California Launches E-Bike Incentive Program

The state is directing $13 million to a program to help low-income Californians purchase electric and cargo bikes, but limited bike infrastructure keeps many California streets unsafe for cyclists.

1 minute read

February 6, 2023, 9:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Father riding cargo bike with one child in cargo basket and one child riding bike alongside on sunny tree-lined path

pikselstock / Cargo bike

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is launching a program to encourage more Californians to replace vehicle trips with electric bikes, reports Ryan Fonseca in the Los Angeles Times.

“CARB’s current proposal is to offer a point-of-sale incentive (different from a rebate) of $1,000 off a standard e-bike, with an additional $750 discount for larger cargo bikes, adaptive bikes or recumbent bikes.” The program will be available to residents making less than 300 percent of the federal poverty line, or roughly $83,000 for a family of four. The program was allocated $13 million by the state, with future funding dependent on the state budget.

But promoting more bicycling on dangerous roads also puts people at risk, the article notes. “Many of the lower-income communities that would benefit from the program are also the most dangerous for people to walk or bike. That’s tied to historic neglect, with cities investing less in safety infrastructure (like protected bike lanes) in neighborhoods where more residents rely on walking and transit, while also building major arterial roadways through those communities.”

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