In the past decade, a growing number of cities have accepted the use of bike sharing systems. This system allows city dwellers to share bicycles for short amounts of time for a small fee. According to recent data, there were about 855 cities globally with such systems in 2014. In 2013, there were 703, and in 2004, there were only 11 cities with such a system.
Today, there are nearly a million bikes being shared globally. A majority of this, over 700 thousand, are in China. Coming in a close second is France, then Spain, the US, and Germany. Most people are drawn to bicycles because they are environmentally sustainable. Besides that, you do not have to worry about a stolen bike. In addition, there are the obvious health benefits of using a bike.
However, the trend of cycling to work has not caught up in hilly cities. The reason for this is that it takes too much of a physical tool to make it feasible. However, that is all set to change with the use of e-bikes. The electric motor system provides some of the assistance that a rider needs to overcome hilly areas. Besides that, they ensure the bike goes much faster without relying solely on human power.
For people who have to commute long distances to work and go through hilly areas, e-bikes are the perfect solution. Here is a bit more about e-bikes. It might help to convince you to use them if they are available in your city.
Advantage of E-Bike Sharing
One of the main challenges that conventional bikers have had to deal with over the years is geography. Most cities such as Amsterdam are not flat. The result is that such bikes are limited to flat areas within the city, and they can only go for short distances.
To cope with this, there is usually need to redistribute these bikes with huge trucks every night to get them to flat areas. While moving bikes around in truck is a great way of solving the hill problem, it defeats the purpose of using bikes. The aim is to be environmentally friendly, but the trucks burn fossil fuel and lead to a huge carbon footprint. The use of e-bikes is one of the best solutions to this problem.
The electric motor allows people to travel faster and in hilly terrain. The result is that the e-bikes allow bikes to reach an even larger area. It also helps to bring in areas within the city into the bike-sharing network that were locked out because of their hilly landscape. This helps to turn bike sharing into a citywide network instead of one that is limited to just a few streets within the city.
Another benefit of using e-bikes is that a lot of money is being used in research and development of more efficient bikes. This is helping to cut down the costs of e-bikes, making them as competitive as other bikes in the bike-sharing network.
Besides that, technology is being developed that could turn ordinary bikes to e-bikes. The result is that the initial investment cost is eliminated. This will help to cut down the cost of using these bikes in future. Another reason why prices will continue to fall is that most nations are now conscious of global warming. Consequently, they have subsidies in place to help e-bikes get to more people at a reduced cost.
The other benefit of using e-bikes is that it is possible to incorporate many features into them. For instance, many bikes now come with data collection technology. The technology helps to track how the bikes are being used. The result is that the network can be modeled based on this data. It will eventually lead to more efficiency and a drop in prices in future.
The other advantage is that e-bikes are helping to turn cities into living spaces. Today, most people who can afford it prefer to live in the suburbs. It is because there are no high commuter costs involved. E-bikes are silent, and they do not produce noxious gases like most vehicles. There is also the fact that the car horns are a major source of noise pollution. If a city is able to convince a significant portion of its population to adopt e-bikes and walking, cities could become quiet living spaces where more people can work and live.
E-bikes are also a great way to save money. If you are just starting out on a new job, you may not have enough money to drive to work daily and live the life you would like. Besides that, you may just want to save money so that you can afford a holiday to an exotic location. An e-bike can help you save money, which you can use for other leisure activities.
Another benefit of using e-bikes is that you do not need to strain yourself physically too much. It is a great choice especially if you are unfit or recovering from an illness such as the flu. Besides that, riding a bike to work in the hot summer heat can cause you to be quite sweaty. The result is that you may make everyone else at the office quite uncomfortable with your odor. An e-bike will ensure that you arrive at work feeling refreshed and ready to work without having to catch your breath.
However, one of the most important benefits of e-bikes is that you will be making a major contribution to the environment. The few kilometers that you spend not driving your vehicles help to reduce your carbon footprint just a bit more. You will also not have to worry about the security of the bike if you use a sharing network. You only pay for the cost of using the bike and leave the rest to the bike sharing company.
Challenges to More Bike Sharing of Any Kind
One of the biggest challenges to e-bike sharing has been from car manufactures. Most of them see competition with these bikes as a zero-sum game. The more that e-bike sharing spreads, the harder it becomes for them to sell cars. These companies have a lot of money, and they use this financial muscle to hire powerful lobby groups. The result is that legislation is created to make it harder for e-bikes and any bike sharing to thrive.
Bike sharing has also been affected by politics. Some people view the choice to use a bike to work as a political choice. They believe politicians that claim global warming is a fad. They fail to see the potential economic and health benefits of using e-bikes. This has had a negative impact on the growth of e-bikes.
There is also the issue of legislation. In some places such as New York, some types of e-bikes are banned. It thus becomes hard for commuters to use these bikes, especially when they have to go through these routes to get to work.
Where Is E-bike Sharing Taking Off?
One of the cities where e-bikes have really taken off is Lisbon, Portugal. The city is quite congested, and city planners knew the use of bikes could help to deal with the congestion. They launched a program in 2014 where two-thirds of the bikes were electrical. Another city that has launched an electric bike program network is Madrid. The city introduced bikes that were 100% electrical. A hilly neighborhood of London promised to introduce the bikes, but the idea is still in the planning stages.
For the city of Lisbon, e-bike are not just about helping people get through the hilly terrain. They also want to ensure that a wider geographical area is covered. This way, more people will be willing to adopt these bikes. Another city that has recently introduced e-bikes is San Francisco. The company behind the scheme is Social Bikes, which is also rolling out the bikes in Brighton, a hilly city in the UK.
E-bikes are expected to take off in a major way, especially since major cities like Paris, London, and many others plan to eliminate internal combustion vehicles in about ten years. It will no doubt lead to more investment in electric transportation technology. The result is that bikes will become even more efficient.
What Lies Ahead
The future looks promising for e-bikes, there is a lot of political goodwill, which is backed by science. The world is looking for a solution to greenhouse emissions, and these bikes are a great way. Besides, legal and customs barriers to the use and importation of e-biking technology are gradually being eroded. Additionally, as more people become health-conscious, using a bike to get to work is becoming a great option.
Not only will using bikes enable people to become healthier, but it will also allow city air to be of a much better quality. Cases of respiratory problems such as asthma could go down. It is especially so when you think about young kids who live in cities and have to breathe in all the noxious fumes released by vehicles.