Speed pedelecs are the future for longer cycling journeys, says Dutch trade body

28th June, 2017 in Electric bike news

A recent mobility study in the Netherlands saw the residents of 76 towns and cities cycling more than driving for short trips of up to 7.5km (4.6 miles). For a cycling nation this may not be entirely surprising, nor the fact that the Dutch continue to look at ways of increasing the percentage of journeys cycled overall.

The same study also concluded that more people are cycling for longer trips of between 7.5km and 15km (9.3 miles). Goudappel Coffeng, a mobility research company behind the study, highlighted findings on bicycle use for slightly longer journeys: “This bicycle share is expected to increase in the coming years, due to the rise of regional bicycle highways, fast-track routes and the bullish sales of electric bikes.”

The organisation stated: “Since the 1970s, an intensive policy has been taken to make cycling in cities and regions safer and to stimulate cycling. The Dutch are about the only people to ride outside of built-up areas. This is due to good cycling trails and low speed on rural roads (60 km/h zone), where in other countries high school students get a free bus card and thus do not have to ride a bike. However, cycling is healthier and greener. Thanks to these high figures, the Netherlands is still cycling country number 1.”

The company believes increasing the distances people cycle will continue to benefit both the environment and wellbeing of the nation, while playing a key role for a ‘cost-conscious’ government looking at the country’s infrastructure.

The Dutch trade body for automotives and cycles, RAI, believes speed pedelecs have a valuable role to play in bridging the gap between bicycle and car.

New rules for speed pedelecs (assistance to 28mph) being ridden on Dutch roads cite that speed pedelecs purchased after 1st Jan 2017 are issued with a moped license plate, with the cyclist having least an AM class driving licence. The cyclist needs to wear either a helmet approved for moped use or a speed pedelec helmet conforming to a new technical standard – (NTA) 8776 – which offers protection against impact during higher speeds.  Currently speed pedelecs are not allowed on cycle paths however.

RAI is researching the possibility of speed pedelecs being allowed access to some of the 300km of cycle highway networks in the Netherlands; those offering sufficient capacity may be suitable for use by faster e-bikes in conjunction with a national awareness campaign. RAI wants to encourage the take up of speed pedelecs, viewing them as an attractive, durable, innovation that offers “huge opportunities” and a “complete alternative to the car,” to enable more people to cycle longer distances. RAI believes this will increase urban mobility and accessibility, underpinned by the health benefits of active travel.

RAI recently issued sales figures for electric bikes in 2016, which showed a drop from 983,000 units in 2015 to 928,000 in 2016. The average price point per unit (across all bicycles) exceeded 1,000 euros for the first time however, which still led to an overall increase in revenue from total bicycle sales.