Jan 17, 2023 - News

D.C. considers rebates for e-bikes

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

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

D.C. will consider offering rebates for e-bikes, in line with other cities looking to incentivize bicycle commuting.

Driving the news: A new D.C. Council bill would offer an instant rebate worth up to $400, or 30% of the price of an e-bike, whichever is lower, to residents whose income is at or above 80% of the median family income.

Residents earning below 80% of the median family income are eligible for a rebate of up to $1,200, or 75% of the price of an e-bike — again, whichever is lower.

  • Both income levels are eligible for an additional $500 rebate toward a cargo e-bike, handy for carrying groceries and children.

Why it matters: Increasing cycling is a key goal for the city, aimed at reducing vehicle trips and carbon output. D.C. is budgeting to build 10 new miles of protected bike lanes annually.

What they’re saying: “As we continue to invest in our protected bike lane network, this legislation is crucial to ensuring as many residents as possible can benefit from this expanded infrastructure,” council member Brooke Pinto said in a statement.

  • She introduced the legislation with support from six council colleagues, meaning the bill has enough support to pass.

How it works: E-bikes have rechargeable batteries that assist riders when pedaling — reaching speeds up to 25 mph and easing long climbs.

Yes, but: The rebate only applies to e-bikes purchased at brick-and-mortar retailers in D.C.

  • Plus, funding for the program will still need to be identified as it moves through the legislative process.

Between the lines: D.C. bike advocates have been pushing for more protected lanes to increase safety for cyclists. D.C. is not on track to meet its original Vision Zero goal of eliminating traffic fatalities by 2024.

  • There were 35 traffic fatalities in 2022, according to D.C. data. Two-thirds of the deaths were of a pedestrian or cyclist.

Zoom out: D.C. joins a growing number of cities considering e-bike rebates. Denver launched a similar program last year and Austin is running a pilot program.

Go deeper: E-bike demand is jolting U.S. cities


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Washington D.C..


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Washington D.C. stories

No stories could be found

Washington D.C.postcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Washington D.C..


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more