Road tax and power myths put the brakes on e-bike rise

Myths about electric bikes, such as whether they need road tax, are dissuading people from buying one, a new study suggests.

Sales of e-bikes are increasing throughout the United Kingdom. Picture: TSPL
Sales of e-bikes are increasing throughout the United Kingdom. Picture: TSPL

Retail giant Halfords said it had discovered some people wrongly believed they needed insurance to ride an e-bike or that they can only be recharged at charging points.

Sales of e-bikes are increasing, but Halfords said its research indicated some people are holding back because of “strange” myths.

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Darren Smith, from Halfords, said: “There are thousands of e-bikes on the roads, cycling paths and bridleways across the UK, but our research shows there is still a huge amount of confusion about them.

“The myths surrounding e-bikes could impact on a decision to purchase one.

“Tackling air pollution and emissions are key issues on the Government’s agenda and we need to tackle these misconceptions and help people embrace the move to electric transport.”

Sales of e-bikes in the UK are rising. Around 11 per cent of total bike sales across the Halfords Group last year were from electric models and the cycling retailer’s sales of e-bikes have grown by 47 per cent over the past year.

One in ten of 2,000 people surveyed by Halfords believed e-bikes could not be ridden in the rain.

Electric bike hire schemes are becoming increasingly popular across Scotland.

The largest electric bike hire scheme north of the Border was launched last month, with 120 available in the Forth Valley region. E-bikes can be hired in Stirling, Falkirk and Clackmannanshire, with 12 charging stations across the council areas.

The £500,000 scheme, run by the Forth Environment Link charity and funded by Transport Scotland, NHS Forth Valley, Sestran and the local authorities, allows people to hire a bike for £2 per journey or a £65 annual fee for unlimited journeys.

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The e-bikes last for up to 60 miles on a single charge.

Glasgow has also rolled out its own e-bike hire scheme, with a total of 63 of the machines stationed across 21 docking stations across Glasgow. These were added to the 650 traditional bikes already in the city council-run hire scheme, which was launched five years ago.

The battery, which is integrated into the frame, is automatically recharged at docking stations as part of the locking mechanism on its front wheel. Electric bikes are also due to be added to Edinburgh’s Just East Cycles hire scheme.