time for the fall trade shows.

Larry Pizzi, president of Raleigh Electric and head of the BPSA's e-bike committee, said Raleigh would distribute the survey through its social media accounts and email lists and is asking its retailers to do the same. Raleigh is timing the campaign to coincide with National Bike Month in May.

The survey, which takes 15 to 20 minutes to complete, asks e-bike owners what kind of e-bike they own, when they bought it, and how they use it.

The survey also includes some safety-related questions, such as whether riders have ever crashed on their e-bikes and whether the bike was a significant contributor to the accident.
As an incentive, consumers who take the survey will entered into a drawing to win one of 10 Visa gift cards worth $50.

MacArthur he will be interested to see how the demographics of respondents differ from the first survey.

The 2013 survey, he said, attracted a number of older white men who were fairly wealthy and probably more tech-savvy than the general population. But the industry knows that women account for a significant percentage of e-bike riders.

A significant number of respondents also said they had converted conventional bikes to e-bikes. "My belief is, in this next go-round, that is going to be a lower number," MacArthur said. "Now, factory models are much more prevalent, and there is a much broader range of companies and types of bikes that are available."

With 2,000 or so respondents, MacArthur said it would be possible to zero in on specific states or cities that have significant e-bike usage.

California, for example, is looking at giving incentives to people who buy e-bikes, so it would be useful to be able to see how Californians use e-bikes as compared with riders in other parts of North America.

To take the survey or link to it, visit tinyurl.com/ebikestudy.

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