E-bikes Are on the Rise in Belgium: One in Six Riders Uses an E-bike

Easy E-Biking - bike lane city, helping to make electric biking practical and fun

The use of electric bicycles is in constant evolution in Belgium and one Belgian out of six uses an e-bike, according to the main findings of the 8th edition of the National Road Safety Survey conducted by Vias. The survey focused on the use of bicycles this year.

The Institute For Road Safety adds that the number of cyclists, in general, is also increasing in Brussels (from 28% to 30%) and in Flanders (from 63% to 69 %), but not in Wallonia (which is falling a bit, from 25% to 24 %).

With 16% of riders in 2019, the use of electric bicycles continues to grow in Belgium, up from 10% in 2018 and 13% in 2019. The Vias Institute also points out that bicycles with pedal assistance rarely exceed a speed of 25km/h, which is a predefined speed limit by law across Europe.

Read also: Traditional or speed e-bike? – in this article.

Nevertheless, the use of a car still remains the most popular mode of transport for Belgians. Last year, 83% of Belgians drove their cars. Only one person in three in Wallonia used public transport in 2019. In Brussels, an equal proportion of inhabitants used public transport and the car (64%).

Read also: Can electric bikes replace cars in home-to-work commutes? – in this article.

Speed remains the major issue raised by respondents to the Vias survey in terms of risk behaviors. “The percentage of drivers reporting exceeding the speed limit each month has increased, especially outside built-up areas: from 27% to 32% on motorways and from 31% to 36% outside built-up areas”, relays Vias in its press release.

While the fight against drank-driving remains one of the most important battlegrounds in terms of road safety, Vias reveals that half of the cyclists surveyed admitted to riding their bikes under the influence of alcohol. 

The Flemish (57%) are significantly more numerous than the Walloons (23%), says the press release, which also reveals that 54% of checked cyclists involved in an accident on weekend nights were under the influence of alcohol.

Another fact raised by the Vias survey is that four out of ten cyclists (43%) report using the bicycle path the wrong way round. “The risk of having an accident with a motor vehicle is increased because the driver is not expecting to see a cyclist coming up the wrong way,” explains Vias.

Finally, the Institute for Road Safety pleads for better awareness of the generalized “30 km/h” speed limit zones in city centers, even though more than half of the citizens are opposed to this rule.

Every year, the Vias Institute carries out a major survey on the travel behaviors of Belgians, their feeling of security in traffic, and their adherence to certain road safety measures.

Read also: In Bavarian Alps electric bikes are not always welcome – in this article.

What are e-bike recharge costs?

In order to know exactly how much you are spending per recharge, you need to know the capacity of e-bike’s battery and the price of the energy.

Easy E-Biking - electric bicycle removable battery, helping to make electric biking practical and fun

Calculate your battery capacity

Electric bicycle manufacturers express battery capacity in ampere-hours (Ah) or watt-hours (Wh). However, comparing these 2 units makes no sense. Fortunately, there is a simple trick to convert ampere/hours to watt/hours. Simply multiply ampere/hours by the battery voltage, expressed in volts. 

If the battery capacity is 10 ampere/hours, and the voltage is 36 volts, the recharging capacity will be 360 watts/hours. In other words: for 1 hour, this battery can provide 360 watts of power.

If you pedal with 180 watts of power, there will be sufficient battery capacity for 2 hours of riding. This gives a good idea of your consumption.

Read also: What are the differences between e-bike batteries? – in this article.

According to the Dutch Cycling Federation, one can ride 35-40 kilometers on an electric bicycle with a battery capacity of 300 watts/hour if you are using the electric assistance a lot. In case you do not use electric assistance that much, the riding distance can increase to around 90 kilometers. 

Also consider the impact of other factors such as the weather, tire pressure, the gradients of the course, as well as the weight of your saddlebag and your own weight. 

Read also: How far can e-bike go? What is e-bike range? – in this article.

Good to know: Bosch has developed a range calculator for e-bikes on its website that allows you to take all these aspects into account.

Electricity consumption by an e-bike: 0.16 euros per recharge

To find out the cost of a recharge, you need to multiply the recharge capacity in watt/hour (Wh) by the cost of electricity per kilowatt/hour (kWh). 

Let’s take a battery with a capacity of 500 Wh (0.5 kWh). Such capacity is pretty common with the current e-bike models. Let’s also take the highest cost of electricity in Europe (Germany), which at the time of writing was 0.31 euros per kilowatt/hour. 

This corresponds to 0.5 kWh x EUR 0.32 per kWh = EUR 0.16 per recharge.

More than 50% cheaper in the US

The cost of recharging a battery of an electric bicycle is therefore very low. If we take the cost of electricity in the US, which is around 0.14 euros per kWh (0.15 US dollars per kWh), we will pay 0.07 euros per recharge, which is more than 50% cheaper compared to Germany.

Even given that an electric bicycle spends very little money, it is still worthwhile to regularly look for the best energy supplier in order to further reduce the costs associated with your consumption.

Read also: How much does it cost to own an e-bike? – in this article.

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