Chicago is a bit of a late arrival to the electric bike revolution, but it has finally arrived in the Windy City. After banning the operation of bicycles with motorized assistance on the city streets, a bill passed early in 2019 allowing for certain classifications of electric bicycle operation within city limits. This means commuters and tourists alike now have options, as electric bicycle rentals and scooter exchange programs can compete for attention. Residents looking to invest in a low-cost transportation option also need to weigh the benefits and costs of each.
Nimble in Traffic, Versatile in Operation
One of the reasons electric bike fans love them over other choices like scooters is because they can operate in traffic, nimbly using bike lanes and low-speed general traffic lanes as needed. The electric assistance helps keep the rider nearer the speed other vehicles operate at, helping riders fit into traffic more easily. By contrast, electric scooters with the power to operate on city streets frequently have engine sizes that require a license. Small electric scooters available to unlicensed riders are often more fit for sidewalk traffic, operating at speeds about half that of mens electric bikes.
There’s also the issue of what to do when the battery gets depleted. Scooters just don’t work at speed without a running motor in many cases, but most electric bikes for adults operate as normal bicycles if their motor’s battery goes dead. That means riders don’t have to wait for a charge to get where they’re going. Of course, scooter fans can point to exchange programs that help with this, but scooter exchanges are designed for rentals. Scooter owners need to contend with battery management on their own.
Electric Bike Regulation in Nearby Cities
One of the biggest considerations for riders who have a long commute is the usefulness of an electric bicycle in nearby cities like Evanston and Aurora. The advent of the electric bike in Chicago has led to a push in many communities to adopt regulation that allows them on city streets in nearby towns and other municipalities, but it takes time for that regulation to become uniform. If you’re shopping for a women’s electric bicycle you can take on the train to work and use in another town without worry, you need to check out the current state of ebike regulation in that area. It’s also worth playing it safe by investing in a low-speed bike, because they are less regulated in most places that allow electric bicycles.
Are There Disadvantages To eBikes in Chicago?
There are always advantages and disadvantages to the choice to use any kind of transportation. While ebikes might be versatile and easy to use, they are also regulated in ways that scooters just aren’t. They can also be more expensive to rent and are often more expensive to purchase outright. Additionally, some walking trails and city parks allow for scooter use but do not allow for the use of electric bikes that can be used on city streets. Since each public space with trails and walkways gets to make its own rules regarding its property, that can limit your options for recreational use. In those cases, opting for a scooter will probably suit your needs better. In most others, though, the ebike has some distinct advantages.