We are supporting local community-based organizations around the country, in launching community-controlled transportation options that are completely free to use. Made possible by a donation of e-bikes from Uber Technologies, these E-Bike Libraries provide access to high-tech e-bikes through programming models designed by and for marginalized communities.
What’s an E-Bike Library?
While traditional shared mobility services like bike sharing may overlook the poor, working-class, and communities of color, E-Bike Libraries focus on empowerment of these folks through sustainable, community-controlled transportation programming. E-Bike Libraries are led by community-based organizations and offer electric-assist bikes free of charge to community members. Removing this cost of borrowing bikes from members, gets more people biking while also facilitating enhanced access to jobs, services, and recreational opportunities in their cities.
Much like a public library where people can go to borrow books as well as attend educational community events, E-Bike Libraries are places where folks can borrow e-bikes for free and participate in community events centered around cycling.
Members of E-Bike Libraries are introduced to the service through face-to-face (or virtual in the COVID era) interactions, building impactful relationships between community-based organizations and members. This process includes education on bicycle safety, how the bikes work, trip planning, and a basic introduction to cycling culture. Unlike traditional shared bicycle models, bikes can be rented for shorter as well as extended periods of time, better suiting the mobility needs of members. Members rely on the community organization for general bike maintenance and e-bike battery charging.
Community-based organizations can leverage their e-bikes for their own programmatic goals. This may include workforce development and education on device maintenance, led by a local bicycle cooperative. It could also include promoting job and healthy food access, as well as advancing healthy lifestyles through physical activity and fresh air. Furthering a wide variety of goals, Bike Libraries may flex to best reflect the organizations leading them as well as the communities they serve.
E-Bike Library pilot programs
During the summer of 2021 we partnered with two community partners in Western New York to pilot E-Bike Library programs. East Side Bike Club and Create a Healthier Niagara Falls Collaborative led E-Bike Library programs in Buffalo and Niagara Falls, respectively. Both programs made e-bikes freely available and held group rides to build community around e-bike riding. Additionally, members of both Library programs used e-bikes to commute, run errands, and connect with more of their neighbors.
Coverage of these programs:
We are looking for help!
Are you a community based organization that could use a fleet of e-bikes for your programs? Are you a founder that is interested in bringing services like this to your constituency? Please contact us at: Info@sharedmobility.org