Personal urban transport

Going shopping with an eBike
Going shopping with an eBike

There are many options for Personal urban transport for moving around cities and towns.


Walking is a slow but natural form of transport. It also provides very good exercise that doesn’t put too much stress on your body.


  • Low impact and stress on body
  • No additional equipment required (although suitable shoes are a good idea)
  • You see a lot more of your surroundings


  • Slow speed
  • Getting wet if it rains – carry an umbrella!


Running can be used as an urban transport option but it is difficulty to carry many personal items and a shower and change of clothes at your destination is necessary.


City bike riders
City bike riders. Credit: The Guardian

Bicycles are one of the best forms of personal urban transport. They are easy to ride and safe (on separated infrastructure away from cars and trucks).

They are not expensive and have zero carbon emissions.


  • Can get hot and sweaty when riding longer distances – a shower and change of clothes may be needed

Folding bikes

Folding bikes are useful and versatile in cities. They can be carried on most forms of public transport (when folded) and fit easily into a car. They don’t take up much space when stored in homes or offices.

Dahon d8 folding bike
Dahon d8 folding bike


  • Limited gears for climbing hills
  • Maybe heavier than a normal bike


e-Bikes such as are useful for urban transport. They have an electric motor to assist pedalling and reduce rider effort.


  • Less exertion required compared to cycling – you can get to your location without getting sweaty and therefore wear business and/or street clothes
  • Folding versions can be carried on public transport


  • Range under power of 50-100km
  • Heavier than a bicycle – electric motor and battery adds 5-10kg of weight
  • Can be expensive

Skateboards and electric skateboards

Skateboards can be useful for travelling short distances.

However, they have the following disadvantages:

  • high skill level required – very easy to fall off – there is no seat or handlebars
  • no brakes – its difficult to go down even moderate inclines
  • they require a lot of space to turn
  • nowhere to carry a load

Electric skateboards can be used to travel short distances (e.g. up to 10km). The motor can also function as a brake which is an advantage for travelling down hills. The battery and motor makes them quite heavy to carry and they can be expensive.

Scooters and e-Scooters

e-Scooter rider in Brisbane
e-Scooter rider in Brisbane

Scooters don’t take up much space and can move faster than walking.

E-scooters require less effort to operate but heavy to carry.


  • Small wheels provide a harsh ride of bumps
  • Small tyres don’t get good friction on roads
  • Nowhere to carry a load


Cars are convenient to use if there is no heavy traffic and can travel fast in cities.


  • High speeds can present danger to other road users and pedestrians
  • High carbon emissions from fossil fuels – 1 to 2 tonnes weight must be shifted. (Electric cars have lower emissions)
  • Expensive to buy and operate
  • Cause traffic congestion on busy roads

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