Electric Bicycles Are Now 'A Trend'

The stream of articles about electric bikes indicates e-bikes are now officially 'a trend.'

Published: 20-Jan-2010

It’s a cliché in certain corners of the news media that a reporter needs to note three examples to report a story about a trend. The rule of three is often cited more in derision than admiration, but it seems to hold a certain amount of water. (For example, here, here and here. See how that works?)

So now it’s official: electric bicycles are a trend. Or, to be more exact, articles about electric bicycles are. The Times and The Wall Street Journal have both featured articles on the subject this week. Brad Stone, writing in the Ping column for the Sunday Business section of The Times, noted that Sanyo, an electronics giant, is selling a $2,300 bike with an electric motor, the Eneloop, suggesting that more companies may follow suit. The Journal’s Shai Oster, in a front-page article on Tuesday, cites growing turmoil over electric bikes in China.

Mr. Stone focused on a shift in the United States toward the use of bicycles as daily transportation, which, when combined with technical developments in batteries with extended range, has prompted several manufacturers to offer electric bicycles for sale. The Journal’s article focuses on the unforeseen consequences in China, where the increasing use of e-bikes has led to a perceived increase in accidents. Bikes with electric motors attached are often capable of speeds up to 20 miles an hour, faster than many traditional cyclists ride.

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