Imagine if Quebecers started e-biking to work!
Here at Équiterre, we firmly believe that the electric bicycle is a great alternative to solo-driving when a regular bike or public transit is not an option. With that in mind, we are pleased to announce our brand new e-bike campaign called Vélovolt*. The campaign, to be rolled out across Quebec from 2021 to 2024, has three objectives.
Objective 1: Offer e-bike test drives in the workplace
Starting this fall, a Vélovolt pilot project will give employees and management at the Université de Montréal and the City of Trois-Rivières the chance to test drive an electric bicycle for their daily work commute over a two-week period.
“The e-bike campaign will see new cyclists saddle up thanks to a decrease in the effort required and an increase in the commuting distance made possible by electric assistance. The campaign will target people living within 10 and even 15 km from their workplace. Electric assistance is a great feature for those facing steep hills or long distances,” says Stéphane Béranger, Sustainability, Environmental Transition and Climate Change Coordinator at the Université de Montréal.
Objective 2: Gain new insights and make the e-bike experience more accessible
Clearing the path for electric bicycles.
The pilot project will also identify the motivations and obstacles experienced by employees test driving the e-bikes, as well as their employers. Our objective is to find solutions throughout the campaign to make electric bicycles even more accessible to various target groups throughout Quebec.
Objective 3: Raise the electric bicycle’s public awareness
In addition to informing more workers and getting them excited about the electric bicycle, the campaign has the potential to generate a very positive environmental impact. Indeed, choosing to cycle to work instead of driving could reduce our environmental footprint by up to 84%, according to Oxford University professor Christian Brand. Furthermore, if 14% of trips within cities around the world were made by bike, we could reduce global carbon emissions by 11%.
The Vélovolt campaign will raise public awareness on these issues and showcase the numerous benefits of riding a bicycle for our daily commuting needs.Although enthusiasm for active (human-powered) transportation has spiked during the pandemic (bicycle sales are through the roof while car use declined dramatically), cycling as an alternative to driving for daily commuting remains an underused solution that deserves greater awareness. For cyclists facing long distances and uneven terrain, the electric bicycle is an idea whose time has come! With an e-bike, cyclists can get around faster and cope more easily with longer distances and steep hills – while using less effort to pedal, depending on each person’s physical condition.
Beyond the greenhouse gas reductions (45% of GHG emissions come from transportation), choosing to cycle boosts our heart health and our mental well-being (thanks to endorphins!), and it also reduces air pollution. So let’s get out there and start pedalling!
*Vélovolt is operated by Équiterre and the Association des Centres de gestion des déplacements du Québec (ACGDQ), with the support of the Quebec government as part of its Action-Climat Québec program.