Since the onset of the pandemic, the demand for electric bikes has remained robust. This favorable development has prompted lawmakers in several states to explore options for incentivizing the purchase of new e-bikes. The objective is to steer individuals towards embracing bicycles instead of relying on cars for their transportation needs.
In the state of New York, the legislative body recently introduced Senate Bill S314, which seeks to establish a ride clean rebate program specifically tailored for electric assist bicycles and electric scooters[^1^]. The proposed bill has gained traction and successfully passed through the senate floor after gaining the support of 48 legislators while facing opposition from 15[^2^].
The bill’s core provisions include a generous 50 percent rebate for class one, class two, and class three electric assist bicycles. Class one pertains to pedal-assist bikes capable of reaching 20 mph, while class two covers throttle-assisted bikes with a maximum speed of 20 mph. Lastly, class three encompasses electric bikes capable of reaching a maximum speed of 28 mph[^2^]. The incentives offered under this program could potentially top out at an impressive $1,100, significantly reducing the financial burden of purchasing a new e-bike or e-scooter[^2^].
The legislators backing this initiative are optimistic that making e-bikes more affordable will place New Yorkers at the vanguard of a sustainable future driven by low carbon mobility[^2^]. According to the bill’s sponsors, a staggering 75 percent of auto trips and 55 percent of transit trips in NYC span distances of five miles or less[^2^]. Encouraging the adoption of e-bikes for such short trips can substantially decrease congestion, alleviate traffic woes, and mitigate harmful emissions. Additionally, it facilitates a shift towards renewable modes of transportation[^2^].
It is important to note that Senate Bill S314 still awaits final approval as it needs to pass through the Assembly and obtain the Governor’s signature before it becomes law[^2^].
## New York’s Bold Step Towards an E-Bike Revolution
New York is not alone in its proactive stance on the promotion of e-bike usage. It joins an increasing number of states in proposing various incentives for individuals considering the adoption of e-bikes. The enthusiasm surrounding these incentives is gaining momentum at both state and municipal levels[^3^]. Ash Lovell, Ph.D., Policy Director for People For Bikes Electric Bicycle, is particularly thrilled by this development and highlights that 18 states are currently exploring different types of e-bike incentives. Moreover, there is an expanding focus on creating incentives at a local level[^3^].
By investing in e-bike incentives, New York and other states are paving the way for a future that emphasizes sustainable transportation options. This forward-thinking approach is driven by the desire to reduce dependence on traditional vehicles and promote eco-friendly alternatives. With the potential implementation of Senate Bill S314, New Yorkers could be at the forefront of nurturing a greener, low-carbon society[^3^].
Besides the state incentive, several jurisdiction including Buffalo and Niagara Falls, New York City, and the Bronx and Brooklyn have proposed, pending, or approved programs to offset the cost and accessibility to e-bikes.
The advancement of S314 comes after a second national e-bike rebate program which would have provided a refundable tax credit for 30 percent of the costs of an e-bike, with a maximum benefit of $1,500 per taxpayer, languished in Congress earlier this year.
If approved, S314, the state’s third attempt at e-bike legislation, would provide a practical solution, especially in New York City where the annual average commute time is 71 minutes and costs $1,026 according to 2021 U.S. Census Bureau data. New Yorkers using bikes instead of driving could save on gas while reducing their average commute time by approximately 30 minutes. Tangible savings that every commuter could appreciate.
Taneika is a Jamaica native, a runner and a gravel cyclist who resides in Virginia. Passionate about cycling, she aims to get more people, of all abilities, to ride the less beaten path.