A recent study in May 2020 carried out by researchers at the University of Leeds has found that:
- Electrically-assisted bicycles (e-BIKES), if used to replace car travel, have the capability to cut car carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in England by up to 50%. (about 30 million tonnes per year)
- The greatest opportunities are in Rural and sub-urban settings. (City dwellers already have many low-carbon travel options, so the greatest impact would be on encouraging use outside urban areas.)
- There is scope for e-BIKES to help people who are most affected by rising transport costs.
e-BIKE use has the potential to improve equity.
Rural areas have fewer public transport or alternative transport options to fit their travel needs. Due to distances between rural villages and towns and few safe cycle routes between them, and the often hilly landscapes in rural areas, walking and standard cycling are not always the best modes of transport to replace a high proportion of car travel.
However e-BIKES, compared with conventional cycles, have considerable range and enable cyclists of many different ages and abilities to tackle difficult hills and routes, thereby making e-BIKES a realistic alternative mode of transport for work, shopping, exercise, tourism, etc. to replace a large number of local car journeys in rural environments.
Policy makers need to move beyond the changes they think people would like and instead plan for a transport system which reduces its CO2 emissions as well as providing efficient, accessible mobility for all.