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E-Bikes are Game Changers in Sustainability

New York can lead the way in sustainable transportation without increasing its budget

New York Ride Clean Coalition

Our Mission

Our bill (A275/S314) directs the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to create a Ride Clean e-bike program that would provide an immediate 50% rebate to anyone buying an e-bike, up to $1,100. This new program would essentially ask NYSERDA to extend a new program modeled off the existing “Drive Clean” electric car (EV) rebate program, and would not require any additional funding. The expanded program would help working New Yorkers to afford a sustainable, accessible mode of transport.

bicycle riders

Power Sustainability

E-bikes mean sustainable, environmentally friendly transportation

Deliver Accessibility

E-bikes open active transport to New Yorkers of all abilities. Transportation isn’t a competition.

Shift Modes

E-Bikes are car replacements. They make active transport accessible to families of all abilities and backgrounds, enabling us to shift from high impact private vehicles.

2,600

rebate applications in the first two weeks of Denver’s rebate program

Why is this important?

E-bikes are an economical, socially responsible form of transportation, with a low cost and almost no environmental footprint. 

They are easy to store, easy to park, easier to use in congested areas than cars, and also practical, given that a large share of car and transit trips are shorter than five miles. Increasing the prevalence of e-bikes also has public health benefits, because making e-bikes available encourages more people to bike more often.

The state is already subsidizing the purchase of electric cars, but because electric bikes are within the financial reach of a much wider range of people, subsidizing e-bike purchases is a much more equitable way of addressing environmental, energy, congestion, and health needs in New York.

Take Action

In 2021, 2022, and 2023, the bill passed the NY State Senate overwhelmingly and died in the Assembly without a vote.

Jun 9, 2020 - Floor Vote for S3080a in the NY Senate showing a pie chart with 60 yes votes and 3 nay votes
bill progress visualization showing parallel tracks for the new york senate and assembly where a bill has passed the senate fully but been blocked in the assembly and thus blocked from fully passing

In the Assembly, Ways and Means Chair Helene Weinstein has not scheduled the bill for a vote, effectively blocking it.

Call AM Weinstein’s office and tell her it’s time to pass this no-brainer legislation:

Albany OfficeDistrict Office
518-455-5462718-648-4700

My name is ______ and I’m a working New Yorker with [your group or the Ride Clean NY Coalition].

I’m calling because the Assemblymember is the chair of the committee where our bill, A275A, sits. It’s a simple, but powerful piece of climate legislation that passed the Senate overwhelmingly in 2021, 2022, and 2023. Please don’t kill it again this year.

We need the Assemblymember to schedule a vote for our bill, A275A, so that it can come up for a full floor vote. The bill is overwhelmingly popular and requires no new funding, it supports working families by helping them afford sustainable, accessible modes of transportation. It’s been in this committee for over a year now.

When can they schedule the bill for the committee?


Email your assembly member using the below tool. It takes less than a minute and has a real impact!


FAQ

What is “Ride Clean”?

The program would provide a 50% rebate to any New York State resident who purchased an e-bike, up to a total rebate of $1,100. It would be similar to the existing Drive Clean rebate program, which provides up to a $2,000 rebate to purchasers of electric cars, and operated by the same agency – the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

Why is this important?

E-bikes are an economical, socially responsible form of transportation, with a low cost and almost no environmental footprint.

They are easy to store, easy to park, easier to use in congested areas than cars, and also practical, given that a large share of car and transit trips are shorter than five miles. Increasing the prevalence of e-bikes also has public health benefits, because making e-bikes available encourages more people to bike more often.

The state is already subsidizing the purchase of electric cars, but because electric bikes are within the financial reach of a much wider range of people, subsidizing e-bike purchases is a much more equitable way of addressing environmental, energy, congestion, and health needs in New York.

What is an e-bike?

An e-bike is a bicycle that has a battery and an electric motor. The motor provides assistance to the rider while they are pedaling, so that they can go faster with less physical effort. Some e-bikes also have a throttle on the handlebars. Most e-bikes look exactly like regular bikes, except that there is a battery mounted somewhere on the frame.

E-bikes have a safety record comparable to that of regular bikes. Most e-bikes (Class 1 and 2) are capped at a top speed of 15 to 20 mph. (A competent rider on a regular non-electric bike will often reach 15 mph.). The Citi Bike pedal-assist bicycles on the streets of New York City are in this category.

Are e-bikes legal in New York State?

Yes, they were fully legalized in June 2020, and are in daily use in all parts of the state. Local governments can establish restrictions on where they can be used, but very few such restrictions have been established – and given the popularity of e-bikes, very few will be.

Which e-bikes would the rebate apply to?

If an e-bike is legal to ride on a public street anywhere in New York State, it would be eligible for the rebate. As defined in New York State law, Class 1 and 2 e-bikes are those with a maximum speed of 15 mph. Class 3 e-bikes, which are permitted on public streets in New York City only, have a maximum speed of 25 mph. The rebate program would apply to the purchase of any class of e-bike by any resident statewide.

How much do e-bikes cost?

The average e-bike costs about $2,200, which is around 5% of the cost of the average electric car eligible for subsidies. Unlike cars, most e-bikes require little or no maintenance, and an e-bike can be fully charged from a normal household electrical outlet for about ten cents, so the operating cost of an e-bike is near zero.

E-bike costs are dropping, and some consumer-grade e-bikes are now available for under $1,000. But for a large share of New Yorkers, that’s still a significant sum, and this rebate would put e-bikes within financial reach of hundreds of thousands of households that would otherwise not be able to afford them.

How would we pay for this?

The program would be funded in the same way as the existing Drive Clean electric car rebate program, to which NYSERDA has designated more than $50 million to date. Given that the number of potential e-bike buyers in New York is a small fraction of the number of potential electric car buyers, this would not have a material impact on the total NYSERDA budget. Even $5 million would help thousands of New Yorkers gain access to a mode of transportation that is economical, practical, reliable, and environmentally sound.