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December 7, 2023

Barragán Introduces Legislation to Create and Expand Electric Bike Share in Disadvantaged Communities

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                     

7 December 2023

Contact: Kevin McGuire, 202-538-2386 (mobile)

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Representative Nanette Barragán (CA-44) introduced the E-Bike Share Act, legislation that would establish a program at the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to provide grants for electric bike-sharing services in disadvantaged communities.

Electric bike sales are surging, as the level of ridership has doubled nearly every year since 2015. However, the cost of ownership can be a barrier for low-income residents. Municipal bike-share systems are increasingly adopting electric bikes into their systems to grow their popularity. The proposed DOT grant program would accelerate this adoption and deploy an affordable, zero-emission alternative to driving for communities that need it the most. 

“We need to make sure that a zero-emissions future includes areas underserved by transit and provides as many options as possible for all communities. Electric bikes are a critical zero-emission solution that reduces air pollution and combats the climate crisis” said Rep. Barragán. “With the E-Bike Share Act, we can help connect disadvantaged communities to everyday destinations like jobs, grocery stores, and schools, and offer a more affordable, greener alternative to cars.”

“Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI)’s pilots throughout the Los Angeles region–including with our partner East Side Riders in Watts, Willowbrook, and Compton, and which is consistently oversubscribed–have shown us that e-bikes can give additional mobility options for residents of disadvantaged communities while reducing traffic congestion and improving air quality,” said Matt Petersen, CEO of LACI. “We are grateful for Representative Barragán’s leadership on this forward-looking bill, which seeks to provide access to e-bikes as a clean, affordable mode of transportation to hardworking people in urban communities both in Los Angeles and across the country.”

“Every trip taken by bike instead of car is a win for the climate and public health. Increasing access to shared e-bikes will revolutionize our transportation system by changing the way people commute and get around town without a car. The popularity of e-bikes has led to record bikeshare ridership in 2023 in many American cities. This is the perfect moment to ensure more cities offer equitable access to e-bikes. The E-Bike Share Act prioritizes increasing clean transportation in disadvantaged communities, and the Sierra Club is eager to support it,” said Will Anderson, Sierra Club’s Deputy Legislative Director for the Clean Transportation for All campaign

Electric bikes are a quick, safe, and convenient way for people of all ages and abilities to get around their community,” said Bill Nesper, executive director of the League of American Bicyclists. “Bikeshare services make it more affordable for everyone to use an e-bike to get from place to place. However, the service isn’t always available to everyone, especially in historically disadvantaged communities. We applaud this bill for making it easier to bring this affordable transportation option to all communities and we encourage Congress to support its passage.”

“The North American Bike Share Association (NABSA) applauds the introduction of the E-bike Share Act. Bikeshare and scootershare have a strong track record of providing impactful programs to advance equity and make shared micromobility accessible to disadvantaged communities,” said Samantha Herr, Executive Director of NABSA.  “This bill would support that work, and provide needed investment to implement or expand electric bikeshare options in disadvantaged communities, which we know to be extremely popular, and an effective tool in creating more equitable and sustainable transportation ecosystems.”

The E-Bike Share Act would authorize $100 million in annual grants to support state and local government efforts to:

  • Expand existing municipal E-Bike Share systems into disadvantaged communities.
  • Electrify existing bike-share stations so they can charge E-Bikes.
  • Help local governments jumpstart their own E-Bike Share system.
  • Support electric bike share services with a variety of different uses depending on the need, including to:
    • Purchase electric bikes. 
    • Install and maintain charging infrastructure or electrify existing bike infrastructure.
    • Provide community education and outreach. 
    • Offer incentives for residents to use the bike sharing service. 
    • Conduct data collection with respect to the bike sharing service.
    • Provide technical assistance to implement a grant.

There is a popular electric bike-share hub in Congresswoman Barragán’s district at the Rancho San Pedro public housing development, which has expanded resident access to economic and health opportunities in San Pedro. The E-Bike Share Act will jumpstart hundreds of similar bike-share programs across the country.  

The legislation is cosponsored by Representatives Suzanne Bonamici (Ore.), Raul Grijalva (Ariz.), Gwen Moore (Wis.), Mike Thompson (Calif.), Dina Titus (Nev.), Earl Blumenauer (Ore.), Emanuel Cleaver (Mo.), Barbara Lee (Calif.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich), and Eleanor Holmes Horton (District of Columbia).

The legislation is supported by Sierra Club, GreenLatinos, North American Bikeshare & Scootershare Association, People For Bikes, Bike LA, Los Angeles Clean Tech Incubator, The League of American Bicyclists, Communities for a Better Environment, GRID Alternatives, Pacific Environment, Indivisible San Pedro, Watts Clean Air and Energy Committee, Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles

The full text of the bill can be found here.

A one-pager of the bill can be found here.