What Makes a Community E-Bike Friendly?
Many cities in Europe are known for their electric bike friendly communities. Some with more bike traffic than automobiles, these cities are lauded for their small carbon footprint and overall health and well-being. If you are an e-bike enthusiast on the other side of the pond, you may wonder if it is possible to find a city that loves your e-bike as much as you do in the US or Canada.
North America is finding its way to welcoming electric bikes in a wide variety of ways. Some cities have abundance bike lanes, public awareness of biking laws, and an infrastructure that creates a safe environment for cycling. Instead of busy streets that can be intimidating on any type of bike, these communities have added paths and lanes that are e-bike friendly for a safe and enjoyable commute.
One example of a North American city that has welcomed e-bikes with open arms is Boulder, Colorado. With over 300 miles of bike trails and lanes, many residents use their bike for leisure and their work commute. The Boulder city busses have installed bike racks, and bike sharing programs are promoted for public health. Bike safety is emphasized and widely encouraged.
Montreal, Quebec puts Canada on the map of e-bike friendly communities with generous plans for over 500 miles of bike paths, almost doubling their current amount of bike lanes and trails. E-bikes are welcome parked outside of downtown businesses and are a great way to enjoy a trek along the St Laurence River.
Our own Vancouver also leads the way in creating a biking community within the city. The innovative bike lanes and planned improvements show the city’s dedication to encouraging the healthy biking lifestyle for pleasure and commuting. Cycling has been increasing dramatically in Vancouver for several years, and e-bikes just make biking an even more attractive alternative.
Maybe you would rather help develop a great e-bike community where you already are, whether in Vancouver or anywhere else. Here are some things you can do.
Create a cycling group. Whether you are riding e-bikes or traditional bikes, a cycling group brings together those who love to ride and may not get out as much as they like. Riding as a group raises awareness of biking because people will notice you out and about. As a group, you can lobby for improvements in city accommodations for cycling.
Follow biking laws. In order to make cycling an attractive alternative and something that the city at large will want to support, you should follow local bike riding law when riding solo or in a group. Encourage more biking and better paths to do it on by being a good citizen.
Be a part of changes. Improving cycling infrastructure is not easy or cheap for a city to undertake. People who are passionate and knowledgeable about what needs to be done are priceless resources. Be willing to speak out, lend a hand, and support fundraising in order to make positive changes in your community.
Plan and participate in events. Encouraging cycling is the first step to getting city leaders to see that a bike friendly community is desirable. Bike safety for children, community races and events, bike safety checks, and cycling groups are great ways to increase community involvement in biking.
Spread the word. Riding an electric bike is cheaper, more enjoyable, and better for your health than driving a car. Help others see that e-bikes are a viable alternative to a vehicle in many circumstances. Educate yourself and others on the benefits of cultivating a bike friendly community.