In late October the California Air Resources Board (ARB) approved its 2018-19 Funding Plan for Clean Transportation Incentives. This round continues to support transportation equity projects, including funds for much-needed projects that include bicycle and electric bicycle sharing.
CalBike has been advocating for this from the beginning, and the Air Resources Board was clearly listening. To the knowledge of the ARB, it’s the first time any funding distributed by the board is being used to purchase bikes of any kind. It’s also an important acknowledgement.
CalBike and our partners helped this program become the first pilot project to include bikes as eligible “clean vehicle” options in the vehicle sharing program. Now, that eligibility has been extended to e-bikes and e-bike sharing as components of shared mobility programs.
If California wants to meet our ambitious goals to curb greenhouse gas emissions and encourage people to take polluting cars off the street, it’s clear our state agencies should support the amazing potential that electric bicycles represent.
Electric bikes can help solve the “missing mile/s” problem that even the best public transportation systems still struggle with, and could offer families in disadvantaged communities across the state healthy, accessible, ways of getting to the services they need.
E-bikes hold particularly important potential for the elder community, parents with children, people with disabilities or limited mobility, and Californians whose trips involve steep hills or whose work commutes are 5-20 miles from their homes or transit stops. Electric bikes could be an important addition to California’s growing energy-efficient transportation system. Curbing climate change will take all the tools at our disposal, and
the diverse projects the Clean Mobility Options program facilitates will help connect people to the places they need to go with sustainable, flexible choices.
Right now, the board is selecting a statewide Program Administrator for Clean Mobility, and the program will take shape next year; CalBike will continue advocating for bikes, e-bikes, and bike sharing to be included as elements in the ARB’s wider efforts to support more sustainable transportation for our state.
Project applications aren’t ready yet, so communities who qualify as disadvantaged should start thinking about the types of shared mobility projects they’d like to see, that way when there’s outreach the program administrators can hear from interested communities themselves and help bring these projects one step closer to reality. If your community is interested in bringing bike share projects to your area, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or to email@example.com with details about locations and interest so we can influence the program to do outreach in those communities. We’ll be involved throughout to shape the program.
We were encouraged by indications at October’s meeting that the Air Resources Board understands that regulators and all of California need to look beyond cars for “clean vehicle” and expanded mobility options.
Here at the California Bicycle Coalition, we’re certainly ready with specific policy recommendations and a network of dedicated supporters to advocate for our favorite “clean” vehicle of all; bicycles of every stripe.