Montreal, January 25, 2024 - Results from a new survey conducted by Équiterre among the participants of its Vélovolt project show that electrically assisted bicycles (EABs) have enormous potential as an alternative to cars for Quebecers.
In the year following their trial of an EAB, 37% of Vélovolt participants reduced their car use for their commute between home and work. 3% actually stopped using their car altogether.
"The survey shows that when it comes to electric bikes, trying them out is very convincing. Once you've had a taste for it, it's easy to see how it could be a lifestyle change that can persist over time (the survey was carried out 10 to 23 months after the bike trials). The results are impressive," says Anne-Catherine Pilon, Équiterre’s Sustainable Mobility Analyst.
"It's also important to note that the results cover several regions of Quebec, demonstrating the potential of this means of transportation throughout the province," adds the expert.
Équiterre’s Vélovolt project has been facilitating trials of EABs in companies and organizations in many regions of Quebec over the past two years, in collaboration with eight Centres de gestion des déplacements du Québec. The project also includes a research component in collaboration with the Chaire mobilité de Polytechnique, which will publish a report on the subject in the spring.
Challenges and opportunities for electrically assisted bicycles
The survey also provides a better understanding of the obstacles and opportunities that could either hinder the use of electric bikes, or could encourage their use for utilitarian purposes, such as commuting to work.
73% consider the cost of an EAB, as well as the expenses associated with its use, to be a significant obstacle;
34% identified the difficulty of cycling in winter as a barrier, including difficult weather conditions and the challenges associated with snow and ice;
For 21% of participants, the risk of theft is a barrier.
The most promising opportunities and incentives that employers and governments can put in place:
- Subsidies for the purchase of a bicycle (57%) was a measure widely supported by respondents;
Increasing the amount of cycling infrastructure and connectivity to each other (53%) was also identified as an important leverage point;
42% consider an employer's kilometric reimbursement for cycling journeys to be a significant incentive;
Having a secure place to park their bikes was cited by almost 41%;
The availability of self-service bikes offered by employers was seen as an effective way of encouraging people to cycle by almost 40%.
"This data is really interesting with regards to policies and practices that could be implemented by employers and governments alike. Considering that transportation emissions are our weak spot in Quebec, active transportation has enormous potential to improve our environmental footprint," concludes Anne-Catherine Pilon.
Methodology: The data was collected in September 2023 from a sample of 256 people who participated in the Vélovolt project from September 2021 to November 2022. The participants came from various administrative regions of Quebec.
Vélovolt is financially supported by Action-Climat Québec, a program financed by the Quebec government, and is in accordance with the objectives of the 2030 Plan for a Green Economy.
Équiterre's offices are located on Indigenous lands that have not been ceded by treaty, which we now call Montreal and Quebec City. We recognize that Indigenous peoples have protected their territories since immemorial times and have used their traditional knowledge to guard the lands and waters. We are grateful to live on these lands and are committed to continuing our efforts to protect them. Read more