Dutch Insurance company Univé concludes that e-bikes effectively help to improve the mobility of seniors. Their conclusion is based on CBS data (Dutch organization for statistics) about cycling behavior between 2010 and 2017.
For the group of 65 years and older, the statistics show that a total of 13.4% have been cycling faster, whereas for the group up to 50 years, the data barely shows any increase of speed. What’s more, the group of people above 78 years have been riding on average 33% more kilometres.
According to Univé, growth in recorded speed and distance is based on the ever-growing popularity of e-bikes amongst seniors. However, as a result risks on injuries are increasing accordingly.
In 2019, a total of 420,000 e-bikes have been sold in the Netherlands based on data from RAI and BOVAG. Parallel with the growing e-bike sales, Univé note an increase in the sales of bicycle insurances in 2020. 90% of the group of 65 years and older insure their e-bike, while this is 50% for the group between 30 and 65 years and only a third for the group younger than 30.
Etienne de Cooker, director of Univé Schade, acknowledges the benefits of e-bikes. “E-bikes are increasingly easy to use. That allows elderly people to remain independent for their mobility for a longer time and are therefore less reliant on friends and family. Increased speed and less resistance keeps their world big. Moreover, they keep moving. All aspects combined lead to an increased wellbeing and vitality for this age group.”
According to de Cooker, the downside of increased speed and more kilometers is the number of traffic injuries onvolving e-bikes. “Often, these are accidents not involving anyone else. This shows that risks related to higher speed are sometimes underestimated and that potentially risky traffic situations are sometimes 0overlooked.”
2018 traffic safety data by ‘VeiligheidNL’ endorse concerns about traffic safety related to e-bike usage amongst seniors. In the last ten years, cycling accidents requiring A&E intervention have increases by 30% , 40% of these victims in 2018 were 55 years and older. As for the e-bike accidents, 85% of the victims were +55 years.
According to De Cooker, rather than the e-bike itself being dangerous, risks are more related to the experience of the rider.