There used to be a time where Singaporeans raged on e-scooters. This fun little skateboard-like transportation tool is easy to use and very affordable. Not to mention, super fun.
To some extent, it formed the backbone, together with bicycles, ebikes, walking, and public transportation, of Singapore’s future transportation network. Sadly, a series of incidents resulted in the ban of e-scooters on pedestrian paths. Maybe we and the infrastructure were not ready for them yet.
However, before the e-scooters, there were ebikes. These are bicycles fitted with an electric motor and battery. In Singapore, ebikes are regulated by the Land Transport Authority under the Active Mobility Act. After the e-scooter restrictions, ebikes became the first choice for food delivery riders. This resulted in a boom in ebikes adoption from late 2019 to late 2020.
From a global perspective, ebikes adoption had increased steadily over the last 10 years. In 2020, almost every major bicycle brand like Trek, Giant, Specialize, Brompton, Dahon had an electric version of their bicycle. And what was even surprising was Harley Davidson, Mercedes AMG and Ducati also jumped onto the bandwagon.
The three major cycling associations in Europe shared at the Bike Market Outlook & Perspectives Webinar on 2nd December 2020 that they predicted the ebikes sales would expand from 3.7 million bikes sold in 2019 to 17 million in 2030.
Here are 3 reasons why more people are using ebikes now:
1. ebikes are bicycles
It used to be the situation where bicycle retailers would sell only bicycles. They viewed ebikes as a competitor, sold mainly by retailers who also sold e-scooters. But they slowly came to realise that ebikes are just bicycles fitted with a motor and battery. In fact, they realised they already had the knowledge, technical expertise, and customer base to market this product. Coupled with major bicycle brands releasing their electric version, bicycle retailers also started to accept and promote ebikes.
2. ebike are really bicycles
Cyclists used to have the perception that ebike riders were not “real” cyclists. These riders were lazy and had an unfair advantage. The COVID took many commuters, whom some were cyclists, to a situation where public transportation, Grab and long-distance cycle to work was not viable. The ebike presented itself as a solution. Gradually, cyclists began to realise ebike was just another bicycle category, a new addition to their growing arsenal.
3. Getting old
Cycling is a low-impact sport thus a good exercise for everyone. Having said that, cycling still requires strength and takes a toll on knees, necks, backs and wrists. And this is especially relevant for older cyclists. ebikes allow older cyclists to enjoy cycling while sharing a portion of the work. Furthermore, with more ebikes having different levels of assistance, the cyclist can choose the appropriate level to match his present physical condition.
Ebikes, together with other forms of micro-mobility solutions, will be part of our life, especially in an urban city like Singapore. And if Singapore is to convert some of the roads to cycling lanes, ebike will replace car journeys.