$12 Million for eBikes: A Transformational Investment
The following testimony was delivered in front of the Colorado Senate Transportation and Energy Committee on Tuesday, April 5, 2022. It was delivered in favor of the Air Quality Improvement Investments bill by Bicycle Colorado’s Director of Communications and Policy, Jack Todd.
Good afternoon Madam Chair and members of the committee. My name is Jack Todd and I’m here today on behalf of Bicycle Colorado and the millions of people who ride a bike each year in our state.
I’m here to speak in favor of SB 193 and ask for your support of the legislation. In particular, I’m here to speak to the transformational investment of $12 million to support eBike access for low- and moderate-income Coloradans.
I had the privilege of working alongside the Colorado Energy Office in the Fall of 2020 to develop and implement the first iteration of the Can Do Colorado eBike Program, in which 13 low-income Coloradans were given an eBike to replace car trips. While I expected success from the program, what we saw from our participants far exceeded my expectations.
Data collected by the National Renewable Energy Lab as part of the program indicated that in just three months our 13 participants saved nearly 1,400 lbs of CO2 emissions by riding their bikes, the equivalent of about .75 acres of trees being planted. Their eBikes were used on 35% of their trips, and were primarily used for end-to-end travel replacing single occupancy vehicle trips.
These numbers over a small sample period point to a potentially huge impact for the $12 million investment in eBike funding included in SB 193.
Household motor vehicle trips are one of the biggest drivers of transportation emissions in the country, and Colorado is no exception to that. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, in 2017 nearly 60% of household motor vehicle trips were just 6 miles or less and 75% were 10 miles or less.
Meanwhile, research from the National Institute for Transportation and Communities shows that people are purchasing eBikes to replace car trips and bike with cargo, bike greater distances, bike at an older age or with mobility issues, and to commute to places without worrying about appearing disheveled at their destination. EBikes cost just $0.08 to charge, and batteries can travel 65 or more miles on a single charge.
In other words, eBikes give people freedom of mobility while reducing their carbon footprint.
All of this proved true in the Can Do Colorado eBike pilot in 2020.
- One participant shared with a third party data analyst “Since I got the eBike and joined this program, I’m no longer using a car .. I only want to take a ride or walk on foot. It’s changed me a lot.”
- Another shared “I ride the bike all the way to work now. I ride the bike all the way home … It’s better, I get home faster. I used to take almost two hours to get home, it takes me 35 minutes now.”
- A third shared with me recently that she’s lost 70 pounds since receiving her eBike.
These are real people with real stories, and SB 193 can open up these same opportunities to reduce vehicle usage to a much greater segment of Colorado’s population. Please vote yes on this important legislation, which will improve the lives of individual Coloradans and Colorado’s air quality on the whole.
Thank you, and I’m happy to answer any questions.