Today’s Solutions: May 20, 2022

The city of Madison in Wisconsin is set to become the first city in America to go 100 percent electric for its bike star program. The reason: E-bikes are simply easier for people to ride and will motivate more people to ditch their cars. The extra push from a motor makes previously unconquerable hills manageable, and for people with mobility issues, older residents, or those who have not biked in a long time, the assist makes cycling more accessible.

Especially as cities are recognizing the need to prioritize low-carbon transit options in the face of climate change, biking (which only around 2% of the population currently uses as the mode of transit) has gained momentum as a solution. And e-bikes seem to be effective in closing the distance between the “avid cyclist” commuter set (typically fit, middle-aged men who commute in spandex) and people who just want a reliable and efficient way to get around their city.

The switch will come at a higher cost to users: Annual memberships will go up from $65 to $100. But for lower-income people for whom the cost of membership is prohibitive, the local bike share program BCycle will continue to provide it for free through partnerships with several community-based organizations.

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