Carlow Co Council recently launched the county’s first shared electric bike service in partnership with mobility platform Bolt, offering electronically-powered assisted bicycles for low cost hire to residents and visitors to Carlow town.

What is an e-bike? An electric bike, or ebike, is a bicycle equipped with an electric bike motor to assist you when you’re pedalling. The motor will get its power from a rechargeable battery mounted on the bike.

To classify as an ebike, the motor has to help you rather than propel you on its own. As a result, you need to pedal to get that assistance. How much power the motor delivers is regulated based on how hard you are pedalling and the level of support you have selected.

About the Carlow Ebike scheme: The shared electric bike service was launched at The Exchange in Carlow town on World Car-Free Day, which is on the 22nd of September.  On World Car-Free Day, cities and towns around the world share the common goal of reducing the number of cars on the streets and highlighting the benefits of a day with less traffic congestion, a greener environment and reduced demand for fossil fuels.

This pilot e-bike scheme is a partnership between Carlow Co Council and local company Bolt and has a very low cost, priced at eighteen cent per minute and no additional charge to unlock a bike.

If you’re an electric bike novice, there is a ‘beginner mode’, which limits the top speed of the bike to 15 km per hour. When ‘beginner mode’ is off, the bicycles have a maximum speed of 25 km per hour.

Each bike has GPS technology embedded, to take account of “go-slow” zones, where the speed is limited to 15km per hour, as well as “no-go” zones, where they are prohibited. 

The E-bikes are currently stationed at 25 stations, with designated mandatory parking locations, and users can use the app and physical signage to locate parking bays.

The service operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and in the interest of public safety has an in-app cognitive reaction test from 11pm to 5am, meaning prospective riders will have to prove they are in a fit state to ride a bicycle through their reaction time.