There’s a radical disconnect between the way electric bikes are perceived on either side of the Atlantic Ocean. This October we got further confirmation of New York City’s bitter opposition to the mode, when Mayor Bill de Blasio vowed to push harder on the city’s enforcement of its e-bike ban. Citing public concerns about reckless riding, de Blasio promised not just to stop and fine e-bike riders, but also to punish businesses who employ them for deliveries—all this just a fortnight after the NYPD publicised its latest round of confiscations of a vehicle the city deems unsafe and intrusive.
Over in Europe, it’s a different matter entirely. It’s not just that e-bikes are tolerated, it’s that cities are actively encouraging more people to use them. In a bid to attract more riders, bike-share schemes across Western Europe are boosting their e-bike offering this season, turning what were initially cautious, partial experiments with sharing assisted bikes into a genuinely viable, large-scale alternative to exclusively pedal-powered bikes across entire cities.
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