Cycling group wants measures to encourage pedelecs and e-bikes

Bicycle Advocacy Group (BAG Malta) recommend further measures and promotion to encourage use of pedelecs and e-bike technologies

Cycle commuting group Bicycle Advocacy Group (BAG Malta) have suggested that far more needs to be done to promote the use of pedelecs and e-bike technologies locally.

“Malta, trails behind the rest of Europe on two wheeled electro-mobility,” the group said.

The BAG noted that while pedelecs use grows north of the alps, southern Europeans have been a bit backward in adopting these new technologies.

“Italy, for instance, has had very minimal growth in this field, but that is far better than Malta, as it continues to be one of the few EU states to register a negative trend in pedelecs sales and utilization,” BAG said.

They add that locally, bicycle shop owners have complained that the local policy of registration and helmet use has seen sales fall from one pedelec a week last year to nearly one a month, in the first quarter of 2016.

“Once again Malta is being left behind,” the group said in a press release.

“Far more needs to be done by the government to reverse its failed policy decision,” they said, pointing out that in northern Europe, e-bikes have helped to reduce congestion, alleviate parking problems and create a whole new industry and jobs market that Malta is losing out on.” 

The group added that it is also concerned that ignoring the congestion busting potential of pedelecs will have serious consequences for car owners in the near future.

“While we welcome cleaner vehicles, if you replace a queue of petrol vehicles with a queue of electric vehicles, it’s still a queue. Congestion will remain the same and it’s car drivers who will pay in the long run,” they added.

“In a country overly concerned with hills and sweating as traditional barriers to cycling, hill-busting pedelecs amy be the solution,” they add.

The group went on to point out that pedelecs public bike-share could have immense potential to kick-start a modal shift, but for that to happen, the government needs to admit its mistake and reverse the poor policy decisions on pedelecs. 

The group’s call follows from that of German bicycle advocacy group ADFC, for a more even hand in grants for e-bike solutions, particularly in the south of Europe.

“With practically no public subsidies, the booming German e-bike market is seen as having enormous potential to replace cars and relieve congestion in German cities.”

The group points out that while conventional bikes have proved faster than cars for most 5km trips in German cities, a federal environmental agency report found that e-bikes increase that range to almost 10 km. They add that a good example of a more balanced promotion of e-bikes and pedelecs is the city of Munich.

“Their recent e-mobility scheme includes cycling and offers a financial incentive of up to €2,000 for buyers of electric cargo-bikes,” it adds.

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