E-Bikes Replacing Cars at Increasing Rate

a couple, bicycles

It’s clear to anyone who has to buy a car because they live in low-density suburban communities that cars are expensive and kill the environment (and people). This awareness of the dangers of the automobile is growing and people are turning to e-bikes. Anecdotally we see places which have encouraged bicycling have cleaner air, healthier people, and that riders of the bikes use their cars way less.

Researchers decided to take a look to see if this is true. And it sure it! A meta analysis reveals that pedal assisted e-bikes (PAEB) are wonderful and your life will be better if you get one (and ditch a stupid car!).

Overall, it appears that the uptake of PAEB leads to a modal shift such that overall car use is decreased. PAEB use is associated with lower emissions compared to cars, but requires physical effort that classifies use of a PAEB as moderate intensity physical activity. Cost appears to be prohibitive, thus sharing or rental programs, and subsidies may be beneficial. Several additional barriers related to lack of infrastructure were also noted. Importantly, violations, injuries, and crashes appear to be similar between PAEB users and traditional bicycle users. PAEB offer an opportunity to improve health and mobility in an eco-friendly manner compared to cars. Infrastructure and policies are needed to support this modal shift. There is an immediate need to clearly define PAEBs, and to ensure regulations are similar between PAEB and traditional bicycles. Future research is needed to better understand long-term behaviour change with regards to commuting, and to identify the effect of implementing better infrastructure and policies on PAEB uptake.

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