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Boulder is the latest Colorado city to offer e-bike incentives

 Ryan Balciar, owner of Front Range Cargo Bikes in Boulder, performs maintenance on an e-bike brought to his shop.
Jackie Sedley
Ryan Balciar, owner of Front Range Cargo Bikes in Boulder, performs maintenance on an e-bike brought to his shop.

Colorado will launch a state-wide e-bike rebate program in August for low and moderate-income Coloradans.

This is part of a wave of local government incentives encouraging residents to ditch cars and embrace greener transit options.

Denver launched its own hugely-popular e-bike rebate last year, and now Boulder has followed suit.

On July 6, the city opened up an online application where residents can apply for an e-bike rebate.

The city is offering four different types of vouchers, depending on two factors: the amount of money you make, and the type of e-bike you want.

All applicants must prove residency within Boulder city limits, as funding for the program comes from a city-specific climate tax.

This program involves new e-bikes, not used ones, in an effort to support local bike shops–like Front Range Cargo Bikes on 47th Street.

Ryan Balciar has owned Front Range Cargo Bikes in Boulder for 12 years now.

His passion for e-bikes knows no bounds, and he has seen public interest in the electric vehicles skyrocket firsthand.

“I have several customers that have sold a second car and bought a second e-bike because of how effective their first e-bike was at replacing car trips,” said Balciar.

“So now I have a lot of families that are kind of viewing their cars as more what they use when they go to the mountains versus what they use around town, with the exception of a couple of months in the winter.”

The program has two main aims, according to Communications Manager Leah Kelleher over in Boulder’s Climate Initiatives Department.

“The two main goals of the program are to one: expand access to e-bikes to more of our community members,” Kelleher explains.

“And the other goal is encouraging people to use a greener, cleaner form of transportation.”

Boulder’s program was largely inspired by an e-bike rebate pilot program launched last year in Denver.

Mike Sallisbery works for Denver’s Climate Action, Sustainability & Resiliency Office, and he says the interest in the vouchers exceeded available funding.

He expects the same to happen in Boulder.

“We had budgeted about $300,000 for the program in 2022, said, 'hey we’ll give out a few hundred of these e-bike vouchers, we’ll learn a lot and we’ll design the program, we’ll make some tweaks.' And then, after the first weekend of the program launching, we’d already blown past that mark,” said Sallisbery.

Kelleher says Boulder is unsure how quickly their vouchers will run out, but that around 550 people signed up for email alerts for the program before the application portal even opened.

“It’s also worth noting that we’re doing two rounds of vouchers, and part of the reason we did that is so we can learn from this first round what’s working, what the demand is for vouchers,” she said.

The city’s second round of voucher giveaways will happen in September, so unlucky applicants in the first round will have a second chance later in the year, or they can apply to the state-wide program.
Copyright 2023 Aspen Public Radio.

Jackie Sedley
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