Electric bikes have proven themselves to be one of the most effective tools available for getting drivers out of cars and into more affordable, sustainable and healthier forms of transportation. And as more cities come to that realization, we’re seeing a growing number of e-bike rebates and other subsidy programs rolling out nationwide.
Why would cities and states offer such subsidies for e-bikes?
As it turns out, the subsidies can pay for themselves many times over.
E-bikes don’t just benefit those that use them. They actually benefit everyone. Cities and states across the country are battling with traffic woes, let alone all the pollution and urban grime created by cars.
When even a small fraction of drivers switch to bicycles or e-bikes, the impacts on traffic are profound. One study found that a 10% shift from cars to bikes resulted in a 40% reduction in traffic. Other studies have shown that when e-bikes and e-scooters aren’t available, commute times for everyone in cities grows due to increased traffic.
Add in the health benefits of riding an e-bike (yes, studies have also shown they offer nearly the same exercise benefits as pedal bikes), and you’ve got some serious advantages associated with a shift towards two-wheeled transportation. From cleaner cities to lower healthcare costs and improved quality of life, the advantages just keep racking up.
That’s why so many cities and states across the US have started implementing their own e-bike rebates and other subsidy programs.
With decent budget-friendly e-bikes generally costing between $1,000-$2,000 and nicer bike shop e-bikes closer to the $3,000-$5,000 range, many local subsidies have targeted lower income individuals to help them afford more expensive electric bikes.
A new program is giving out free e-bikes to low income residents of Berkeley, California. The program is currently limited to 50 bikes on loan for a year, but a broader statewide program in California will use a $13M fund allocated for e-bike subsidies to help thousands of California residents afford a new e-bike.
Denver’s own e-bike rebate program is perhaps one of the most famous in the US, originally offering $400 off the purchase of a new e-bike. The program quickly exhausted its funding before being renewed this year with a slightly lower $300 rebate on new e-bikes. Vouchers will be given out in a half dozen rounds throughout the year, with the first round already being scooped up within 20 minutes of going live.
The state of Colorado will soon be playing catchup by launching its own e-bike incentive program.
Colorado may soon beat California to the punch with a statewide rebate program, but it won’t be the first. That honor goes to Vermont’s statewide e-bike incentive program. The Vermont program may have helped inspire similar statewide e-bike rebates that are currently being proposed in New York and Oregon.
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