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What do a 71-year-old woman in the Netherlands, a governmental agent in San Francisco, and a marketing manager in Shanghai have in common?  They are all riders of electric bicycles, featured in a recent article in the New York Times about the global market for e-bikes.

To read more about this $11 billion industry, check out An Electric Boost for Bicyclists on the New York Times.

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Electric bicycles have long been popular in China, and their popularity is now growing in the U.S.

“The average auto trip in the U.S. is five miles or less,” David Cabanban, bicycle business manager at Sanyo North America, explains. “At the end of the day, how do you lower pollution and get people healthy? We’ve got to get people back to riding bikes.”

Read the full article in the New York Times, Electric Bicycles Are Gaining a Toehold in U.S.

Electric bikes are a huge hit in China, where road space and money are both at a premium.  In fact, electric bikes sales have outstripped car sales in the country.

Read the full article, Electric Bike Sales Soaring in China, at Bikeradar.com

At the Interbike trade show this fall, EcoBikes took center stage.  The Examiner has run a special feature on EcoBike electric bicycles, and the article features a great explanation of pedal assist and a discussion on what it feels like to ride an EcoBike around town!

Read the full story: Don’t Fear the EcoBike at the Examiner.

Electric bikes are prolific in China, and due to their ease of use and affordability, the motorbike industry has taken a hit in terms of market share.  In an attempt to recover, motorbike industry proponents have drafted and proposed legislation that would lower the maximum speed for an electric bike and require such things as driver and bike licensing.

To learn how electric bicycle advocates are fighting this legislation, read: Electric bike plan drives cyclists to fury on China Daily.

Picture 2.pngHat Tip to Fritz at Commute by Bike for posting on the availability of commuter checks for those who commute by bike to work. This program allows the employer to give a pre-tax salary deduction to help offset the costs of bicycles, equipment and accessories, and bike storage. Fritz reports:

The new solution supports the expansion of the Qualified Transportation Fringe Benefit (IRS Tax Code Section 132(f)) to allow bicycle commuters to designate pre-tax salary deductions of up to $240 per year. Individuals can now designate up to $20.00 per month as a pre-tax salary deduction to pay for the cost of commuting via bicycle. This includes the cost of bicycles, bicycling equipment and accessories, and storage unit costs.

Similar to current Commuter Check programs for public transit and parking, employers can offer the bicycling benefit as a pre-tax salary deduction, saving on taxes for the individual and the company or as a subsidy, which is also tax deductible for the company.

For more information on the program, visit http://www.commutercheck.com/

Click here to read the Commute by Bike post in its entirety.

Bike Europe reports in U.S. e-Bike Market Takes Off that the electric bike market in the U.S. is growing despite the financial crisis.  The article reports:

Amidst the financial crisis the US bike market and in particular the e-Bike segment is doing business very well. Reports say that the number of e-bikes sold in the U.S. is expected to reach a record 170,000 units this year as big retailers get in on this fast growing market.

While much of the growth is through big box stores, any increase in electric bike usage is a good thing for the economy and environment.  Plus, as more people use electric bikes, independent bicycle designers such as EcoBike get a push from people who want higher quality products with better service and warranties.

picture-1The Arizona Daily Star reports in Electric-bike sharing can get rolling with $35k investment that Tucson may be the first city in the U.S. to start an electric bicycle sharing program.

If Tucson invests $35,000 to start an electric bike-sharing program, it could take some cars off the road.

It would also put Tucson among the first cities in the country with a way for people to borrow an electric bicycle, businessman Daniel Mannheim told a City Council subcommittee Thursday, in a pitch for public funding.

Two U.S. cities are running pilot programs on bicycle-sharing, and Paris has about 200,000 bikes in its program for short-term rentals, said Mannheim, owner of Bikes Electric in Tucson.

But he said Tucson could be the first in the country offering electric bicycles as alternative transportation.