How #Colorado’s Free E-Bike Program Fits Into Its Plan To Slow #ClimateChange — Colorado Public Radio

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From Colorado Public Radio (Sam Brasch):

Colorado is now gearing up for a second giveaway. The Can Do Colorado eBike Pilot will award more than 100 e-bikes with $560,000 from the Colorado Energy Office, the City of Denver and the Regional Air Quality Council.

Unlike the first round, individuals can’t apply for a free e-bike. Instead, organizations had to submit concepts before the end of January to manage the bikes for the benefit of essential workers.

Will Toor, the director of the Colorado Energy Office, said the pilot program came in response to the pandemic. Last spring, his office started hearing stories about essential workers who had decided to avoid the closed confines of buses and light rail cars and instead some used their own cars to get around. RTD later cut some of those routes altogether.

Going forward, Toor thinks e-bikes could play a much larger role as Colorado confronts the threat of climate change. Transportation now accounts for more emissions than any other sector of Colorado’s economy. A lot of those emissions come from Coloradans driving bikeable distances. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, three-fifths of each household’s 2017 car trips, nationwide, were six miles or less.

“I think there is significant potential over time for e-bikes to play a really important role in replacing a lot of those short-to-medium distance automobile trips,” Toor said…

Toor said equity “is really important” as Colorado tries to get people out of internal-combustion cars. He noted the Colorado Energy Office supported Xcel Energy’s recent plan to provide $5 million in rebates for low-income electric car buyers. (What Toor didn’t mention is Colorado’s Public Utilities Commission shot down a plan his office submitted for $30 million in rebates. Some PUC members did not like that the plan would have incentivized luxury cars.)

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