Why More and More Riders Switch to Electric Bicycles?


Easy E-Biking - man riding mountain e-bike, helping to make electric biking practical and fun

The story of Pierre

Pierre Bourgeois, 66, has abandoned his car for a year to put himself on the electric scooter.

“I was fed up with driving in the Brussels Region so I bought an electric bike and an electric scooter. Each of my trips has a range of fewer than 30 km, so that I can move everywhere in Brussels on a scooter or an e-bike. I either go directly or combine with other modes of transport. This is multimodality in action” says Pierre. “I’m having fun when I’m on a scooter! Every trip becomes a pleasure.”

In addition to the practical aspect of moving around on an e-bike or a scooter, Pierre also enjoys the fun of it. “Instead of moping behind my steering wheel in traffic jams, I hop on the bike paths and I am on the move in two seconds. I’m gaining a lot of time while having fun”, continues Pierre, who has already 600 km on his new modes of electric transportation.

The multi-mob experience

It is to incite the population to act like Pierre, the MR group in the Brussels parliament, via deputies Anne-Charlotte d’Ursel and Olivier de Clippele, has just tabled a resolution to organize mobility coaching for the trips home-work: the multi-mob experience.

“The mobility offer is changing dramatically: it can no longer be limited to the choice between private cars, bicycles and public transport. Let’s also not forget trains, which are still not widely known and used in the region. There are new shared mobility packages, electric or not, folding or not and all-new micro-mobility: scooters, mono-wheels, Segways, skateboards, hoverboards that fit easily into public transport” the deputies explain.

“The goal of the multi-mob experience is to increase the number of car drivers who leave their cars at home for their daily commutes. Multi-mob helps to choose alternative modes of transport. It encourages personal mobility and adapting the commute to live and work in a more environmentally friendly way.”

“The goal is to find a route that is for everyone the safest, the fastest, the most comfortable, the most adapted to the wishes of the former motorist, which could include cycling, public transport (metro, tram, bus or train in Brussels), shared mobility, electric mobility or micro-mobility. It could be a mix of these different modes of transport,” explains Anne-Charlotte d’Ursel.

There are different ideas on how to provide coaching and information about these new transportation options. “In the municipalities, there are competent mobility advisers who know their territory as their own backyards.

There are e-bike rental locations, shared vehicles, shops to purchase e-bikes and scooters. These mobility advisors have regular contact with their colleagues and other trainers in Brussels, as well as councilors in charge of Agenda 21 program, which provides local subsidies,” says Olivier de Clippele.

Facilitating Winter E-bike Cycling in Sherbrooke

Winter electric bikes become more and more popular in Sherbrooke, Canada. Notwithstanding the weather conditions, many cyclists refuse to store their bikes even during periods of extreme cold. Still, winter cycling remains complicated in Sherbrooke.

The number of winter cyclists has increased in recent years, according to Fabien Burnotte, co-founder of Vélo Urbain Sherbrooke (VUS).

“There are a lot of fans of cycling or environmental maniacs,” he says. There are also people who pay more attention to their health. Bikes are widely used, but they are still rather exceptions. We do not see 100 cyclists per hour on the roads.”

Mr. Burnotte believes that the City is lagging far behind. The priority is to have more bike lanes. “There are not many options where a cyclist can go during winter months,” he insists. “The city does clean the bike lanes, it’s not so bad. We cannot fully de-ice the lanes but we cannot allow cars to be parked there.”

Councilor Vincent Boutin explains that major bicycle lanes are still cleared during the winter, but he admits that the network is less friendly than during the summer.

“It’s the winter reality that is catching up with our road network. We have not been talking about cycling for 40 years, our cities have not necessarily been designed for that. We try to play catch-up now. There is obviously existing infrastructure, but the incentive for active transportation goes beyond that. For example, companies may open showers and places to store bicycles. All interested parties should facilitate the practice of active cycling.”

Discounts for studded tires?

A proposal by Vincent Boutin has also been discussed among Sherbrooke cyclists. In a Facebook publication, the leader of the Sherbrooke Renewal argues that the city could do as the municipality of Banff in Alberta and allow cashback for the purchase of studded bicycle tires. This type of tire can cost several hundred dollars. Under this program, Banff residents can get a rebate of up to $ 50 per tire.

The use of studded tires brings additional security in the winter and allows for a better grip on the ice. “We are in the exploration for the moment, it’s at the very beginning. It is more to see the appetite of people for this kind of measure,” he says.

The proposal was nevertheless welcomed, especially since the use of studded tires brings more security to the cyclists in winter.

“When studded tires hit the ice, they hold the road”, confirms Fabien Burnotte. “The measure costs almost nothing and it sends the message that we are in the right direction. A mountain bike does the job for a good part of the winter, but on the ice, it does not do the job. It’s safer with studded tires. When you brake, your bike actually does break.”

“And this is also a measure which will help address reckless riders,” says Burnotte. I agree, but there are also other ways to go about it.” For Fabien Burnotte, the City must do more to promote the use of the electric bicycles.

“People want to ride a bike, but they do not want to be sweaty when they get to work. The electric bike is perfect. There are some places that give credits to purchase an electric bike.”

This post was translated from French and adapted. The original versions were published on DHNet and La Tribune Canada. Photo credit – DHNet.

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