User characteristics and trip patterns of e-bike use in the Netherlands

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractScientific


The sale of electrically assisted bicycles (e-bikes or pedelecs) is growing at a rapid rate across Europe. Within Europe, the Netherlands is one of the biggest markets for e-bike sales with 10.4 sales per 10,000 people, roughly equating to 17 per cent of all Dutch bicycle sales. Around 1 million e-bikes are now in ownership out of a total stock of 22 million bicycles for 17 million Dutch inhabitants. Whereas market data is available describing sales trends of e-bikes, there is limited understanding of the user characteristics and trip patterns. In our paper we will provide an overview of user characteristics and trip patterns of e-bike use in the Netherlands, based on cross sectional data from the Dutch National Travel Survey (NTS) and longitudinal data from the Netherlands Mobility Panel (MPN). The Dutch NTS and MPN are the first surveys of its kind to include the e-bikes as a separate modality, including user characteristics such as age and gender and trip characteristics such as distances covered and travel speed. The results indicate that e-bikes now account for around 15 per cent of total distance travelled by bicycle in the Netherlands - roughly equivalent to 2 billion kilometres per year. Average journey distance covered by e-bikes is 5 kilometres – a third further than conventional cycling (3.5 kilometres). E-biking is particularly significant among the older population and accounts for over 40 percent of all cycling kilometres travelled by adults age 65 and above and almost 25 percent for adults aged 50 up to 65 years. Older adults report using their e-bikes for leisure and shopping whilst for younger adults commuting plays a more significant role. In recent years a shift seems visible to younger users and an increase in the share of work-related and shop-related trips. In our paper we will discuss characteristics of e-bike use in the Netherlands, trip patterns and trip purposes as well as some recent trends, based on cross sectional NTS data and longitudinal MPN data since 2013. We will use descriptive statistics to give an overview of recent trends in the Netherlands and to increase understanding in user characteristics and trip patterns. We will also show to what degree e-bikes are substituting regular bike or car trips, and whether e-bikes are facilitating longer trips that people wouldn't have done otherwise. Whether these trends and patterns are indicative of the developments in other western counties will be discussed as well. The contribution builds upon existing scientific knowledge about spatial and social patterns and trends in (e-)cycling within a mature cycling context (as published by Harms et al. 2014 and Jones et al 2016) and recent research focusing on the substitution of other modes by e-bikes (Kroesen 2017). References Harms, Lucas, Luca Bertolini, and Marco Te Brömmelstroet. "Spatial and social variations in cycling patterns in a mature cycling country exploring differences and trends." Journal of Transport & Health 1.4 (2014): 232-242. Jones, Tim, Lucas Harms, and Eva Heinen. "Motives, perceptions and experiences of electric bicycle owners and implications for health, wellbeing and mobility." Journal of Transport Geography 53 (2016): 41-49. Kroesen, Maarten. "To what extent do e-bikes substitute travel by other modes? Evidence from the Netherlands." Transportation Research Part D 53 (2017) 377–387
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventIATBR 2018: 15th International Conference on Travel Behaviour Research - Santa Barbara, United States
Duration: 15 Jul 201820 Jul 2018
Conference number: 15


ConferenceIATBR 2018: 15th International Conference on Travel Behaviour Research
Abbreviated titleIATBR 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySanta Barbara
Internet address


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