E-bike sales more than doubled in last year

Electric bikes are fast becoming a common mode of transport, with rapid growth in the number of people buying them.

But while purchases are on the rise, so too are crashes.

In early 2017, Mandy Toogood bought an e-bike and says her life changed. She suffers from lower back troubles but still wanted to remain active.

"The e-bike was a total solution to getting some exercise and also having a hell of a lot of fun," she says.

But it hasn't been all smooth cycling. A few months ago she crashed her bike when her tyre slipped into the gutter - an accident she puts down to "going too fast, being a little bit silly".

"I'd had a very long ride, I was a little bit tired."

ACC claims for e-bikes ballooned in 2017, with 83 claims costing at least $218,000. This is a significant rise from 21 claims at a cost of $36,000 in 2014.

The increase in claims has been put down to a boom in the numberof bikes being bought. Purchases jumped from 10,000 in 2016 to more than 22,000 in 2017.

The rise in e-bike sales is good news for retailers like Maurice Wells of Electric Bike Hub. 

"It's definitely gone from a really niche product to something that, so I'm told, people are actually talking about at dinner, which just blows me away every time I hear it."

The uptick in popularity also means an increased risk of accidents, something e-bike consultant Megan Page knows all about. Also known as 'Electric Meg', she runs courses for businesses on how to ride safely.

"A lot of people haven't ridden for many years, or are coming back to the sport or activity of cycling, and cycling carries some risk like any sport."

Despite her accident, Megan Toogood won't be kept away from her e-bike. After just one month of use, her blood pressure, blood sugar levels and cholesterol all dropped - but aside from the health benefits, she says it's just too much fun to give up.

"It's too enjoyable. It's an awful lot of fun, you feel like a teenager again. And you're getting exercise and fresh air and sunshine at the same time."