Transforming Urban Mobility with Ebikes

August 30, 2020 5 min read 1 Comment

Transforming Urban Mobility with Ebikes

After being hit by a massive pandemic, the world is regaining its lost routines by following some new standard operating procedures. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that the masses wear masks, maintain a six feet distance from each other, and avoid close gatherings until they have the cure for COVID-19. 

However, with workplaces reopening and asking their employees to leave their ‘work from home’ routine, avoiding the crowds around you doesn't sound very doable, especially in the metro cities.  

Urban ebike rider

Cities like New York, London, and Paris are the hubs of economic activities where millions of people commute each day. According to UITP, the 178 metro networks in 56 countries accounted for 53,768 million passengers worldwide in 2018. 

Given these whopping stats, maintaining a safe distance in public transport and shared rides is out of the question. That's why the focus has shifted toward a more reliable and safer option for urban mobility: the electric bikes. 

These e-bikes were initially deemed threats to public safety in New York City, but on April 1st, 2020, the NY government legalized e-bikes. After this legalization, small businesses and daily commuters could conveniently travel within the city limits without burning any fossil fuels.  

Electric bikes have been in the picture for quite some time, but they gained the deserved limelight in 1995 when multiple advancements made them more affordable. These bikes are designed for comfortable, safe, and quick mobility.  

urban ebike riding


How can electric bikes be the solution for cities post lockdown? 

Now that we're familiar with the term ‘new normal’, it's applicable in all walks of life; from eating out to traveling, and prevention is the key. In fiscal year 2019, the global e-bike market figured around$15.42 billion, which is forecasted to rise by 7.49% by 2025. This ever-increasing demand is accredited to a range of factors, mainly ease-of-use and safety. 

Since public safety and convenient commutes are vital to any country's economy, a sudden surge in safer bike lanes has also been observed. London has already launched its ‘Streetscape Plan’ to support the rising influx of pedestrians and cyclists post lockdown. Other metro cities are expanding their bike lanes because the existing networks are mainly focused on cars and busses. 

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City plans determine urban mobility and accessibility, which impact the public's interests accordingly. Now when the masses prefer e-bikes and traditional cycles, the need for safer roads is also rising. Many European cities are laying new bike lanes in their road networks to make them pedestrian-friendly and sustainable. 

Advantages of Electric Bikes

Intra-City Commutes

Since most e-bikes offer a travel range between 25-50 miles per charge, they're ideal for day-to-day commutes. People traveling within the city prefer taking public transport than riding or sharing a car. But a speedy and reliable electric bike makes their errands more manageable. 

Health Benefits 

People feel hesitant to make cycling their daily mode of commute for multiple reasons, the major one being the absence of proper infrastructure. However, as the governments have started emphasizing a safe cycling infrastructure in all metro cities, there is not much left to be debated. 

Urban mobility is sedentary when you use metros and subways; however, electric bikes give you the freedom to be active throughout the week. Moreover, riding electric bikes doesn't require the same energy as a conventional bike because there is a motor to support the ride; this advancement makes these bikes a handy solution for all age groups. 

Environment-Friendly Alternatives

Carbon emission from transportation accounts for 28% of the US's overall greenhouse gas emissions. This gas is polluting the environment and challenging the sustainability of cities alongside. Urban planners keep changing and upgrading the cities' current fuel consumption, but that wouldn't suffice unless a reliable alternative is presented. 

Fortunately, electric bikes have emerged as a dependable solution that can change the forthcoming transportation conditions. These bikes operate on batteries, which is way more effective and inexpensive than traditional fossil fuel operated vehicles. 

Cost Effective 

Although electric bikes initially cost a reasonable sum, there is no added expense afterward. As long as you take care of your electric bike, it won’t require any major upkeep like a car. 

If you are planning to shift towards an  affordable electric bike, get a one that ticks all boxes of merit without compromising the speed. Moreover, another advantage of electric bikes is their adaptability with the no-battery mode. If your bike runs out of battery, you can still ride it to your destination with a little more effort, and charge it once you have the electric supply. 

Congestion-Free Traveling 

Since the COVID rules ask us to continue social distancing even when the lockdown is lifted, it's easily doable with your two-wheeler. When you don't interact with others, the chances of catching any infection, particularly COVID, die down. 

Another alternative of subways and ride-sharing is people heading out with their vehicles, which wasn't their choice pre-pandemic. This, if goes on unplanned, can bring all major cities to a halt and disrupt the supply of food, medication, and other essentials.

Hence, it's nothing but wise for the public to shift towards sustainable mobility. Electric bikes don't disturb your commuting time, as most are designed to provide a speed 20 miles per hour. 

The Solution to Parking Problems  

Apart from saving you from the congested subways, electric bikes also eradicate parking problems to a great extent. Although a substantial number of commercial buildings/offices currently don't offer bike parking, it's in the phase of changing. 

When a considerable workforce reaches its destinations on these handy bikes, the parking slots won't remain booked as they used to. Moving towards an updated and stress-free urban mobility scheme is inevitable for every city. Whether it's a recreational spot or hub of economic ventures, intra-city commutes have to shift towards a viable solution. Also, some electric bikes are foldable, which free you from the parking concerns altogether. 

Improved Road Safety

Being able to enjoy a good quality of life is everyone's fundamental right. But when there is honking traffic on the way to your workplace, it poses several safety and health threats. Electric bikes, when designated their particular lanes, can become a convenient replacement of a significant chunk of city traffic. This autonomy makes electric bikes a viable yet effective modification in urban mobility. 

Final Words

COVID-19 has impacted our lives to a great extent, transportation included. When the workplaces reopen, the need for an updated and modifiable commuting mode will persist. The continuous advancements in electric bikes indicate their longevity and usefulness for mid-range traveling. 

Since avoiding public interaction is next to impossible on subways and shared rides, switching to an affordable medium is a need of the hour. Many metro cities, i.e., London and Milan, are incorporating bike lanes in their road networks for a better future. 

Electric bikes prove that one doesn't have to sweat while going to work or running errands; their long-lasting motors and batteries lift most barriers that a regular cyclist might face. New models of e-bikes are being launched, and the existing ones are in high-demand; this shows the public's changing preferences post this lockdown. After all, it’s about time the masses start taking interest in sustainable and cost-effective vehicles for the betterment of our planet.


1 Response

Doug Goudie
Doug Goudie

August 30, 2020

This is a very informative article. As a city planner working to improve transportation in the CBD, I’m a big advocate of ebikes as an alternative form of transportation.

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