In 2020, Shared Mobility Inc. received a donation of over 3,000 Pedal Assist E-Bikes from Uber technologies with the plans of deploying community-controlled E-Bike Libraries by partnering with local Community-Based Organizations around the country. Presently, SMI has assisted in piloting multiple E-Bike Pilot Programs and E-Bike Libraries with Community-Based Organizations across the country.
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 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, e-bike libraries may flex to best reflect the organizations leading them as well as the communities they serve.
E-Bike Library 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 make e-bikes freely available and held group rides to build community around e-bike riding.
In 2022, we supported the lunch of the Electro Bici e-bike lending program in Los Angeles. Led by Pacoima Beautiful, this program provides free access to a fleet of 100 e-bikes for residents of the Northeast San Fernando Valley.
Coverage of these programs:
WNY E-Bike Library Initiative
With financial support from Independent Health, and The Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, Shared Mobility Inc., is steadily refurbishing a large reserve of Pedal Assist E-Bikes to donate to Community Based Organizations (CBOs) across Western New York who want to start their own e-bike library program.
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