Last week, a 25-year old Israeli man attempted to make a green getaway after planting a bomb on a car at the Nahariya shopping center. Fleeing the scene, the suspected bomber took off on an electric bike.
Police believe the object attached to the car was, in fact, a real bomb, and that the thwarted explosion was intended to put a violent end to a business dispute between two rival shop owners. The man who peddled away from the scene, police also suspect, was likely a hired hand in the plot.
Ultimately, the electric bike was outrun by police vehicles, and the suspect, who appeared in court for the first time on Friday to answer for his charges, was easily caught.
Karin Kloosterman, who writes on sustainability issues for the Green Prophet, said that the suspect’s choice of transportation may have been environmentally-friendly but it was likely not his brightest move.
“In Israel even lone bags found anywhere are reported and then detonated by remote-controlled robots. Affixing a bomb to a car in broad daylight and then trying to get away on an electric bike may be a green way to get even, but it’s not a very smart one,” she pointed out.
The use of an electric bike for the crime, however, does indicate just how popular the green bike has become.
Electric bikes are wildly popular in bike-friendly Europe, where in some places the sale of bikes, especially e-bikes, outstrip new cars. Since 2010 when their use was made legal in Israel, the use of electric bikes has been steadily rising throughout Israel, especially in congested city centers,
Now, according to Kloosterman, e-bikes can be found everywhere, often keeping up with city traffic and zipping along sidewalks and trails, and even, in at least one case, at the scene of the crime.
“We in Israel have always turned for inspiration to Europe’s bicycle culture,” IDF hero and green activist Gilad Shalit said, explaining Israel’s willingness to embrace biking trends, like the popular e-bike. “There is a real bicycle renaissance in Israel.”