Women faster than men on e-bikes
Women ride a lot faster than men on the electric bicycle. This is clear from the Monitor project by the safety institute Vias and the FPS Mobility, for which more than 10.000 Belgians accurately track all their journeys.
This shows, among other things, that men ride an ordinary bicycle at an average speed of 17 km/h. At 14 km/h women do it a little slower. Remarkably enough, with bicycles with pedal assistance this is suddenly the opposite.
Men ride on average 18 km/h, women 22 km/h – 8 km/h faster than they would do on a traditional bicycle. It seems that women more often choose the highest position for their pedal assistance.
Away with the cliché
The cliché that women are more cautious, have slightly less pedalling power and therefore cycle a little slower – correct with the average cyclist on a classic two-wheeler – is therefore partly consigned to the wastepaper basket.
Ingrid Peeters, director at Okra Sport, who has organized popular ‘safe electric cycling’ courses for people over 55 for years, thinks that the man’s pride is in it for something. “Men will wait longer with the purchase of an electric bicycle because they want to do it on their own for as long as possible. They don’t want to give in.”
Own muscle strength
This is also clear for the research. While 57% of the classic bicycles have a man on the saddle, that is only 46% for the e-bikes. Men who ride electric two-wheelers are on average almost two years older than women (54,6 years for the men versus 52, 9 for the woman).
“When men eventually change tack, they want to continue to display their muscle power. Which is why they often set the electric drive to a low setting. Women tend to think: ‘I have the bike now, I can make less effort, so why shouldn’t I do that?’ While for a man pride plays a role.”
Yet there are also risks associated with the high-speed at which women cycle. Classic cyclists experience 1,33 dangerous situations per 1.000 minutes. For example, sudden braking, losing balance or suddenly having to avoid an obstacle. In case of e-bikes driving 4 km/h faster, this figure rises to 1,75 per 1.000. This is even 2,18 among women.
Just like the sales of e-bikes, the number of accidents is also on the rise. In 2017, a total of 980 accidents involving an electric bicycle were recorded, but in the first half of 2018 alone the number rose to 606. In 2017 there were 745, in 2015 518.
Of all the kilometres we travel, we do 5,2% by bike. About 1 in 20, in other words. One fifth of these kilometres are done electrically. A precise comparison with the past is not possible, because the method of the study has changed. “But other studies show that the number of kilometres traveled by bicycle is in any case increasing,” says Vias spokesman, Stef Willems.
More e-bikes in Wallonia
In Wallonia there are fewer cyclists, but the share of electric cyclists is higher. More than one in five (21%) do so with the aid of pedal assistance, compared to 14% in Flanders and 8% in Brussels. This is also logical, since in the south of the country the distances to be covered are greater and the routes are much less flat.
For the sake of clarity, as an alternative to the car, the e-bike is certainly healthier. But indeed: on an ordinary bike you move more intensively and burn more energy than on an e-bike.
However, when riding electric, you often cycle longer distances. For example, the average route of an ordinary cyclist is 5,2 km, that of an electric cyclist 9,6 km. And you use your bike more often, so you still meet the Movement standard. That is at least 150 minutes per week of moderately intensive exercise or at least 75 minutes per week of high intensity movements.