Physical activity of electric bicycle users compared to conventional bicycle users and non-cyclists: Insights based on health and transport data from an online survey in seven European cities

Alberto Castro*, Mailin Gaupp-Berghausen, Evi Dons, Arnout Standaert, Michelle Laeremans, Anna Clark, Esther Anaya-Boig, Tom Cole-Hunter, Ione Avila-Palencia, David Rojas-Rueda, Mark Nieuwenhuijsen, Regine Gerike, Luc Int Panis, Audrey de Nazelle, Christian Brand, Elisabeth Raser, Sonja Kahlmeier, Thomas Götschi, PASTA Consortium

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Physical activity has been widely associated with beneficial health effects. The use of electric-assist bicycles (e-bikes) can lead to increased or decreased physical activity, depending on the transport mode substituted. This study aimed to compare physical activity levels of e-bikers and conventional bicycle users (cyclists) as well as across e-bike user groups based on the transport mode substituted by e-bike. Physical activity, transport and user related parameters were analysed. Data from the longitudinal on-line survey of the PASTA project were used. The survey recruited over 10,000 participants in seven European cities. Physical activity levels, measured in Metabolic Equivalent Task minutes per week (MET min/wk), were similar among e-bikers and cyclists (4463 vs. 4085). E-bikers reported significantly longer trip distances for both e-bike (9.4 km) and bicycle trips (8.4 km) compared to cyclists for bicycle trips (4.8 km), as well as longer daily travel distances for e-bike than cyclists for bicycle (8.0 vs. 5.3 km per person, per day, respectively). Travel-related activities of e-bikers who switched from cycling decreased by around 200 MET min/wk., while those switching from private motorized vehicle and public transport gained around 550 and 800 MET min/wk. respectively. Therefore, this data suggests that e-bike use leads to substantial increases in physical activity in e-bikers switching from private motorized vehicle and public transport, while net losses in physical activity in e-bikers switching from cycling were much less due to increases in overall travel distance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100017
JournalTransportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives
Volume1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jun 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the European Commission under the Seventh Framework Program under the call FP7-HEALTH-2013-INNOVATION-1 .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Authors

Keywords

  • Electric bicycles
  • Health
  • Physical activity
  • Transport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Automotive Engineering
  • Transportation
  • General Environmental Science
  • Urban Studies
  • Management Science and Operations Research

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