New concepts and designs are embedding cycle use more widely in all sections of society and the economy. Cycle trailers and cargo bikes are more widely used and are playing an increasingly important role in the urban economy – and in helping families to organise their lives. The increased use of bicycles and expansion of the use of pedelecs as well as the improving status of the bicycle will lead to further increases in sales of bikes and bike accessories over the next few years – and in the perceived value of the bicycle.
In any event, the bicycle is leading the way in terms of battery-based e-mobility. E-bikes bridge the gap between the bicycle and the car market. 2014 saw 8,522 new electric cars registered in Germany, but this compared to pedelec sales of 480,000. Electric bikes are key to developments in the cycling sector and for increasing bike use, because they are very versatile, the technology has been perfected, and they are affordable for large sections of the population.
Pedelecs make cycling easy even in hilly regions because the back-up power considerably reduces the effort required to get up hills. They also open up new opportunities for people who don't think they are fit enough for conventional cycling, as well as for commuters. Pedelecs therefore mean that for many people e-mobility has already become a natural part of the way they get around on a day-to-day basis: the Zweirad-Industrie-Verband (ZIV) estimates that 560,000 e-bikes were sold in Germany in 2016, an increase of five percent compared to the previous year.
This is because the e-bike and pedelecs offer new usage options: almost half of car journeys are less than five kilometres (three miles) long. These trips can easily be done by bike. Electrically power-assisted bicycles expand the bicycle's possible range of uses in many different ways: pedelecs and e-bikes make much longer journeys possible. Electric-assist cargo bikes are used as family vehicles and in many sector of the economy. For example, inner-city delivery services can improve their competitiveness by using flexible, electric-assist cargo bikes. The advantages of cargo bikes are their flexibility, their speed in an urban setting, and their lack of emissions, so they too make a big contribution to sustainable mobility.
Measures for promoting and encouraging the use of pedelecs are set out in the RadSTRATEGIE (cycling strategy) document drawn by the Baden-Württemberg state administration. In this context, the state administration is devising a basic strategy for promoting cycling e-mobility which covers all fields of use. The creation of a comprehensive network of pedelec and cargo bike facilities as part of the cycling infrastructure, including parking and battery-charging facilities, gives people an added incentive to buy and use pedelecs. Systematic improvements in the integration of pedelec facilities and public transport enlarges the catchment areas of rail and bus services. This makes it possible to combine the two forms of transport.
- Bundesministerium für Verkehr, Bau und Stadtentwicklung (now the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure) (publ.) (2012): Nationaler Radverkehrsplan 2020 (National Cycling Plan 2020) - Den Radverkehr gemeinsam weiterentwickeln (Developing Cycling Together). Berlin
- Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure (publ.) (2016): Baden-Württemberg RadSTRATEGIE (cycling strategy) – Wege zu einer neuen RadKULTUR für Baden-Württemberg (Routes to a new cycling CULTURE for Baden-Württemberg. Stuttgart
- Zweirad-Industrie-Verband e.V. (2016): Industry goes into the cycling season on a sound footing – business barometer for the first half of 2016. Press release. Bad Soden am Taunus.