New York State’s Proposed E-Bike Incentive Could Reduce Traffic by 30 Minutes
Electric bike sales have remained relatively strong since the pandemic. As a result, lawmakers in some states hope that incentivizing new e-bike sales will encourage more people to opt for bikes instead of cars. In New York, the state legislature recently introduced Senate Bill S314 which, if passed will “establish a ride clean rebate program for electric assist bicycles and electric scooters.”
The bill, which passed on the senate floor by a vote of 48 ayes to 15 nays, would provide a 50 percent rebate for class one (pedal-assist only and can reach 20 mph), class two (throttle-assisted bikes with a maximum speed of 20 mph), and class three (maximum speed of 28 mph) electric assist bicycles. Incentives would top out at $1,100 of the total purchase cost of a new e-bike or e-scooter.
Legislators hope that in addressing the affordability of e-bikes, New Yorkers will be at the forefront of “the low carbon mobility future.” According to the bill, 75 percent of auto trips and 55 percent of transit trips in NYC are under five miles…and [utilizing] e-bikes for trips under five-miles” could reduce the impact of “congestion, traffic, and harmful emissions” while “encouraging a shift to renewable modes of transportation” according to the bill sponsors.
S314 still needs to be passed by the Assembly and signed by the Governor before it becomes law.
New York joins a growing number of states to propose incentives for e-bikes
“We are so excited about what’s happening in the incentive space: 18 states this year are looking at e-bike incentives of different types, and there are even more at the municipal level,” said Ash Lovell, Ph.D., Policy Director for People For Bikes Electric Bicycle Policy Director.
Besides the state incentive, several jurisdictions 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.