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Two separate bills introduced to Congress this session could reportedly grant bike and e-bike commuters a tax break. The Bicycle Commuter Act (first introduced in 2019), and the Electric Bicycle Incentive Kickstart for the Environment (E-BIKE) Act (brought to the floor last week) encourage the use of bikes and e-bikes as a mode of zero-carbon transportation.
Introduced by Reps. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), the E-BIKE Act, the bill would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. If it passes, purchasers of new e-bikes would be eligible for a tax credit of up to $1,500. On the other hand, the Bicycle Commuter Act (H.R.384) — also introduced by Rep. Blumenauer— has similar text and tax break incentives. Nineteen members of Congress are backing the bill, and it has been referred to the House. It is expected that the bills will likely get support from the President, who has pledged to tackle climate change, who if it passes the senate, would sign it into law.
According to Congressman Panetta’s press release, the E-BIKE Act would create a 30% consumer tax credit for anyone purchasing an electric bike — with overall cost capped at $8,000 — in a bid to make zero-emissions travel more affordable and accessible. The tax incentive would either offset the purchaser’s taxes owed or be added to their tax refund for the year in which it was purchased.
“E-bikes are not just a fad for a select few, they are a legitimate and practical form of transportation that can help reduce our carbon emissions,” Congressman Panetta said. “My legislation will make it easier for more people from all socio-economic levels to own e-bikes and contribute to cutting our carbon output. By incentivizing the use of electric bicycles to replace car trips through a consumer tax credit, we can not only encourage more Americans to transition to greener modes of transportation, but also help fight the climate crisis.”
“Incentivizing electric bicycles makes them a competitive transportation option for more Americans and supports a national effort to lower carbon emissions,” said PeopleForBikes CEO Jenn Dice through the aforementioned press release.
He also pointed out that “one of the few positive developments of the last year has been the surge in biking.” Coronavirus emptied out Los Angeles’ roadways, so bicyclists took advantage of this. As more cyclists have hit the roads, Sep. 2020 had the fewest bicycle-vehicle collisions since the city began releasing data in 2012. Per data from the Los Angeles Police Department, there were 18 bike-vehicle collisions recorded in the city that month, down from 185 during the same period in 2019 — making it the lowest number ever recorded. Consequently, the number of cycling trips in the city logged by Strava Metro, which tracks data on bike usage in urban areas, rose by 52%, to 191,010. This has led some to say that Los Angeles is slowly becoming more bike-friendly.