The Lord Mayor of Cork has lauded e-bikes as an enjoyable and eco-friendly transport option at the launch of a new campaign in Cork.
Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Joe Kavanagh and Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Mary Linehan Foley have, in a first for Ireland, launched a new campaign aimed at promoting the use of e-bikes across Cork.
wE-bike is an initiative to promote electric bicycles as an everyday commuting option in Cork city and county while displaying their economical and eco-friendly advantages.
Speaking yesterday the Lord Mayor said he was delighted to get involved with the new campaign.
"People are becoming increasingly interested in e-bikes as they are a super way to keep us healthy, reduce carbon emissions, and not least, are a very pleasant way of getting around.
"Cork’s future is being built on sustainability and climate action so it’s great to see the City and County Councils working together on this innovative initiative," he said.
A variety of e-bike purposes will be targeted during the wE-bike initiative, which coincides with Cork Bike Week, running from September 19-27.
Sales of e-bikes and bicycles have risen in Ireland since March, particularly during the recent lockdown period, which saw many people return to cycling in preference to cars when making local journeys.
Despite this, three in four journeys in Ireland are still made by car even though more than half of all trips are less than 8km, according to recent data from the Central Statistics Office.
Cork’s new e-bike campaign hopes to further the positive changes in attitudes.
"Cork is home to beautiful sights and scenery and is the perfect county to experience while cycling," said Mayor of County Cork, Cllr Mary Linehan Foley.
"This initiative encourages travel in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way while reaping the benefits to health and wellbeing and enjoying our beautiful surroundings."
E-bike battery technology has also developed considerably in recent times with most quality e-bikes today fitted with a lithium-ion battery.
"In most bikes, the battery can be unlocked and removed by its owner for charging, but some do not," says Patrick Murray of City View Wheels in Cork, who have provided e-bikes for trial purposes to campaign advocates, Deirdre O'Shaughnessy and Stevie G.
"If you do not have access to a power point where you store your bike, it is important to choose a model with a removable battery," he said.
Sandy McGroarty, Coordinator of the Transport and Mobility Forum and wE-bike Cork, who are one of the partners in the campaign, said she hoped other counties would follow Cork's lead in promoting e-bikes.
"We feel proud to be the first dedicated electric cycling advocacy group in Ireland and hope to inspire other counties to follow us in our pursuit to share the joy of electric cycling," she said.
In another incentive for the public to move towards e-bikes, 27 Credit Unions in Cork are providing financial services to help cover the costs of purchasing an e-bike.
Additional equipment costs for the e-bike can also be covered with this loan.
The e-bike initiative follows shortly after changes to the Cycle to Work Scheme, where there has been a rise from €1,000 to €1,250 for pedal bicycles and €1,500 for e-bikes respectively.
The period of five years has also been reduced to four years, allowing people to apply for the scheme again every four years.
Speaking toearlier this month, Green Party councillor Oliver Moran said Cork needs to set a "moonshot ambition" to become the electric bike capital of Europe with 10 years.
"For me, looking at Cork it has great potential when it comes to cycling but there are obvious geographic challenges involved.
"For many people too there’s the challenge of cycling and just getting back on a bike.
"What an electric bike does is it gets over an awful lot of that.
"Cork has its unique geographical challenges of the hills and electric bikes eat the hills," he said.
For more information, visit we-bike.ie