E-bikes are a game changing innovation for transport. With sprawling cities, hills and occasional unfavourable weather, e-bikes make cycling a whole lot easier and more accessible to riders of all levels. A huge advantage is that e-bikes allow you to significantly reduce your reliance on fossil fuels to get from A to B.
Globally e-bikes are booming in popularity. In 2021 a whooping 75,000 units were imported to New Zealand and this number is only expected to grow.
E-bikes have created a bridge between conventional bicycles and motorised vehicles. They have a number of benefits; allowing people to carry heavier loads, travel further with less energy expenditure, increase commuting efficiency with a guaranteed travel time and expand one’s active travel radius. E-bikes are heavier and travel faster than traditional bikes therefore some training can be helpful for new riders.
E-bikes and cargo bikes are becoming increasingly common across the population, for parents, long-distance commuters and the older generation who would otherwise not ride a bike. They are getting more people out on bikes and enjoying their travel in a different way. E-cargo bikes and e-bikes with trailers are also increasingly being used by families and couriers for local deliveries.
The value of e-bikes
E-bikes are not cheap compared to regular bikes but when you consider the multiple benefits they provide, e-bikes are a worthwhile investment. It is important to consider your needs before you purchase as there is a huge variety of e-bikes out there.
With the ever-increasing cost of fuel and governments push for low or no emission vehicles everyone is going to have to start rethinking how they travel and for many an e-bike may be the answer.
Emissions Reduction Plan
In the recent release of New Zealand’s Emissions Reduction Plan there is a big focus to reduce the reliance on cars. As part of the clean vehicle scheme, you will be able to trade in your traditional car and receive money to go towards an electric car or e-bike. The idea is that this scheme will make electric cars and e-bikes more accessible for more people. With this in mind, e-bike usage is likely to rapidly increase.
So what do we need to do as industry professionals to make sure all cyclists are catered for on our streets and spaces?
Upgrades to the transport network
Upgrades to the transport network need to go hand in hand with the promotion of e-bikes. With more cyclists on the road, our roads will need to change. More wide, separated and well-maintained cycle lanes are needed to keep cyclists out of traffic and cater for the higher speeds of e-bikes. Increased public charging facilities and safe bike storage will be needed to encourage people to use their e-bikes for every occasion. Cargo bikes also need more space than two wheeled bikes. Nelson City Council recently recognised this in their new cycle parking hubs.
E-bikes are a crucial piece of the transport puzzle, providing the speed and time efficiency of a car along with the exercise, low emissions and freedom of a conventional bicycle. E-bikes are changing how people move and we need to ensure infrastructure supports this growth.