Introduction: Electrically assisted bicycles (e-bikes) have become increasingly popular in the past decade. This review aimed to scope the literature to identify what is known about the frequency and duration of e-bike use, their impact on travel behaviour, the purposes for which e-bikes are used and factors associated with e-bike use. In addition, the review aimed to identify gaps in the literature and highlight future research priorities.
Methods: A scoping review of published and unpublished literature in any language. Relevant articles were identified through searching six databases, two grey literature platforms and reference lists. Searches were conducted until August 2019. Data were extracted using a standardised extraction form and descriptive and narrative results are provided.
Results: Seventy-six studies met the inclusion criteria. The volume of research has increased since 2017 and primarily examines personal e-bike use, as opposed to e-bike share/rental schemes or organizational e-bike initiatives. The use of e-bikes increased the frequency and duration of cycling compared to conventional cycling and may help overcome barriers associated with conventional cycling. The uptake in e-cycling largely substitutes for conventional cycling or private car journeys, though the degree of substitution depends on the primary transport mode prior to e-bike acquisition. E-bikes are primarily used for utilitarian reasons, though older adults also engage in recreational e-cycling. Research priorities include quantitatively examining e-bike use, their impact on overall transport behaviour and identifying determinants of e-cycling to inform intervention and policy.
Conclusions: This review suggests that the personal use of e-bikes is associated with a reduction in motorized vehicle use, which has potential positive impacts on the environment and health. The impacts of e-bike share schemes and workplace initiatives are less well understood. Evidence describing the purposes for which e-bikes are used, and the factors associated with usage, are useful to inform e-cycling promotion policy.
Keywords: Active travel; Travel behaviour; e-bikes; e-cycling.
© 2020 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.