Cork City and County Mayors launch wE-BIKE, Source: Cork City and County Mayors launch wE-BIKE. Photo:

E-bikes show the future of Cork's transport

E-bikes show the future of Cork's transport

The wE-BIKE initiative, the first of its kind in Ireland, promotes electric bicycles as an everyday commuting option in Cork city and county

The lengthy lockdown period and the advent of spring have given a boost to the sale of bicycles and e-bikes in Ireland, as many people preferred open-air cycling to staying shut in their cars when making local journeys. Nevertheless, recent data from the Central Statistics Office shows that three in four journeys in Ireland are still made by car even though more than half of all trips are shorter than 8 km. A new campaign, promoting the use of e-bikes as an everyday commuting option in Cork city and county, aims to change this attitude.

Leading the way in Ireland

The wE-BIKE initiative, the first of its kind in Ireland, was launched this week jointly by the City and County Mayors of Cork. Coinciding with Cork Bike Week, which runs from 18 – 27 September, wE-BIKE showcases the various purposes and advantages of e-biking. The campaign will have a virtual presentation on International Car Free Day, 22 September. 

Compared to conventional bicycles, e-bikes enable people to cover longer distances and hilly areas, and offer a healthier and far cheaper way to travel than a private car. In addition to the  environmental benefits of e-bikes (lowered congestion, pollution and carbon emissions), the project highlights their social advantages in areas such as work and school commutes, leisure trips, reintroduction of retired persons to cycling, etc. The wE-BIKE Cork initiative has its ambassadors – seven residents located throughout the city and county whose lives have been transformed by e-bikes.

Speaking on the occasion, Lord Mayor of Cork Joe Kavanagh said, quoted by the City Council website: “People are becoming increasingly interested in e-bikes as they are a super way to keep us healthy, reduce carbon emissions, and not least, are a very pleasant way of getting around. Cork’s future is being built on sustainability and climate action so it’s great to see the city and county councils working together on this innovative initiative."

"Cork is home to beautiful sights and scenery and is the perfect county to experience while cycling...This initiative encourages travel in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way, while reaping the benefits to health and wellbeing and enjoying our beautiful surroundings,” added Mayor of County Cork Mary Linehan Foley.

Buying e-bikes made easier

The e-bike initiative comes after recent changes to the Bike to Work Scheme which offers tax free bikes for cycling to work. It now enables employers to help their employees obtain a brand new bike and safety equipment worth EUR 1,250 for regular bicycles and EUR 1,500 for e-bikes. In another incentive for the public to embrace e-bikes, 27 Credit Unions in Cork are providing financial services to help cover the costs of purchasing an e-bike. 



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