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Electric Bikes – Are They Part of the Answer to Guildford’s Traffic Problems?

An electric bike, hardly discernible from one that’s only pedal powered

Guildford is too hilly for many to switch from cars to bikes. So say many who have contributed to the debate on the town’s transport problems but one local business thinks they have a product that can help – electric bikes.

Chris Ogle of Electric Bikes Guildford said: “Guildford is notoriously hilly and many people are put off cycling as result. Electric bikes can solve that problem.

Chris Ogle with his wife outside his shop in Woodbridge Road

“The bikes are pedal assist, meaning that the rider pedals and the motor assists – so you still have to pedal but it is a lot easier. You still exercise but you can arrive at your destination fresh.”

Chris is working on a bike share programme (think Boris bikes). He has identified a supplier for the bikes and hopes to have a pilot scheme up and running soon.

The vision: a bike share programme, with battery powered bikes

He continued: “Initially this will take workers from the station to the business park. If this is successful it is planned to roll it out across Guildford, with bike stations at the Park and Rides, the Research Park, university, sports centres and so on.”

The bikes have a battery capable of powering the bike for 60 kilometres (37 miles) on a single charge. The bikes receive a charge as soon as they are put in a docking station but they can also be charged with solar energy.

The cost to users of a bike-share scheme should be no more than a bus fare, and could be subsidised for OAPs, students etc. For those who buy their own electric bike, a full battery charge costs about 7p for the possible 60 kilometre range.

Chris is working with Guildford Borough Council to develop his idea. He said: “They see it as an important part of their efforts to achieve a “modal shift”.

“I am keen to get as many people in Guildford cycling as possible. This will reduce the awful congestion and resulting pollution. We will also have a healthier population.

“With an electric bike you get 80% of the health benefits of a conventional bike – and you are up to 10 times more likely to use it. Of course cycling also needs to made safer in Guildford and the council are starting to address this.”

 

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9 Responses to Electric Bikes – Are They Part of the Answer to Guildford’s Traffic Problems?

  1. Colin Checkley Reply

    February 27, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    I think that this is a great idea. I already have an electric bicycle and would not be without one now. They are easy to ride and the power assist helps enormously.

    I am currently on my third electric bicycle. I upgrade every so often. I thoroughly recommend them to anyone of any age. They are great and most importantly they are just as safe as a manual bike.

  2. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    February 27, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    Sounds like a great idea. But would car drivers leave their cars and opt for electric bikes? I think many would not. If this mode of transport was acceptable, a lot of car drivers would have done so already by switching to motorbikes or scooters.

    Personal comfort, carrying shopping, passengers and distances travelled are the reasons for using a car for many. So the aim of the councils should be to carry out a true improvement of the network together with other measures like better bus services and provision of cycle lanes where possible.

    I have suggested many improvements to the gyratory and for the network around the railway station and the A3. The Guildford Vision Group has also offered ideas. Councils should concentrate on doing a better transportation job rather than attempting to dilute the problems with aspirations of reduction through “modal shift” etc.

  3. Dave Middleton Reply

    February 27, 2017 at 4:30 pm

    Seems like a grand idea.

    Not quite for anyone of “any age” though. You have to be 14 or over, to use one on the highway.

    It’d be good if they come with permanent fitted lights like the Boris Bikes.

  4. Brian Holt Reply

    February 27, 2017 at 5:55 pm

    Guildford would end up another Cambridge with thousands of bikes all over town, we all know how most cyclist behave, disobeying any traffic lights or signs.

    To suggest all pensioners could use electric bikes is completely silly because of various symptoms that affect older people, for instance poor balance, hearing and giddiness. How would they carry their shopping.

    Also many elderly people suffer from arthritis in the knees, so how would they even get on a bike?
    Does Guildford want cycles left all over the town centre and cause even more congestion.

    People need to see Cambridge and see what it is really like.

  5. Chris Ogle Reply

    February 28, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    Yes, they will have permanent lights fitted – as well as a sturdy basket, designed to accommodate a 12 pack!

  6. Paul Bishop Reply

    February 28, 2017 at 12:14 pm

    As a cyclist, it isn’t the hills that are the problem in Guildford. It’s the busy roads full of trucks, poorly driven cars and pot holes.

  7. David Roberts Reply

    February 28, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    A great initiative, and a useful addition to local modes of transport!

    Don’t let’s get carried away, though. Two-wheeled transport will never produce the “modal shift” that some planners sentimentally hope will cut traffic congestion.

    This is because most people won’t or physically can’t use them, including most of the elderly, small children, parents with babies or toddlers, people who are unwell, overweight or unfit, people accompanied by pets, people who need to look smart and keep out of the weather and anyone carrying heavy shopping or bags.

    That doesn’t leave many likely users apart from students and fit young workers – a limited demographic in Guildford.

    • Chris Ogle Reply

      March 2, 2017 at 2:46 pm

      It is true that there will always be some people who will not be able to cycle and the electric bikes can only be used legally by people over 14. However, the assistance given by the motor is significant – up to 300% of your input. We have sold to many elderly people, plenty of unfit people and they are ideal for parents with a child seat.

      We would love to show Dave Middleton at our shop quite how good they are. We have a car park behind the shop where one can try out the bikes.

      • Dave Middleton Reply

        March 6, 2017 at 2:12 pm

        I give my thanks Chris Ogle for his offer, but I’ll stick with my motorcycle for the time being!

        Was the offer above actually intended for Mr Roberts?

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