Skyrocketing e-bike sales, increased popularity among “non-cyclists”, and expanding bike-infrastructure all indicate the same thing: micromobility is at its transformation point.
The micromobility industry experts have discussed long and hard the benefits of short trips or last mile trips that can be taken by bikes and scooters, thus considering only the urban environment. However, micromobility is proving to be much larger than that. It is believed that not only short trips in high-density areas will be taken with micromobility vehicles but different lengths and combinations with other transport will become the norm. It seems that the eruption of e-bikes has brought new hope and behaviours that could disrupt transportation as we see it today.
Why e-bikes disrupt the status quo?
Electric bikes are a lot like “regular” bikes except they are totally unique in attracting new cyclists. By making the starting easy for all, especially for people who might be out of shape, they are the bridge between the old and the new. By switching over to an e-bike, cyclists can conquer more hilly areas, substitute the train or their car entirely. The speed and endurance range are no longer limited. Thus, it’s still a workout but not a heavy one.
Another challenge with urban commute has been returning to the workplace without the possibility of showering. Although the best scenario would be to have showers in the office, an e-bike can resolve that possibly as well. Arriving at the office sweaty does not have to be the case.
Transit-bicycle combination under scrutiny
When the pandemic hit, the NY subway closed almost entirely down in some timeframes, leaving people that relied on transport to fight for themselves. This brings out the need for more reliable, sustainable modes of transport that people can control themselves. Flexibility being one of the strongpoints, the cyclist does not rely on the schedule nor the force major like a pandemic or other crises. An experience like this leaves people looking for more reliable means of transport, turning their attention possibly to e-bikes.
Parking possibilities in transit stations and offices
While e-bikes are gaining popularity and expand the radius for micromobility vehicles, there is a downside to parking. E-bikes are usually more expensive and therefore become easy targets for evil-intentioned. Also, the need to recharge the battery makes e-bike owners plan their trips. Until the surge of e-bikes, bicycle-public transport combination was thought to be the most efficient way of commuting.
Providing the freedom and flexibility for the commuter and better amplitude to public transportation planners: if a commuter can cycle to the station that offers a direct route to their destination, for example, it requires fewer stops and therefore more efficient outcome to the planners.
It’s important to use this momentum and not be left in stagnant ways of thinking about the urban landscape. Change is due because we have been needing it all along. Covid has been the accelerator for discussions on climate change, for creating new business models and reminding us how important health and sustainable business models are. The old ways do not work, we need to drive change, mindset and behaviour. And we need to set up the proper infrastructure together.
Companies can create their green plans, measure emissions and come up with more sustainable ways to reduce their carbon footprint. While that takes time, micromobility is one of the fastest ways to get on board. Cultural changes are the most important.
Everyone needs to come together for the strength lies in the community and cooperation. Does the tax policy support sustainability and e-bikes? How to support companies and how can companies support municipalities and people? And let’s not make sustainability a buzzword but continue thriving towards making an actual change.