Cycling into the future: Assessing attitudes towards e-bikes in a mid-sized, sprawled Canadian city
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Cycling offers an alternative to carbon-intensive transportation, yet cycling rates in North America remain relatively low. Electric bicycles offer a low-barrier entry to cycling that have the potential to encourage a transition to more sustainable and healthy transportation modes. This research aims to fill a gap in research on e-bike use and adoption in a Canadian context. A survey was conducted to assess openness and attitudes to e-biking for transportation in Nanaimo, BC. Interviews with e-bike retailers were conducted to determine what trends can already be seen in Nanaimo. The results from the survey and interviews indicate a high level of interest in e-bikes by non-cyclists, but barriers such as cost and risk of theft may prevent pursuit of e-biking. Interview results suggest that e-bikes are gaining in popularity in Nanaimo, predominantly by older adults for recreational purposes, but also with younger adults who are interested in e-biking for transportation. Policy recommendations to encourage e-cycling are described at the end of the document.