Electric bikes on the rise

E-bike sales spike as Queenslanders look for cheaper and more environmentally friendly ways to commute and have fun.

Demand for electric bikes (e-bikes) has hit top gear with sales doubling as part of a COVID-induced spike in bicycle sales across Queensland.

Founder of bicycle retailer 99 Bikes, Matt Turner, said while demand from Queenslanders for all types of bikes was up 84% since 2018, it was the sale of e-bikes that had really taken off.

“Since 2018, sales of e-bikes in Queensland have jumped by 143%,” Mr Turner said.

“Between April and December last year sales jumped by 92% as people emerged from lockdowns, and sought safer, cheaper, healthier and environmentally friendly ways to get around. 

Woman sitting next to her e-bike

“E-commuter bikes, both standard and foldable, have proved very popular while the e-mountain bike has taken the mountain biking world by storm and introduced a whole new demographic to the sport.”

Mr Turner said the perception that e-bikes were just for older people was a myth.

“E-bikes are great for people of all ages and abilities,” he said.

“Most of our buyers are people aged 25-plus who want to cycle to work but have been put off by concerns about their fitness, how long it will take, or just the thought of arriving hot and sweaty at the office.

“An e-bike takes away all of those factors and the research suggests that once they have an e-bike, 93% of people starting biking to work every day, which is great news for people’s health and wellbeing and the environment.”

Brisbane’s Tessa Jones, 28, (pictured below) bought an e-bike in late 2020 to make her commute to work easier.

“I'd recommend an electric bike, just because it's so much easier I get to work so much fresher and less puffed but I'm still staying fit and keeping healthy,” Ms Jones said.

“It's good for your health and for the environment. I think anything to minimise the number of cars on the road is definitely a step in the right direction.”

e-bike owner Tessa Jones.

RACQ Head of Public Policy Rebecca Michael welcomed the news more people were embracing e-bikes.

“If more of us are taking up active transport options like e-bikes, it will really help get cars off the road and reduce congestion in the south-east,” Dr Michael said.

Dr Michael said it was critical cyclists were familiar with the rules before they started cruising the streets.

“Ultimately, the same road rules apply as when riding a normal bicycle,” she said.

“So please make sure you’re wearing an approved bicycle helmet and displaying lights and reflectors when riding at night and in bad weather. 

“You can ride an e-bike on all roads and paths in Queensland, except where bicycles are prohibited, but make sure you keep left and give way to pedestrians when on a footpath or a shared path.”

e-bike rider

AusCycling General Manager of Participation Nicole Adamson said e-bikes had an important role to play in increasing the uptake of cycling in Australia.

“One of the silver linings of COVID-19 has been the thousands of people that have fallen back in love with riding or taken up cycling as a new hobby,” Ms Adamson said. 

“Our goal is to make Australia a nation of bike riders, and the exciting thing about e-bikes is that it gives everyone, regardless of their fitness level, the option of riding a bike and we are excited to see the riding community in Australia grow as a result.”