With electric bikes gaining popularity, some misinformation has popped up. We’ve gathered some of the biggest eBike myths that we’ve heard so we can clear up any misconceptions you might have heard. If you are interested in testing out an eBike to see if it’s the right fit for you, call us at, The eBike Store. We offer rentals and guided tours along with brand new electric bicycles, so we know you’ll find something you like!
-Myth: They go way too fast!
Truth: This misconception likely stems from an electric bike having a motor, but that doesn’t make it a motorcycle! Electric bikes typically travel at a similar speed to a standard pedal bikes. A Class One eBike’s motor cuts off once the speed reaches 20 mph, which is the top assisted speed of the bike, not its average speed. While eBikes go about two to three miles per hour faster while on flat and uphill surfaces, studies have shown that eBikes are slower than standard bikes, depending on terrain and how much power the rider is producing.
-Myth: Electric bike riders are dangerous!
Truth: We’re not sure where this myth came from, but it couldn’t be further from reality. There have been no studies that show eBike riders are a danger to public safety. The fact is, nearly all bike riders, eBike or otherwise, are generally very respectful of the rules of the road.
-Myth: They’re too heavy!
Truth: While it is true that an electric bicycle is heavier than a standard bike, it has less effect on the situation than you might think. The bigger contributor to the overall weight in bicycling is actually the weight of the rider, not that of the bike. If you’ve ever rode a standard bike with loaded panniers, it’s very similar. That’s how little weight is actually added by the motor. You won’t even notice it’s heavier than a standard bike unless you’re actively lifting it up.
-Myth: If eBikes are allowed, it will lead to full motorized access on non-motorized trails.
Truth: The comparison between a pedal-assist eBike and something like an ATV or off-road motorcycle starts and ends with the motor. Electric bikes don’t travel as fast and don’t expel any combustion, unlike fully motorized vehicles. With no emissions and no noise, an eBike doesn’t have any of the undesirable features of fully motorized vehicles. Regulations for motorized vehicles have been on the books for years prior to the invention of the eBike, and most of those regulations aren’t applicable to electric bicycles.
-Myth: Biking paths and lanes will become unbearable!
Truth: Most eBike riders start out as traditional bike riders, which means they have the same respect for the rules of the road as anyone else. Riding an eBike is not that far removed from riding a standard bike. Really, if someone wants to break the law, they don’t need an eBike to do it.
-Myth: More studies need to be done before eBikes are allowed on trails!
Truth: There have been multiple studies done on how eBike riders interact with standard bike riders on trails. One such study actually found that once a standard bike rider tried out an eBike, they became much more accepting of eBikes and had less uncertainty about them. When the city of Boulder, Colorado conducted a study of electric bicycle use on shared trails they found minimal conflicts between trail users, observed no crashes, there were no negative verbal interactions, and safe passing was practiced by everyone involved.
-Myth: An eBike rider will go off the trail further than normal, run out of battery and get stuck.
Truth: There is danger involved in any outdoor pursuit. It’s important to practice safe exploration and understand your limits. No matter if you’re riding an electric bike, a standard bike, or your own two feet on a hike, it’s possible to get into a scary situation you need to be rescued from. No matter how you’re traveling, it’s imperative you take the proper precautions to ensure the safety of yourself and others.
-Myth: It’s impossible to ticket an eBike rider for speeding!
Truth: While it is possible to monitor excessive speed — for both standard and electric bikes — using a radar gun, it has been shown this is an inefficient use of a trail manager’s time. There has yet to be a real issue found with speeding eBikes, with proper education and clear signage indicating safe speeds showing more of a positive effect than consistent policing and ticketing of speeding. Like we said earlier, an eBike travels roughly the same speed as a standard bike, so they pose no more of a threat than any other bike.
-Myth: Electric bike riders don’t know trail etiquette!
Truth: With most eBike riders starting out as standard bike riders, they know proper trail etiquette just as well as any other bikers. Because the average age of an eBike rider is between 45–65 years old, they have many years of trail experience under their belt. Not only that, in some areas a special license is required to operate an electric bike, meaning they have to pass a test regarding rules and etiquette. Hitting a bike’s maximum speed or passing unsafely don’t really hold most riders’ interest.
-Myth: An electric bike is cheating!
Truth: With the assistance of an eBike’s motor, longtime bike riders have been able to continue their favorite pastime as they get older without trouble. That little bit of help can also get someone that isn’t as comfortable with their riding skills up to speed with a seasoned trail rider, allowing them to bond and explore nature together. An electric bike isn’t cheating because it’s not a competition. Electric bikes are actually incredibly empowering and allow an entry point no matter what your experience level might be. Not only that, it will allow you to go further without getting as tired, extending your trip so you can see even more amazing sights or commute to work instead of getting stuck in traffic.
We hope this has set aside some of the uneasiness some people have when it comes to eBikes. Electric bikes are a great option for older riders, someone recovering from an injury, and biking newbies alike. If you want to test it out for yourself, call us at The eBike Store. We’re incredibly passionate about electric bikes and want to share our excitement with you. So whether you want to rent, go on a beautiful guided tour here in Portland, or you want to buy your first (or second, or third) electric bike, we’d love to hear from you! Happy riding!