, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 81–96 | Cite as

E-bikes and urban transportation: emerging issues and unresolved questions

  • Geoffrey RoseEmail author


A range of factors, including improvements in battery and motor technology coupled with innovative industrial design, are contributing to the emergence of electric bicycles (E-bikes) with greater range and enhanced performance. This paper examines this emerging vehicle type within the context of sustainable transport. Mobility, safety and environmental impacts are considered. While governments could employ a range of policy instruments to respond to the opportunities and threats presented by these vehicles, the primary focus internationally is on vehicle standards. A review of regulations in different countries highlights little consistency in the parameters used to regulate E-bikes. Unresolved issues are identified to guide future research on this vehicle type.


Bicycle transportation Electric power assisted bicycles Regulations Health and safety 



This research was supported under the Australian Research Council’s Linkage Projects funding scheme (Project LP100200197) and conducted in conjunction with VicRoads, the Victorian Department of Transport, the Transport Accident Commission, the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria and the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries. The views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily those of the Australian Research Council or any of the organizations associated with the project. The author also gratefully acknowledges the constructive feedback from the reviewers that helped to strengthen an earlier draft of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil Engineering, Institute of Transport StudiesMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia

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