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Journeys : MNJ Aug Sep 2011
Street-smart Opinion We asked: What do you think is important to consider when you buy a car? Photos and interviews: Margie Law Hobart Councillor peddles electric: e-bikes for Hobart City Council? Alderman Bill Harvey Take a look at cities around the world – the electric vehicle has taken off, big time. Electr ic cars are getting cheaper and their range longer. Gradually but certainly we’re seeing electric vehicles of all shapes and sizes taking their place on the roads; in Tassie there are already a handful of fully-electr ic motorcycles zooming around. But most interesting to me at the moment is the proliferation of the electric bicycle. If you know Hobart, you know hills – and you know that to ride a conventional treadlie around this city takes a good set of legs and lungs. Bike usage in Hobar t is increasing, but there are still lots of people for whom pedalling is not an option. But now you can buy an electric bike. The e-bike is a great leveller, so to speak. A small electric motor helps a rider up Hobart inclines that traditionally deterred all but the most active folk. You still need to pedal an e-bike, but the extra help from the motor means you can get from A to B and back to A again without arriving in desperate need of a shower and a change of clothes. No parking hassles, way cheaper and, within the city at least, quicker than taking the car. You can buy an e-bike off the shelf, or buy a kit that you can install on your existing machine. A new e-bike costs about the same as an old car, and costs almost nothing to run – a full battery re-charge is less than 20 cents. The health benefits of adopting a bike are obvious, not just for the individual but for our society as a whole – fewer instances of heart disease, obesity and diabetes, not to mention better mental health for those who choose the open-air option. Sure, some people think the road is a dangerous place for a bike, but Hobart is developing cycleways and bike-fr iendly infrastr ucture as par t of council’s push to make Hobar t a more liveable, people- fr iendly city. This will remove that particular barrier for many people, and with time the situation w ill only get better. It is inevitable – e-bikes will soon be a common sight around the city. That’s why I’ve put forward a motion calling for a repor t on the feasibility of the council purchasing a small f leet of e-bikes. A lot of council’s day-to-day business involves meetings at various places around tow n, which usually means driving a council car. It’s these short jour neys I’d like to eliminate, so having the option to use an e-bike instead would be a marvellous way to reduce costs and provide a little more daily exercise for those who want it. The objective is not to eliminate the use of cars but to provide an environmentally-sustainable and convenient alter native. The City of Melbour ne already has a fleet of e-bikes for its staff; Australia The most important is fuel efficiency. Something worth my money to buy and able togetmefromAtoB. Ashton Shearing, Newnham Reliability and price are the main things. Gary Smith, Judbury I s’pose the most important thing is that it actually moved. After that, mad subwoofers and tinted windows and it has to be manual because you have to be able to drift. And it needs four doors. Kirra Matson, West Launceston Safety issues are impor tant. It should have air bags and proper safety things that are meant to be in a car. If it’s second hand, you need to be sure it hasn’t been in an accident. Elizabeth Gaskell, New Town Looks good. Manual. A safe car with air bags. Pretty modern. Four doors and a sedan. Abby Zizek, Perth A car that can go places. Josh Connor, Lindisfarne In our community 10 August / September 2011
Jun Jul 2011
Oct Nov 2011