Dec 7, 2022 - News

Atlanta City Hall eyes e-bike rebates

Animated illustration of an ebike with electricity lines emitting from the center.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

If you get sticker shock from the price tag on an e-bike, you might get a push from City Hall.

What's happening: Atlanta City Council member Matt Westmoreland and several of his colleagues want the city to study whether incentives could coax people onto e-bikes.

Why it matters: E-bikes — sales of which grew 240% in the past year, per an April Bicycling report — can reduce transportation costs and drastically reduce carbon emissions.

  • But some bikes can run upwards of $2,000; cargo versions can cost double that. Cities and employers across the country are offering rebates, low-interest loans and giveaways to help cover the cost, Axios' Jennifer Kingson reports.

Details: The legislation calls for the city to create a committee — one that includes transportation officials and advocates for bicyclists and equity — to study other cities' e-bike incentive programs.

  • If Atlanta's program moves forward, the city would use $1 million in federal funding to shore up the rebate program.

Zoom out: Launched this past April, Denver's e-bike rebate — it started at $400 and increased based on income — was tapped out in roughly 21 days. The city is exploring allocating more cash to meet demand. 

Yes, but: Denver came up short on equity goals to make sure people living on low incomes received half of the funding, Axios' Alayna Alvarez reports.

What they're saying: "E-bikes are replacing car trips in other cities, so they can help Atlanta achieve goals around workforce access to opportunity, climate, health, and a more livable city," Rebecca Serna of Propel ATL, Atlanta's bicycle and pedestrian advocacy group, tells Axios.

What's next: The legislation gets its first vetting by the council's transportation committee next week. Council members want to launch the rebate program on April 22, 2023 — Earth Day. 

💭 Thomas' thought bubble: Atlanta's a great place to bicycle but can be daunting for newbies thanks to poorly designed and maintained roads, reckless drivers and the hills. 

  • I'm for anything that gets people out of their cars and onto bikes, be they pedal- or battery-powered.

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