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Press release  •  2 min

New report: electric bikes are a ‘ticket to ride’ for reducing the role of the car

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Montreal, May 15, 2024 - To conclude its Vélovolt project, Équiterre, in collaboration with the Chair de Mobilité Polytechnique Montréal, is unveiling the most comprehensive report to date on the potential of electrically assisted bicycles (EABs) in Quebec.

The conclusions of this report are based on data obtained from EAB trials carried out by 50 organizations involving more than 1,000 people across Quebec over the past three years. These trials demonstrated the enormous potential of this mode of transport, in terms of its ecological, economic and health benefits.

Transforming commutes

One particularly telling figure from the report: in the Greater Montreal area, between 18 per cent to 25 per cent 1 of car journeys could be transferred to EABs. Given that 70 per cent of the population lives in metropolitan areas1, these gains could benefit a majority of Quebecers.

"The potential is tremendous."

-Marilène Bergeron, Équiterre’s Assistant Director of Educational Programmes

The benefits for the province of Quebec could be significant. According to a survey conducted among participants in the Vélovolt project, 37 per cent of them reduced their car use for commuting purposes in the year following their trial of an EAB.

"Through its ability to democratize cycling and increase its territorial range, EABs helps to diversify sustainable transport options and complements public transport and active modes," adds Catherine Morency, professor and chairholder of the Mobility Chair at Polytechnique Montréal, who piloted some of the research presented in the report.

The report also makes a series of recommendations to governments, municipalities and employers:

  1. Offer a financial incentives to replace a gasoline-powered vehicle with an EAB, to rent an EAB for a long period of time, or to convert a standard bicycle to electric power.

  2. Set up a professional long-term rental program in organizations or at the municipal level.

  3. Increase the number of facilities for cyclists, in particular safe bike racks, in organizations and in public areas.

  4. Further develop inter- and intra-municipal cycling networks.

  5. Demystify misconceptions about the use of EABs.

The many benefits of the EAB in numbers:

  • EABs are on average 21 per cent faster than conventional bicycles.

  • The distances covered by an EAB are between 9 per cent and 22 per cent greater than those covered by a conventional bicycle: an average of between 9.8 km - 11.4 km for an EAB, compared with 6.3 km - 7.1 km for a conventional bicycle.

  • Over similar distances, EABs reduce journey times by 16 per cent on hilly terrain and 29 per cent on flat terrain, compared with conventional bicycles.

  • Over its life cycle, an electric bicycle emits between 90 - 96 per cent less CO2 per km than a gas-powered vehicle.

  • Replacing a car with an EAB-public transport combo can save a household up to $7,146 a year.

  • While every kilometer cycled generates $0.18 for society, every kilometer driven costs $0.16.

1 The cited data comes from the Vélovolt trials and the ‘Origin-Destination’ survey of the Greater Montreal area

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 »

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