Mackie Research: Māngere community give-it-a-go on ebikes
“In addition to reducing emissions, ebikes have travel time savings, less parking stress, cycling ease in hilly topography, fitness, enjoyment, and mental wellbeing." Image: Hamish Mackie.
In April/May 2021, Mackie Research in collaboration with Massey University helped co-design a ‘Give-it-a-go’ ebike trial with Time-to-Thrive (TTT), a community trust in Māngere. Participants took part in three two-hour workshops, run by TTT, during which they gained skills riding an ebike in on and off-street situations. This was followed by a hui to explore experiences of the training sessions and whether there was an appetite for further ebike use and in what contexts.
Hamish Mackie from Mackie Research says that within the transport sector, there is a significant risk that some communities will miss out on the e-mobility revolution and the many co-benefits that come with ebikes, which may contribute to low carbon transitions being inequitable.
“Some 66,000 ebikes were purchased in New Zealand in 2020 alone. In addition to reducing emissions, ebikes have travel time savings, less parking stress, cycling ease in hilly topography, fitness, enjoyment, and mental wellbeing. However, exposure and access to ebikes is less common in lower socio-economic suburban communities due to a myriad of barriers including cost.
“There is also a need to focus on fit-for-purpose cycling infrastructure, but our Te Ara Mua – Future Streets research found that infrastructure alone is unlikely to be the best way to trigger a culture of cycling, when a widespread cycling culture doesn’t already exist. Community based activities and incentives to promote cycling and ebiking are also needed.”
Participants in the Māngere trial reflected on the enjoyment that came from giving ebikes a go, there was an increased appreciation and understanding of ebikes, and participants considered how they would introduce an ebike into their transport activities if given regular access.
“People realised that the ebike could replace certain car trips and increase opportunities for exercise and recreation, while acknowledging that car use will continue to be needed in day-to-day life.”
Hamish says this initial trial highlighted overall support for ebike use and the opportunity to undertake a more comprehensive ebike trial in Māngere that will further explore the experience of regular ebike use in day-to-day settings on a longer-term basis, along with more formal evaluation actvities.
The trial was supported by the National Science Challenges Ageing Well and Healthier Lives, and CLM Community Sport, and also involved researchers Ali Raja, Karen Witten, and Simon Opit, all from Massey University.
Read the research
Raja, A., Mackie, H., Witten, K. & Opit, S. (2021). Māngere ebike trial, Stage 1: “Give-it-a-go”. 6pgs. Summary report for Ageing Well and Healthier Lives National Science Challenges.
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Date posted: 6 September 2021