If you’ve been lucky enough to have so far avoided being mowed down by a road-hogging hipster cyclist, your luck’s about to run out: the e-bike market is rapidly growing and is eventually coming to clog up an already traffic-jammed intersection near you.
The electric bike market, which in 2019 was valued at roughly $40.3 billion, is expected to hit more than $188 billion by 2030, according to recent reports. The positive pedaling projection is due to an increasing shift toward environmentally friendlier, fuel-efficient commuting alternatives.
The increase in e-bike sales will boost already bike-friendly hipster areas such as Portland, OR, a city in which more 5% of commuters are already pedaling to work, as well as other areas such as Seattle, Minneapolis/St. Paul areas and the NoCal region. And as the push away from automotive-congested streets becomes the norm, more and more commuters will turn to auto alternatives such as e-bikes in these metropolitan and suburban areas.
For those not yet in the know, an e-bike (or electric bike), is similar to a traditional bike, but comes equipped with a rechargeable battery-powered electric motor to assist with pedaling. The amount of pressure you pedal is matched by the e-bike’s torque sensor, meaning that an e-bike will never be completely motorized.
Most worldwide regulations limit an e-bike’s motor power to 250 watts — which will cut off power once speed’s hit 15.5 mph; however, in the USA, depending on classification, bikes can reach speeds up to 28 mph.
The electric bike market … is expected to reach more than $188 billion by 2030.
So, how much power do some of these e-bikes possess?
One e-bikemaker, Colorado-based Optibike, claims its newest model (pictured here) has the ability to climb Mount Everest on a single charge.
This news of the pending mass e-bike invasion on our city streets should give both e-cyclists and pedestrians time to prepare for the inevitable (and literal) collision course.
Emergency department data collected from 2000 to 2017 found that e-bikes were more than three times as likely to collide with pedestrians than traditional bikes or even scooters. A 2022 study out of Switzerland found that hospitalizations and chest trauma rates were higher among e-bikers, particularly the elderly, than traditional bike-riding cyclists.
So, strap on that helmet — we’re talking to you too, pedestrians— and happy trails.