Nelson city hall to help staff buy electric bikes

Purchase price will be repaid through payroll deductions

Nelson city council wants to see more electric bikes on the streets because it will relieve vehicle congestion, free up parking spaces, and reduce greenhouse gas production.

So council is instituting a pilot project with its 171 employees: the city will buy staff members an electric bike from a local supplier, to be paid off with payroll deductions.

Electric bikes cost several thousand dollars.

“For a lot of people that is like buying a used car, so we are going to run it and see what kind of uptake there is,” said Councillor Jesse Woodward. “Electric bikes are excellent for the city because it is so hilly and they are already very popular here.”

Project is part of parking strategy

He said the city is developing a parking strategy based on its recent survey completed by 900 residents, and this pilot project is a preliminary step in that strategy.

“The idea is to run this pilot and see how it goes, and if it expands well and there is good uptake we would try to bring it to the wider public,” Woodward said.

He said that what constitutes good uptake has not been decided, nor has a time limit for the pilot.

Expansion following the pilot could involve something like Nelson Hydro’s EcoSave program, in which residents pay for home energy upgrades (and perhaps in the future their bike purchase) through their hydro bill. But Woodward stressed that this is a new idea with no details and nothing decided.

As for bike parking during the pilot project, Woodward said there is space at city hall and at the public works yard for city employees to park their bikes.

Local electric bike sales on an ‘upward curve’

Local sales of electric bikes has spiked in the last few years, according to Mark Holt, owner of Sacred Ride in Nelson, which sells electric bikes.

“It’s on a huge upward curve,” Holt says. “That is what people are looking for. I run into people on the street and they say, ‘You guys have any electric bikes?’”

He said commuting on an electric bike makes sense in a steep town like Nelson where “the valley bottom is a lake, there is no flat, there is no bench.

“We are still tapping into that and people are starting to figure it out. It’s at the forefront of what is happening in the bike world, there seems to be quite the buzz about it.”

Holt said there is also a developing market for electric bikes for use on mountain trails.

Worldwide market taking off

The publication Electric Bikes Worldwide Reports states that in 2016 there were 200 million electric bikes worldwide, 120 million of them in China.

Forbes reports that sales of electric bikes have overtaken sales of regular bikes in the Netherlands, where the market grew by nine per cent last year, and that in 2017 the electric bike market in the U.S. increased by 25 per cent over the previous year.

The CBC has reported that General Motors is planning to start manufacturing electric bikes and that Tesla founder Elon Musk has expressed interest.

Nelson wants to be first

“You are going to see a lot of downtown cores heading in this direction,” Woodward says. “Nelson is primed because of the geography. If we do this we will be one of the first, if not the first.”

Lisa Helps, the mayor of Victoria, recently learned of Nelson’s initiative and has sent it to her management staff to consider, according to Victoria media reports.

Related:

Nelson council gets first look at parking survey results

Just Posted

Final Home Grown performance of the season

JOHN ALLEN Mistress of Ceremonies Margaret Moe led off the evening by… Continue reading

Immunization catch up program launching

Kimberley schools sending information to parents

East Kootenay snow pack below normal

The April snow survey and water supply bulletin from the BC River… Continue reading

Quilt of Valour presentation

Cindy Postnikoff of Military Ames says that it was an honour and… Continue reading

Know It All: Kimberley Cranbrook entertainment guide

Art exhibit in the showcase at Kimberley Public Library Fourteen paintings have… Continue reading

UPDATE: Four victims identified in deadly Penticton shooting spree

John Brittain, 68, faces three counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder

Prince George sweeps to first-ever BC Hockey League crown

Spruce Kings beat Vernon Vipers 3-1 in the Okanagan Wednesday for 13th straight playoff win

Hwang’s first MLS goal lifts Whitecaps to 1-0 win over LAFC

Vancouver picks up first victory of season

Child-proof your windows ahead of warm weather: B.C. expert

Fifteen children were taken to BC Children’s Hospital for falls in 2018

B.C. trucker pleads guilty to lesser charges in fatal Manitoba crash

Gurjant Singh was fined $3,000 and given a one-year driving prohibition.

Study links preschool screen time to behavioural and attention problems

The research looked at more than 2,400 families

More than $100,000 raised for family of professional skier who died near Pemberton

Dave Treadway leaves behind his pregnant wife and two young boys

BC SPCA asks public for donations after puppy caught in trap

The puppy’s medical bills are expected to amount to more than $4,600

B.C. party bus monitors required to watch for booze, drugs on board

New rule in time for grad outings, minister Claire Trevena says

Most Read