Research from MSI Consultants has concluded that the majority of the Dutch would like to see electric cyclists wear a helmet. In addition, age restrictions for young and old are favoured, all of which address safety concerns for this group of cyclists.
The topic of MSI’s National Choice Stress Monitor changes monthly, with this particular research surveying 1,000 Dutch people aged 18-years and older on the use of electric bicycles versus regular bicycles and in particular, any safety concerns. 41% of those who responded own an electric bicycle while 34% are considering buying one. The cost of purchasing a new electric bicycle remains the stumbling block. The vast majority believe that they are not affordable for everyone, and those considering the move from regular bicycles have smaller budgets.
Additional findings from the survey include usage of the e-bikes. Grocery shopping was the most common use at 58%, while sports activities and meeting family members were also popular at 49%. Usage on holiday and recreational activities that aren’t a daily occurrence ranked at 38%, while commuting use amounted to 37%. Bad weather was the fundamental barrier to daily two-wheeled commuting.
Safety in numbers
Road safety remains a concern for those surveyed, particularly for e-bikes reaching higher speeds. For example, 55% are adamant that bicycle helmets should be compulsory for any e-bikes that reach 25 km/h. For those aged 50+ who took part, the percentage was even higher. One respondent commented, ‘Electric bicycles go faster than you think and the impact is greater in an accident than with regular bicycles.’ Customised electric bicycles were also a concern with 65% surveyed (and 73% of women) wanting police to enforce some regulation.
The safety concerns and helmet obligation suggestions haven’t waned the popularity of e-bikes, except among the younger generation, who said that they would lose some interest in electric bikes if helmets were compulsory.
54% of those surveyed also favoured minimum and maximum age restrictions for electric bike riders at 16-years and 75-years accordingly. Recklessness in the younger generation and fragility in those older riders was seen as a concern amongst both regular and e-bikes users, with one commenting, ‘Children go too fast and the elderly are fragile’.
Of course, those over 60 saw it differently and less discriminately, highlighting that it was down to ‘personal alertness, fitness and attentiveness’ rather than age. MSI Consultants were also reminded that it was good for the well-being of the older generation, with one respondent adding that the electric bicycle, ‘can be a fun outing for the elderly.’