The TechCrunch Podcast: Bicycles, e-Bikes and the slow-burn disruption of cities

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Cities are becoming more crowded, people are buying more cars and mass transit is reaching capacity. At some point, there will be no room to move. That’s where bikes come in. Even better, that’s where e-bikes come in.

That’s what Horace Dediu, an analyst and self-described disruption theorist, and Hong Quan, president of Karmic Bikes, are on the cast to talk about. They joined TechCrunch Editor-in-Chief Matthew Panzarino to talk about electrified wheels and whether they have a chance to thrive in a car culture.

Traction for this form of electrified transportation in the U.S. is slow. There isn’t enough density, says Quan, and there will never be enough adoption. And while there is a movement starting with investments in bike-sharing companies, cars still rule.

Contrast this with e-bike use in other parts of the world where city planners are part of the solution. In Europe, cities like Copenhagen for instance, city lights are timed to bike speeds. And during snowfall, by law, bike lanes are cleared first. “The car people become the outcasts,” says Dediu, who is bullish on adoption in the U.S. “Bikes are eating cars,” he said. There’s an image for you.

So what’s the answer? Well, according to Quan, if you build it, people will use it. But if you don’t build it you have no evidence that they will. Logical.

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