Can your city be more electric bike-friendly? Unless you live in Copenhagen or some other cyclist’s paradise, the answer is probably YES! Indeed, the city you call home most likely has an infrastructure and traffic laws and regulations that somewhat cater to an e-bike enthusiast such as yourself, but there’s always room for improvement. Read on to learn how your city can be more accommodating for e-bikes and what you can do to help advocate for these changes!
1. More Bike Lanes
One thing that cyclers can't get enough of are bike lanes! Any type of bike lane is preferable to sharing the road with car traffic, but protected bike lanes are ideal. Because protected bike lanes feature a physical, stationary boundary separating moving car traffic from cyclists, you’re not only safer but less stressed during your ride since you don’t have to mingle with often-distracted motorists. If your city has a few bike lanes, that’s a fantastic start! Ultimately, you’d want your city to offer protected and completely connected bike networks — more on that below!
2. More E-Bike Parking Spots
There’s nothing worse than arriving at your destination only to find no secure place to park your beloved bike! A city that’s truly set up to accommodate electric bikes will provide plenty of safe parking spots everywhere. There are many different types of e-bike parking to look out for, from the classic bike rack to bike lockers. Regardless of which type of parking spots you find in your city, always exercise good judgment and securely lock up your electric bike whenever you park it. Check out our video on how to lock up your e-bike to prevent theft below!
3. Lower Speed Limits for Cars
This one is simple — the lower the speed limit for cars, the safer it is for e-bikes. Bike-friendly cities in the U.S., like Portland, Oregon, lead the charge by setting reasonable speed limits for automobiles, with most of its streets having a 20 mph speed limit. These lower speed limits also make it easier for e-bike riders to keep up with the flow of car traffic and make merging and passing a breeze. Remember, most states (if not all) have different speed limits for e-bikes that vary depending on the bike path, street, or area.
4. Connected Bike Networks
Connected bike networks work exactly like a road network in that it offers riders of all ages and abilities multiple routes to get where they’d like to go safely, efficiently, and comfortably. It’s rare when you encounter a road while driving that abruptly ends and forces you to take a dangerous and uncomfortable alternative path to arrive at your destination — but this is an all-too-common experience for e-bike enthusiasts. A good connected bike network should include elements like protected bike lanes, shared-use paths, or car-free streets to give all riders a stress-free riding experience. An excellent example of a solid connected bike network is New York City’s nine-mile stretch of protected bikeways from Brooklyn up the length of Manhattan to the Bronx.
5. Public E-Bike Charging Stations
Go anywhere nowadays, and you’ll likely see an increasing number of public charging stations for electric vehicles. Good news, right? Well, the problem for e-bike riders is that these charging stations generally offer Level 2 charging, which accommodates electric cars, but e-bikes use Level 1 charging — the same way you’d charge your cellphone or laptop. Thankfully, states like Oregon are starting to expand public charging stations that offer Level 1 charging to help riders keep their e-bikes juiced up and rolling. And if you’ve ever charged your e-bike battery at a coffee shop without buying anything while awkwardly avoiding eye contact with the scowling employees, you can rejoice knowing that this phenomenon will eventually come to a city near you!
How You Can Advocate to Make Your City More Electric Bike-Friendly
Want your city to be more electric bike-friendly? You have the power to affect change! Chat with neighbors, reach out to your local bike-advocacy group (The League of American Bicyclists is an excellent resource for finding local groups near you!), attend city council meetings — get out there and make your voice heard! It may take some time and effort, but anything worthwhile is worth fighting for.Are you still shopping for an e-bike? Take our bike quiz and get matched with the perfect Juiced bike!