Are eBikes a solution to Melbourne’s commuter congestion

This week, RACV launches the second phase of its electric bikes (eBikes) transport trial in Melbourne’s inner northern suburbs. The first of its kind in Victoria, the trial aims to test how Victorians can use eBikes as a viable mode of transport for commuting around metropolitan Victoria. eBikes use a small electric motor to help the rider travel further with less effort.

Melbourne has one of the country's lowest proportions of people cycling or walking to work in any state capital. Just 5.4 per cent of Melburnians walk or ride all the way to work, compared with 5.9 per cent in Sydney, and 8.4 per cent in Canberra. As Melbourne’s population continues to increase, and car trips become longer, RACV is committed to helping Victorians try different ways of travelling that may beat road congestion.

In RACV cycling research released last month, the top reason given for people not willing to ride a bike more often is distance (12 per cent). This barrier is one that can be overcome by using an eBike, as it allows commuters to travel longer distances while exerting less energy than a conventional cycle trip, and arrive less tired and ready for work.

The first phase of the trial just finished in Geelong, and the results will be combined with those from volunteers across the inner-northern suburbs trial to help RACV understand the factors that will motivate more people to consider eBikes. Participant’s weekly logbooks will reveal how they used their bike and whether their attitude to eBikes change as they gain confidence.

Amanda Clark Brewer, a 38-year-old learning and development specialist living in Brunswick, already owns several traditional bicycles, but is excited to try something new. “I had never heard of eBikes, but I am always interested in trying innovative things. I usually walk or catch the tram most places, so I am excited to get back on a bike again.”

Amanda plans on using the eBike for a range of activities. “I work from home, but I regularly have meetings across the city, and I plan on using the eBike to get through Melbourne’s busy traffic. I will also use it to visit the gym, and I will probably take it out for a few longer rides on weekends.”

RACV is an advocate for integrated mobility, which encompasses all modes of transport including driving, riding, walking and taking a bus, tram or train. Dave Jones, RACV Manager of Roads and Traffic says many people are interested in bike riding, but may have concerns about their fitness level, ability to cycle up steep hills or road safety.

“The eBike trial gives our members an opportunity to reconsider how they travel. eBikes provide a very different experience to riding a conventional bike, and the trial enables a small number of RACV members who volunteered, to experience the benefits of an electric powered bicycle.”

(RACV provides services to bicycle riders, including BikeAssist and instalment plans to purchase eBikes. For more information about eBikes, visit https://www.racv.com.au/on-the-road/bike-riding/cycling.html). To follow one of our Moreland trial riders on their journey over the next six weeks, or receive comment from an RACV mobility expert, contact RACV Corporate Communications at media@racv.com.au or (03) 9790 2572.

Written by RACV Corporate Communications (03) 9790 2572
November 22, 2017