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University survey seeks e-bike riders

Published April 19, 2013

PORTLAND, OR — Do you ride an electric bike or know someone who does?

A university researcher is asking U.S. e-bike riders to participate in an online survey at

The survey is collecting data about consumer choices and the role that e-bikes can play in the future of urban transportation in North America.

It asks such questions as “How are they using their bike? Why did they purchase their bike? What do they like about it? Issues with their bike?” said John MacArthur, sustainable transportation program manager for the Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium at Portland State Univ.

MacArthur said more than 330 riders have taken the survey. He’s seeking at least 400 respondents.

MacArthur is also launching a study that aims to put 120 Portlanders on e-bikes for one month at a time. He said the study will attempt to find out just how much of an incentive electric bikes can provide to non-cyclists.

“We’re going to be looking at people who typically don’t bike,” MacArthur said. “Is an electric bike something that will help them participate in active transportation?”

The study, expected to launch by the end of this month, will use 30 throttle-controlled e-bikes provided by Conscious Commuter, a Portland startup. The study will target women, riders over the age of 55, people who commute more than five miles a day, and riders who have may have a physical impairment. The study will use bike-mounted GPS units and rider diaries to track usage.

“We’re going to be giving those bikes out to a full range of different types of people and see what they did beforehand, how and when they used the bike, and their perceptions of would they purchase an e-bike now that they’ve tried it out,” MacArthur said.

Bob Vander Woude, co-founder of Conscious Commuter, said the study could help the industry “figure out why are so few people in America using electric bikes when there are 30 million of them being ridden in China and 1.5 million or more in Europe. Why aren’t people adopting them in the United States?”


Topics associated with this article: Electric bike

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