At its meeting a few weeks ago, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) agreed to include bike-share in its Car Sharing and Mobility Options pilot program. That means that areas that are figuring out how to get bike-share into low income areas now have a new funding option.
The Car Sharing and Mobility Options program funded car-sharing in low-income communities last year with $2.5 million. As the board was considering increasing this year’s allocation to $8 million, the California Bicycle Coalition was trying to get it to also include incentives for buying electric bikes. Pilot programs created last year provided grants and rebates to buy electric motorcycles and electric “neighborhood vehicles”—basically golf carts—but not bikes.
CalBike has argued that a separate pilot program focusing on bicycles, which could include incentives to buy electric bicycles, grants for bike-share, grants for bike repair, and the like, would give more bang for the buck in terms of getting people to switch to clean vehicles. There would also be advantages to creating a program that focuses solely on bikes, in that at least someone at CARB would take bicycles seriously and understand their usefulness as the ultimate clean vehicles.
Instead of a separate bike pilot program, the CARB board decided to allow bike-share programs to apply for funding within the existing Mobility Options program. How much money ultimately goes to bike-share will depend on how many areas apply for funding.
“We applaud CARB for showing leadership by expanding the scope and funding of this pilot program to include bike-sharing, and appreciate the innovative twist of adding electric bike-sharing,” said Dave Snyder, executive director of the California Bicycle Coalition.