As Vancouver commuters are stuck in traffic jams created by the cycling visionaries at City Hall who have carved up major streets to install virtually empty bicycle lanes, they might be tempted to get on a bike and head downtown.
Unfortunately, downtown is out of cycling range for an average Vancouver commuter. BC Cycling Coalition reports (on page 15) that an average cycling trip is 3.2 km, the distance from Robson Square to theVancouver City Hall, while the majority of Vancouver commuters live further away.
If good old fashioned pedal power is too onerous, a plausible alternative might seem to be the electric bike. Lured by the promise of zero emissions and no operating costs, a commuter may be tempted to hand over more than two thousand dollars for the chance to laugh at the suckers in their Honda Civics that pay 7 cents a kilometer in fuel costs (according to Yahoo Autos).
However, in reading the fine print one may suffer an electric shock. Electric bike batteries last less than 15,000 km and cost a thousand dollars to replace. Simple math tells one that a dollar for every 15 kilometers travelled on your electric bike, or 6.7 cents per kilometer, is virtually the same amount as the fuel cost to commuters in their Honda Civics. Even ignoring the fact that Civic commuters can accomodate 5 passengers, easily reach destinations more than 20 kilometers away and refuel their vehicles in minutes rather than the 4 hours every day needed to recharge an electric bike, it is obvious that there is no such thing as a free ride.
Unlike Mayor Robertson and the bobbing heads in his chamber that are blowing millions on bike lanes by removing funding from libraries, parks and essential services, a sensible person examines the costs involved.