Awaiting Governor Gavin Newsom’s signature, $10 million for incentives to buy electric bicycles have been reportedly added to the state budget bill. It’s included in a planned investment of $425 million in the Clean Vehicle Rebate Program, which is part of nearly $1 billion in investments in clean vehicles, including trucks and transit and school buses. 

 

Assemblymember Tasha Boerner Horvath reportedly told the California Bicycle Coalition that “making e-bikes more affordable is one of the most effective ways to get Californians out of their cars and reduce emissions.” It’s been previously reported that in order for the state to meet its climate goals, people must drive less, even if they’re electric. $10 million could pay for thousands of e-bikes. 

 

“I’m thrilled that the full funding I requested for purchase incentives, education, and training is included in the budget we approved,” she reportedly said. “This program represents a priority shift in the right direction and, once implemented, will help folks from all backgrounds choose a healthier, happier way to get around.”

 

Introduced by Boerner Horvath, AB 117 would have focused on giving e-bike incentives to low-income people, who not only tend to be more burdened with bad air in their communities, but are likely to have a harder time coming up with the money to buy e-bikes. However, all equity rules were stripped from the current budget bill.

 

Per ​​California’s clean climate goals, the argument has been that since everyone needs to switch from gas-powered vehicles to zero emission vehicles sooner than later, incentives and rebates should be more broadly available to everyone.

 

“The state had an opportunity to prioritize equity by targeting these e-bike incentives to those who would benefit the most: low-income participants,” Román Partida-López, legal counsel working on transportation equity at the Greenlining Institute, reportedly said. “However, the decision to do away with the equity language demonstrates that equity continues to be a talking point, and not a practice.” He further said that the state has not learned from past experiences on incentive programs that don’t have equity, which will only end up benefiting higher-income consumers who don’t need an incentive to purchase e-bikes in the first place.

 

The goals of the rebates and e-bike incentives are to “encourage the earliest adoption of zero emission vehicles, encourage a sustainable market, and seek to reach the state’s goal of five million zero emission vehicles by 2030,” according to the bill. Most of the clean vehicle programs, including Clean Cars for All, are run by the Air Resources Board.

 

Dave Snyder, executive director of CalBike, reportedly pointed out that California’s has mainly focused its efforts on electric cars, but that e-bikes are in fact the “cleanest” EV. “E-bikes can be the centerpiece of California’s strategy to replace gas-powered car trips to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions while also advancing equity, promoting public health, reducing traffic, and helping working families save money,” he reportedly said. 

 

In fact, bikes are 10 times more efficient in the effort to lower emissions than electric vehicles, and e-bikes have more potential to dramatically change transportation. Most trips made by people in California are short – according to CalBike, a full 60% of all trips are six miles long or less. Electric bicycles can easily replace those trips. 

 

People who know this have been buying e-bikes at a tremendous rate. The market research firm NPD Group said sales of e-bikes grew 1455 in 2020 compared to 2019, outpacing sales of all bikes, which were up 65%. In Los Angeles, there’s a new Electric Metro Bike available in Downtown and Central LA. “The pedal-assisted, electric bikes expand opportunities for riders to complete their first/last mile connections from farther distances with less effort required to pedal,” the website reads. Riders can unlock the Electric Metro Bikes for $1 and ride for $1.75 every 30 minutes.

 

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Neama Rahmani is the President and co-founder of West Coast Trial Lawyers.

Neama graduated from UCLA at the age of 19 and Harvard Law School at the age of 22, making him one of the youngest graduates in the 200-year history of the…

Neama Rahmani is the President and co-founder of West Coast Trial Lawyers.

Neama graduated from UCLA at the age of 19 and Harvard Law School at the age of 22, making him one of the youngest graduates in the 200-year history of the law school. Upon graduation, Neama was hired by O’Melveny & Myers, the largest law firm in Los Angeles, where he represented companies such as Disney, Marriott, and the Roman Catholic Church.

But Neama wanted to help ordinary people, not corporations, so he joined the United States Attorney’s Office, where he prosecuted drug and human trafficking cases along the United States-Mexico border. While working as a federal prosecutor, Neama captured and successfully prosecuted a fugitive murderer and drug kingpin who had terrorized Southern California and was featured on “America’s Most Wanted.” Neama was then appointed to be the Director of Enforcement of the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission, an independent watchdog that oversees and investigates the elected officials and highest level employees of the City of Los Angeles, including the Mayor and City Council. He held that position until becoming a trial lawyer for the people.

Neama has extensive trial experience. He has led teams of more than 170 attorneys in litigation against the largest companies in the world. Neama has successfully tried dozens of cases to verdict as lead trial counsel, and has argued before both state and federal appeals courts. Over the course of his career, Neama has handled thousands of cases as attorney of record and has helped his clients obtain more than $1 billion in settlements and judgments.