Biking in general enjoyed an increase in popularity during 2020 and 2021. So much so that we are still seeing bike and bike parts shortages. According to npd.com, the demand for bikes grew by 65% compared to two years ago (2019), while the demand for accessories grew by 36%, bike parts 31%, and helmets and shoes by 20%.
According to Treehugger, electric bikes have also been very popular last year with an increase in demand of 145% in the US, and some estimating e-bikes outselling cars by 2 to 1 in North America. With most trips in the U.S. less than 6 miles, an electric bike seems like the best choice between a regular bike trip and a car trip. The increase in use could potentially be even higher but many riders cite safety as a reason why they prefer to ride their car even for such short trips. Among the most cited reasons for not riding is not having access to a protected bike lane. Another barrier to adoption was not being able to secure the bike without carrying a heavy lock. We get it, e-bikes are an investment, so here are some ideas on how to secure yours.
Another exciting development in biking news, a new approach to bike commuting benefits and transit agencies changing rules to allow more types of bikes and other mobility devices on board, making it easier and more appealing to choose a bike instead of driving. Companies are starting to get more creative with their benefits to encourage biking. Some companies are offering $170 per month for their employees to use on bikes shares, leases, tune-ups, and secure parking. Additionally, legislation to offer better bike benefits, including a tax credit for people who purchase an electric bike are in the works. The E-Bike Act and the Bike Commuter Act of 2021, both included in the Build Back Better Act, could include benefits of close to $1,000/year. This is something to look forward to this year and a great way to encourage biking.
Last year was also the year when bike shares made a comeback in the County. Mercer County announced bike share was back at Mercer County Park, Rosedale Park, and Red Barn in Mercer Meadows. We are looking forward to seeing who will replace the Zagster bike share in all the other locations.
And lastly, bike trails also had a good year in our area. The Hopewell Lawrence Trail received the “Connect the Circuit Award” from the Bicycle Coalition of Great Philadelphia. Also, efforts to see the Johnson Trolley Line Trail have an overpass to link the North and South Section, are gaining momentum and we are looking forward to that.
Overall, there is a lot to be excited about and we can’t wait to see what 2022 has in store for bikes and biking. We are especially looking forward to seeing more progress on safety and protected bike lanes.