Adam Stein in this article on The TerraPass Footprint points out that e-bikes (electric hybrids) occupy an odd place in the American landspace. People don't know what to make of them. Dedicated bicycylists think they're a cheat. Auto drivers see them as an annoying poor-man's transportation they'd rather not share the road with. Motorcyclists see them as a joke. With a slightly different mindset, the e-bike could be a very useful and practical mode of transportation that could effectively take scores of automobiles off the road over the long term.
Could this change? Maybe. In China, where bicycles are a major mode of transportation, people love them. In Copenhagen, also a cycling hotbed, people are indifferent. I’m not entirely sure what accounts for the difference, but I’m guessing culture plays a big role.
Developing more acceptance of two-wheeled transportation might not be a bad idea. Bike paths, anyone?