E-Bike Events this Fall with OEC

At OEC, we believe that a high-quality transportation system is one that offers people healthy and safe choices to meet their transportation needs.

Electric bicycles and other kinds of small electric mobility devices, like scooters and skateboards, are potentially transformative because they can meet many of the same needs as a car, but with fewer costs, and a lot less pollution. In order to really take advantage of their potential, we need to make sure that our leaders understand the benefits so they can help us realize the potential of e-bikes. To this end, OEC’s Legislative Director Morgan Gratz-Weiser and I (Transportation Program Director Sara Wright) worked this fall to help set up a series of e-bike rides for local, regional, and state decision-makers. We coordinated with local bike shops and advocates, invited a wide range of people in our communities, and showed up to our rides in September and October with our fingers crossed for good weather!

We co-hosted rides in Portland, Hood River, and Bend, and participated in a ride in Eugene run by Better Eugene Springfield Transportation. Our incredible partners – Oregon E-Bikes, Bend Electric Bikes, Bend Bikes, Commute Options, The Environmental Center, Go By Bike, Forth, The Street Trust, E-Bikes for All, BIKETOWN, Megan Ramey, and more – made the magic happen and provided fun, educational rides for dozens of people with key roles in our communities. We had participants come from city councils, city and county staff, planning commissions, Oregon Transportation Commission, parks boards, county commissions, and the state legislature. Participants were delighted to get a chance to try out e-bikes, experience how it feels to ride on different kinds of infrastructure and learn from e-bike retailers and users how e-bikes are transforming transportation, recreation, cargo delivery, and lives across Oregon.

We’re really excited about e-bikes. They offer mobility for people who don’t have access to driving a car. They can replace car trips in many contexts. They open up bicycling for recreation and transportation to many people who can’t use a non-electric bike. They make biking in hilly areas, biking with a kid (or two!), and biking to the hardware store or the grocery store possible for more people. They even create great opportunities for small-scale freight mobility, particularly in congested environments. We believe that by introducing people with key decision-making roles to the enormous potential of e-bikes, we can create a ripple effect of policies and investments that support safe, convenient, accessible use of e-bikes. The rapidly rising popularity of e-bikes also offers us an opportunity to reevaluate our infrastructure. More and more trips are happening by e-bike and other electric micro-mobility; it’s time to start thinking about making enough space in our streets to allow for increasing numbers of small electric vehicles without compromising the safety and access for people walking and riding non-electric bikes. 

We really enjoyed our e-bike rides this fall, and we loved seeing the smiles on the faces of the participants. We all had a great time (and the weather held up for us), and we know that the participants – even if they didn’t all go back the next day and purchase an e-bike – will be thinking about how e-bikes might play a role in their own lives and those of their constituents, what policy and investment changes might help support e-bike accessibility and use, or maybe just get excited to learn more about electric micro-mobility.

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