Electric Bike Sales Explode as Cities Rethink Streetscapes

North America has experienced a 5% jump in rates of cycling since the U.S. started staying home. As electric bikes enjoy impressive sales increases, cities around the world consider making the shift permanent by planning bike-friendly infrastructure.

May 22, 2020, 6:00 AM PDT

By Lee Flannery @leecflannery

Alternative Transportation

Sorbis / Shutterstock

Electric bike sales are booming worldwide as more travelers opt for alternatives to cars and public transportation. Thomas Ricker and Andrew J. Hawkins, as well as many public officials and community members, urge that this trend should be made permanent. Cities around the world, they say, need to provide bike-friendly infrastructure to make possible a considerably less car-reliant future.

"It’s a remarkable transformation, but it could all be undone if cities aren’t bold in how they reimagine their streetscapes," warn Ricker and Hawkins. In Paris, plans are being made to convert a city-spanning thoroughfare into a bike highway. 

Some other cities, unfortunately, aren't following the lead. In many cases, "the COVID-19-era transportation measures being rolled out by cities are being done so timidly, often behind the guise of temporary change," according to Ricker and Hawkins, attributing the hesitancy to an assumption that a return to business as normal necessitates car-reliance. Calls to action resonate with those who see new transportation trends as an opportunity to restructure and reprioritize the way people travel through cities. 

"If not now, when?" question Ricker and Hawkins.

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