Electric Bikes 101
Updated: Mar 16
Electric bikes (or e-bikes) have taken over, attracting celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio, Miley Cyrus, and even Prince Charles. New York mayor Bill de Blasio recently amended the Department of Transportation’s stance to now recognize “pedal assist” e-bikes that can’t exceed 20 miles per hour as legal transportation. In fact, an in-depth study predicts that by 2025, e-bikes will be a 24.3 billion U.S. dollar market! With their prevalence growing every day, it’s important to know the basics about e-bikes.
What Is an E-Bike?
At first glance, you would likely be unable to differentiate between an e-bike and a standard bike. The motor doesn’t replace peddling, it merely complements it. This is helpful when peddling up hills or into strong winds. Unlike a scooter, you control the degree to which you use the motor. Whether you pedal normally and only use the motor for a boost or rely on the motor to do the hard work while you enjoy the ride, it’s up to you. When its battery needs recharging, you can still operate it like a regular bike.
Can You Buy One at Any Bike Shop?
While e-bikes are growing in popularity, they’re still considered a specialty that only certain companies, like E-Lux Electric Bicycles, sell or provide for authorized dealerships.
Are They Legal?
Yes! E-bikes are a legal form of transportation, but they do carry certain restrictions depending on the local laws and regulations, similar to those recently designed for New York, and also vary outside of the U.S. For instance, in British Columbia, e-bikes with less than 500 watts of power that cannot exceed 32 kilometers per hour don’t require a license or insurance. In the UK, e-bikes with working pedals, less than 250 watts of power, and a built-in mechanism that cuts the power when it exceeds 15.5 miles per hour are treated like normal bikes, but you must be 14 or older to ride one.
What Are Their Health and Environmental Benefits?
E-bikes are a great alternative for senior citizens and those with knee joint issues or arthritis. Where riding a bike was previously too painful or exhausting, they can now enjoy this fun activity without the physical strain. Like standard bikes, e-bikes help cut down on the emissions created by alternative forms of transportation, like cars, trains, and buses. They also give you the opportunity to travel farther than you may have on a standard bike when you need to consistently pedal, decreasing its carbon footprint even more.
Now that you know more about e-bikes, it’s time to get pedaling! Visit your local e-bike dealer and find the perfect one for you today.