New and exciting modes of transport are being developed that use a very old invention, the bicycle. Electric bikes as a mode of transport within urban environments is now a booming industry. This article will take a look at the economic and environmental benefits of this mode of transport and why we should all be assessing whether we really need that car after all.
With huge populations and packed streets the majority of Asian cities have a large proportion of their inhabitants commuting using either pushbikes or scooters. As the prices of fuel begin to rise in the west we are seeing a similar process taking place within our cities. No longer do people want to live in rural areas do to the huge costs associated with travelling long distances within cars, instead more and more people are choosing to locate themselves as close to the commercial hearts of our cities and towns. One of the major problems that this is causing is the congestion within these densely populated places. In order to solve this problem a number of manufacturers are taking a leaf out of the solution that has been used in Asia for so long, however they are opening up the convenience of the pushbike to everyone regardless of their physical health.
Electric bikes in 2012 have improved a whole lot since the e-bike was first conceived. Electric motors and battery packs are now small, light and efficient. This means that electric bikes only weigh slightly more than your normal pushbike and they can be ridden on the electric charge for up to 30 miles. The benefits of riding a bike within a city during rush hours are not only environmental and economic, recent research suggests that cyclist currently arrive at their locations 20% faster than car users within the busiest cities and if 30% of road users gave up their cars for bikes our roads would be 80% more efficient.
With these clear benefits the number of users taking to the streets on two wheels is expected to rise rapidly during the next decade.
Photo via carrott on Flickr