A new e-bike credit, if coupled with improved bike safety infrastructure, could encourage many Americans to replace short car trips with e-bike rides, reducing emissions and congestion.
In an article for Streetsblog, John Stout writes that "it’s clearer than ever that we need to do everything in our power to mitigate our country’s impact on the climate crisis," and e-bikes may be one powerful tool for doing so. And, as it turns out, they're getting some support in the bipartisan infrastructure package and budget reconciliation.
"In a nod to the nascent American 'bike boom,' which saw e-bike sales triple in 2020, as COVID-19 lockdowns forced many to stay home and those still commuting to grow weary of using public transit, the multi-trillion dollar Build Back Better legislation includes a whopping $7.4 billion measure for e-bikes," translating into as much as $750 in credits for e-bike purchases.
But while "making e-bikes more affordable is key to increasing adoption, many would-be riders are still too fearful to take to the streets on two wheels because of safety concerns on our country’s car-centered roadways." The infrastructure legislation takes this into account and "would push federal regulators to better account for the safety of not only drivers, but also cyclists and pedestrians."
Stout argues that "if we provide Americans with the right tools, we can make biking a viable option by making it easier for people to replace shorter car trips with bike trips." But Congress must take action to "rally behind the bipartisan infrastructure and reconciliation legislation. By passing these two historic climate bills, the federal government can ensure that cyclists can ride safely on our roadways and ensure that all Americans can afford new road-ready e-bikes."
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