Good news, Californians! Do you have an old gas car laying around that you don’t use, and would rather turn it into an electric bicycle? Well now you can, with a trade-in program that includes e-bikes!
California’s “Clean Cars 4 All” program has already helped many people trade in old, polluting gas cars for subsidies to buy electric cars or hybrid cars.
But thanks to a new bill signed into law by California Governor Gavin Newsom, vouchers for electric bicycles and bike-sharing programs are now included in the program.
Senate Bill 400, which was authored by Senator Thomas J. Umberg (D-Santa Ana), should now help more Californians access electric bicycles as an alternative to car travel.
As Senator Umberg described:
“Senate Bill 400 helps California reduce our state’s greenhouse gas emissions. E-bikes are proving to be a reliable mobility option for not only replacing car trips, but also more widespread access to clean transportation. As an option within Clean Cars 4 All, e-bikes would help California create a more holistic approach to tackling the issues of pollution and traffic.”
The new law is being heralded by bicycle groups and e-bike fans alike across the Golden State.
California is home to the largest number of electric bicycle riders and e-bike shops in the United States.
As Dave Snyder, Executive Director of the California Bicycle Coalition describes:
“A good quality e-bike is better than a car for most of the local trips that people take, but it’s hard to justify spending several thousand dollars on a bike when you don’t have that kind of money. This program will help Californians make the switch to bikes if they so wish. E-Bikes provide an affordable and cleaner option for local trips that are more fun and healthy, too.”
Yes, this is what we need! I’ve long written about the benefits of commuting by electric bicycle over car. In fact, I’ve gone so far as to say we should increase the legal limit for electric bicycles up to 45 mph (75 km/h) and regulate such fast e-bikes with special driver licenses, which could be easier to obtain than a motorcycle license and further promote commuting on efficient two-wheeled electric vehicles.
I believe programs like this are exactly what the US needs to help it break its addiction to four wheeled cages.
Don’t get me wrong, electric cars are great. They are loads better for the environment than gas-powered cars. But they do almost nothing to help solve traffic issues in most cities, and their overall energy efficiency is limited by the fact that many are still driven by a single occupant. Listen, we don’t always need a 3,000 lb vehicle to drive one person to work or to the store – even if it’s an electric vehicle. In many cases, an energy sipping electric bicycle can perform the same function at a small fraction of the energy consumption. And it can even help the rider get a bit of exercise while doing it (or not, many e-bikes are throttle driven just like a motorbike!)
So I say, “Bravo!” to California for taking action to reduce transportation pollution and urban congestion at the same time. Perhaps more states will follow and the US can finally start to take a page out of the rest of the world’s book regarding the benefits of two-wheeled transportation.
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