City of Nelson to host E-bike Expo on June 24 – Castlegar News

Two new municipal initiatives aim to boost e-bike ownership in Nelson.

On June 24, the city will hold the E-bike Expo at the Nelson Innovation Center in Railtown, next to the Visitor’s Centre. There will be a variety of bikes on display, and attendees can hear about owner experiences and learn about the city’s e-bike program.

“We’ve heard from many residents that they want to buy an e-bike, but don’t know where to start,” city climate and energy adviser Cecilia Jaques said at her May 24 meeting. “Our goal is to bring people together to learn from each other and to facilitate the introduction to cycling.”

In the summer of 2020, the city began offering low-interest financing to homeowners to purchase an e-bike. Loan repayments are applied monthly to the owner’s Nelson Hydro bill.

The maximum loan amount is $8,000 per household, which can support the purchase of more than one bicycle.

Jaques said the program has had $120,000 participants so far, with a total loan value of $300,000, half of which has been spent at local bike dealers.

Encouraging the use of electric bicycles is an important part of the city’s strategy. climate strategy.

“By increasing the use of bicycles in Nelson,” Mayor John Dooley said when introducing the program in 2020, “we can reduce carbon emissions and pollution in our community. There are also increased benefits to have fewer vehicles on the road and more downtown parking capacity for visitors and retail customers.

The E-bike Expo is free and open from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

UBC pilot project

How effective is e-bike promotion as a climate action strategy?

To find out, Nelson signed a study led by Alex Bigazzi of UBC’s REACT (Research on Active Transportation) lab. The District of Saanich and the Capital Regional District (Victoria) are also participating in the study.

Bigazzi told Nelson’s council that e-bikes have four advantages: they’re low-carbon, they provide exercise, they’re relatively inexpensive compared to cars, and they have a low impact on traffic. .

“All of these benefits depend on e-bikes diverting motor vehicle travel,” he said. “So what we really need to know is how e-bike adoption affects other types of trips they would have made had they not purchased an e-bike.”

Study participants will monitor and document how their bike replaces a type of travel they would otherwise have done. From there, researchers will calculate a net greenhouse gas impact. This number will in turn be compared to the initial cost of participating in the e-bike finance program. This will generate a break-even figure, which will express the amount of carbon reduction per dollar cost of the program.

Bigazzi said REACT has a “state-of-the-art study design” based on best practices from around the world. The study will examine short-term impacts (at the time of purchase of the bike), a medium-term impact (three months later) and long-term impacts (12 months later). This three-part project will last one year, with analysis and findings published in the fall of 2023.

Councilor Rik Logtenberg said many people buy e-bikes but finance them themselves. Bigazzi replied that the study will have a control group made up of this category of e-bike owners.

Logtenberg added that the e-bike program could be the entry point to further decarbonization, such as participating in the city’s program. energy renovation of the house program, which also works through homeowners’ electricity bills.

“This could be the first step in a journey of decarbonizing my life,” he said, calling the process a “lifestyle change.”

Councilor Keith Page said giving the low-interest loan to landlords discriminated against tenants.

City manager Kevin Cormack said the program shouldn’t be limited to homeowners and larger businesses could adopt such an employee loan program.

Page said there should be a safety program run in conjunction with the Nelson Police Department and wondered if the loan program required safety features such as front and rear lights. He said greater adoption of e-bikes will create a greater need to learn about bike safety and help everyone learn to share the road.

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