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Friday, August 19, 2022

What is the story with electric bikes and the surge in popularity?

 

RUSS TILTON
Guest Writer
news@lbknews.com

Electric bikes can be seen everywhere — commuting to work, running errands and with people taking leisurely rides in your neighborhood. To fit into the electric bike category the bicycle is required to have a seat and functional pedals (not a scooter).

The primary design of an electric bike is to enhance or supplement the rider’s effort pedaling so the rider still gets the benefit of exercise. The overall concept is to provide clean alternative transportation and often keeps riders on bikes or gets riders back on bikes that may not have been riding for years.

Bicycling is a social activity with many people riding together or in groups. The option to use the electric “assistance” is intended to level the playing field so everyone can ride together without concern for physical limitations or, in Florida, to overcome that ever persistent headwind.

* Florida law categorizes electric bikes into three classes

1) A “class 1 electric bicycle” is a bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 20 miles per hour.

2) A “class 2 electric bicycle” is a bicycle equipped with a motor that may be used exclusively to propel the bicycle, and that is not capable of providing assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 20 miles per hour.

3) A “class 3 electric bicycle” is a bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 28 miles per hour, and is equipped with a speedometer.

According to a 2021 survey from The National Bike Dealers Association, 50% of electric bike owners are new to bicycling. This statistic is important to our community as it indicates more people are embracing this alternative form of transportation. This also indicates that bicycles may be reducing the number of trips formally made by automobile.

In sum, the health reasons, the mobility advantage and the ability to reduce car trips all while adventuring outdoors add up to compelling reasons to get on a bike today.

Russ Tilton is Business Development Manager of E Bikes and Cycles Company in Sarasota.

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