Southern California environment news and trends

Are electric bikes the future for San Francisco?

San Franciscans Alter Commute On 15th Annual Bike To Work Day

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

File: A sign reads "one less car" on the back of a bicycle at an "energizer station" at San Francisco city hall where bicycle advocates handed out food and drink on Bike to Work Day May 14, 2009 in San Francisco.

Biking in Los Angeles is a precarious business. Given our city’s legendary traffic congestion, maneuvering L.A. on two wheels is definitely not for the faint of heart. Even our own Mayor Villaraigosa felt the unforgiving wrath of street traffic when a short-stopping taxi sent him crashing from his bike to the pavement and ultimately to the hospital with a broken elbow back in 2010.

Up north in San Francisco, biking is additionally challenging given the famously mountainous landscapes. A simple errand to the grocery store at the bottom of the hill can quickly become a much trickier return trip. But what if that bike was electric? It’s the question being asked a new federal grant that will introduce shared electric bikes to the city by the Bay to see if they could potentially help ease traffic congestion and have an environmentally positive impact.