THE Green Party has proposed hiking up people's property tax payments by 15% as part of a drive to make Cork the electric bike capital of Europe within 10 years.
The party will propose a 15% increase in Local Property Tax, with the money ringfenced for cycle lanes and pedestrian infrastructure.
The party wants €1.5m to be ring-fenced for commuter cycle infrastructure, including a cycle route between Ballincollig and the city centre, and the city centre to Little Island, connecting with Glanmire.
At the Green Party's Think-In at the Metropole Hotel, local councillors, along with Green Party TDs Eamon Ryan and Catherine Martin and Green MEP Grace O'Sullivan, took a cycling tour of the north side of the city utilising electric bikes.
Green Party Councillor, and representative for the Cork North Central constituency, Oliver Moran said electric bicycles could 'revolutionise' commuting in the city.
"Earlier this year I made a decision not to replace our family's 10-year-old Clio with a new electric car.
"We thought long and hard in our household, but decided against it.
"My wife is a daily public transport user, I had started cycling more to work, and we didn't want to be passing an expensive car every day thinking we weren't getting value for money.
"A few people I know have electric bikes. At least one has sold his car for one. Others have kept their old cars but use their e-bikes for their daily commutes."
"A lot of people think the weather is going to be the biggest problem cycling to work in Cork," Councillor Moran said.
"Actually, it's not an issue at all. I keep one of those coats that wrap away into a bag on hand, and I can honestly say I've only used it a handful of times over the year."
"For me, the challenge is Summer Hill. I live at the top of Montenotte, and it's great going downhill but coming back up is a different story!
"It's doable, but slow going. You get home and you need to change your shirt for sure. I couldn't believe the electric bike – I wasn't even trying and I was doing 20km/h up Summer Hill like it was a casual ride on the flat."
"There's still a lot of challenges for cycling in Cork, safety being the number one issue, there is a huge need for segregated cycle infrastructure," he added.
"An electric bike is now definitely on the horizon for me. It would be easier if it was fully covered under the bike to work scheme, or if there were grants for them like there are for electric cars, but compared to a car it works out at only €50 a month over five years, even for a high-end model."