Electric-Assist Bikes are Good for You and the Planet

Michael Jenkins and coauthors, summarizing their study on pedal-assist electric bikes:

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.

No matter what you call them, bikes with electric motors bolted on them are transformative. In urban settings, they’re more convenient than a car and not much slower. It comes as no surprise that we need to provide better infrastructure support.

The other day, I let a regular cyclist try mine out and talked about how I used mine. It was the first time he’d really thought about it as a tool for commuting. An ebike let’s you wear your work clothes (I commuted in my oxfords the other day), helps avoid the need for a shower and basically eliminates the park-and-walk portion.