Research has found that people who ride motorized e-bikes tend to take fewer and less physically demanding trips.
According to experts from Hanover Medical School in Germany, the bikes may encourage people to try cycling, reaping health benefits along the way.
The motor of an e-bike kick in when the rider pedals like a regular bike.
Generally, people can adjust the bike’s level of assistance and turn off the motorized function entirely.
Researchers compared 629 conventional cyclists with 1,250 users of e-bikes in a study published in the BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine journal.
In this study, researchers examined whether participants met the World Health Organization’s (WHO) target of 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week.
On four consecutive weeks, participants wore activity trackers to monitor their time, distance, and heart rate while cycling.
A study found that e-bike riders were older, weighed more, and had more health problems than conventional cyclists.
Conventional bike users (35%) were more likely to achieve 150 minutes of MVPA per week than e-bikers (22%), with e-bikers around half as likely to achieve exercise targets.
The e-bike group spent less time in periods of MVPA during cycling per week, typically by 70 minutes.
The study found that those using conventional bikes also took more cycling trips, on average six, than those using e-bikes, on average four.
E-bikers also spent more time on their bikes, clocking up an average of 6 minutes and 30 seconds more than conventional cyclists.
E-bikes’ average heart rates were also higher, suggesting greater exertion: 119 bpm versus 111 bpm for conventional cyclists.
According to the researchers, e-bike use is associated with a lower probability of meeting WHO targets for moderate-to-vigorous physical activity than bicycle use.
The expected health effects of e-bikes might be higher for bicycle users, which is an essential factor for policymakers when discussing state subsidies.
The popularity of e-bikes may facilitate recreational cycling and active commuting, particularly for those who are restricted by age or illness and wouldn’t otherwise cycle.”
According to the study, e-bike cyclists were 63% more likely to be involved in a traffic accident than conventional cyclists.
The study found that 3.4 million e-bikes were sold in the EU in 2019, compared to just 98,000 in 2006.
By 2030, that number is expected to reach 62 million.