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Electric bikes see a pandemic-driven spike

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Electrical bikes see a pandemic-driven spike

Electrical bikes are seeing a significant spike in gross sales that started even earlier than the coronavirus pandemic however has sharply accelerated since March.

Why it issues: E-bike producers are racing to maintain up with the newfound demand as folks, cautious of crowded public transit and going through much less congestion from commuting automobiles, undertake new methods of getting round.

Gross sales of e-bikes within the U.S. elevated 190% in June in comparison with June 2019, in keeping with new research from The NDP Group. (E-bikes add an electrical motor to conventional bicycles, making it simpler for riders to pedal up steep hills and prolong their rides.)

  • Sure, however: Ridership of shared e-bikes (resembling these owned by Lime and metropolis bike-share firms) has gone down throughout the pandemic. These sectors are “nonetheless recovering” from an absence of commuters and vacationers, Matt Brezina, a tech investor and pedestrian and bike owner advocate in San Francisco, instructed Axios.

The large image: Many U.S. cities, together with New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., have been closing sure streets to site visitors, reducing velocity limits and including protected bike lanes, all key components in serving to folks really feel extra comfy on bikes and fewer threatened by automobiles.

  • Some cities have been far alongside in enhancing bicycle infrastructure previous to the pandemic, whereas others snapped into motion when COVID-19 hit.
  • “A car-free house that will have taken 10 years and 100 group conferences to implement has as an alternative been rolled out in weeks due to the COVID emergency,” Brezina stated.

Be sensible: Good city design is critical to get and hold folks comfy utilizing bikes and e-bikes in dense areas, Jennifer Toole, president of city planning and engineering agency Toole Design, instructed Axios.

  • Slowing automotive site visitors and sustaining devoted, separated bike lanes make the most important distinction, Toole stated. That may be a tricky transition for a lot of cities the place getting by way of the streets by automotive as quick as is possible is the norm.
  • However change is coming. “The pandemic has opened us as much as some choices that have been far more tough earlier than,” stated Toole. “Individuals are keen to assume exterior the field about the way in which we use our streets.”
  • E-bikes have been rising extra widespread even earlier than the pandemic, as costs sank and designs improved, Toole famous.

What they’re saying: VanMoof, an e-bike firm primarily based within the Netherlands, almost quadrupled its e-bike gross sales 12 months over 12 months within the second quarter of 2020. Within the U.S. alone, VanMoof’s e-bike gross sales almost doubled within the first half of 2020 in comparison with the primary half of 2019.

  • VanMoof CEO Taco Carlier instructed Axios his staff is struggling to maintain up with buyer demand, particularly as they earn a living from home, however he isn’t stunned. “The breakthrough was going to occur for years,” he stated.

What’s subsequent: It is onerous to foretell how sustained newly adopted pandemic-era habits shall be. However e-bike use has skyrocketed and will not go down even after folks return to their common routines, as they get used to pedaling round their cities, which in flip are altering to develop into extra bike-friendly.

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