Thanks to Sen. Sal DiDomenico (Middlesex and Suffolk) and Sen. Adam Hinds (Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin and Hampden), the state legislature could get more people out on electric assist bicycles across Massachusetts!
Two e-bike specific amendments have been added to the Senate Transportation Bond Bill, but they need the help of your state senator. If you'd like to see more people on e-bikes, and sensible statewide regulations for our roads, paths, and trails, please email or call your senator by noon on Thursday July 14th to support amendments #171 and #204 to S2989. The vote on the Bond Bill will be held on the afternoon of July 14th, so your action is needed as soon as possible.
Example email/phone call to your senator (feel free to add why you personally support e-bikes in your comments):
"Please support Amendment #171 'E-Bike Incentive Program' and Amendment #204 'Electric Bicycles' to the Senate Transportation Bond Bill. Amendment #171 will allow more people to purchase electric-assist bicycles and provide equitable access to electric bicycles which are out of reach of many riders due to their cost. Amendment #204 will clarify the definition of electric bicycles so we can sensibly regulate their use on our roads, paths, and trails. E-bikes are a solution to the dual crises we're facing of traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions, are an economical and healthy way to travel, and these amendments will help more people choose to bicycle for everyday use."
If passed, amendment #171 would allocate $10,000,000 for an e-bike rebate program. Similar language has already passed the House, but Sen. Hinds has increased the bond allocation to $10M. This would establish new rebates for e-bikes of up to $500 for general consumers and up to $750 for low- and moderate-income consumers who purchase new and used electric bicycles.
If passed, amendment #204 would define electric bicycles to match the 3-class standard, already defined in federal law, and align Massachusetts more closely with 46 other states throughout the country that separate e-bikes from "motorized bicycles" (ie. mopeds). With these definitions, e-bike riders would have the same rules and responsibilities as conventional bikers. Sen. DiDomenico's amendment leaves regulatory control to local jurisdictions, and requires a public process for setting regulations to allow for regional conversations. One important key is the language clearly specifies speed limits can be set on bike paths, for those concerned around speeds, and local jurisdictions and municipalities would be able to regulate and prohibit certain classes of e-bikes as needed.
Your help is crucial!
Help us get these amendments passed and make electric bicycles more equitable and accessible to riders across the commonwealth, especially low and moderate-income riders, by contacting your local senator in support of amendments #171 and #204 to S2989. Thank you to Sen. Hinds and Sen. DiDomenico for championing these e-bike amendments and to all the legislators who support these important initiatives.