E-bikes “pretending to be bicycles” have taken over London city and shouldn’t be allowed to go mainstream in Ireland, according to one London-based journalist.
The Road Traffic and Roads Act 2023 was signed into law in June 2023, allowing e-bikes below a certain speed and power to ride alongside non-electric bikes in cycle lanes.
While the full regulations are not yet available, London-based Columnist Finn McRedmond said Irish cities would be better off without electric bikes.
“[In London], you’re seeing e-bikes both take up a lot of space within specially designed cycling lanes traditionally designed for non-electric vehicles, and you're also seeing them kind of littered on the streets,” she told Moncrieff.
E-bike rental companies have “taken over” London, according to Ms McRedmond, and pose a threat to city dwellers.
“They don't have any designated docking stations so you can use them wherever,” she said.
“A lot of people are very respectful and leave them in a safe space tucked away, but a lot of people don’t.
“They clog up the streets, they get in the way – it's terrible for blind people or people with buggies.
“I was just on a run at my lunchtime break earlier, and I came around the corner and nearly crashed into four of them.”
Ms McRedmond said this is particularly frustrating as she believes e-bikes aren’t even real bikes in the first place.
"They’re shaped like a bicycle, pretending to be a bicycle, taking up space reserved for bicycles, and are more akin to a Vespa,” she said.
“They’re a lot heavier than normal bikes and they broadly are taking people who wouldn't be able to cycle that fast a lot faster, which is taking inexperienced people who aren’t used to cycling very fast and putting them in the same lane as everyone else.
“It's kind of obvious that it's going to go horribly wrong.”
Electric bikes don’t contribute to increasing safety or efficiency in cities whatsoever, according to Ms McRedmond.
“If you think about what a car is for, it’s for transporting more than one person somewhere that’s too far to walk,” she said.
“If you think about bikes, it’s for transporting one person somewhere too far to walk.
“An electric bike isn’t expanding either functionality - it's doing the exact same a bike can do just in a more dangerous and nuisance way.”