Should you take the government up on this offer if the act is passed? Let’s take a closer look.
Shortly after his inauguration, President Biden announced that he wanted to work on introducing a financial incentive to get more Americans into electric cars. If this occurs, it will likely be in the form of subsidies and tax credits.
This focus on “electrifying America” has inspired Congressmen Jimmy Panetta and Earl Blumenauer of California and Oregon respectively to propose their own ideas. Among these proposals is the Electric Bicycle Incentive Kickstart for the Environment (E-BIKE) Act. The goal of this approach is to get more cars off of the streets and reduce carbon emissions.
While the Act includes a number of items within it, the basic gist of it is that it will provide a tax credit to those who wish to purchase a new e-bike. If the decree were to be passed, consumers would be able to get back 30% of the total cost of their e-bike purchase come tax time.
Of course, there are limits to how much one can get back; in this case, it is $1,500. While this all sounds very enticing (and it is), it is important to consider the fact that even with the tax credit you are still going to spend a good chunk of money. Therefore, should you take the government up on this offer if the act is passed?
Let’s get into the pros and cons of this surely politically divided initiative.
E-Bikes Are Becoming Increasingly More Popular
Before you decide whether you want an e-bike, you should probably know what an e-bike is. For those who don’t know, an e-bike is simply a bicycle with an electrically assisted motor. Unlike a moped or scooter, you do need to burn some calories throughout your commute. This means that you likely will not be able to just use the electric motor without ever having to pedal (the battery will go flat pretty quick). Typically, the electric assist is used to help you glide up hills or keep speed when traversing rough terrain.
As far as variety goes, there has never before been a better selection available to the public. Bicycle brands like Giant, Trek, Scott, and a slew of start-ups have been more than happy to provide a decent selection of e-bikes. Surprisingly, it’s not just mainstream bicycle brands and new niche brands; automotive manufacturers have thrown their hats in the ring. Notably, Harley-Davidson has stated that it intends to implement a company called Serial 1 Cycle; this is scheduled to open in the spring of 2021. Additionally, Jeep has introduced the QuietKat, which is now available to purchase.
E-Bikes Provide Some Great Benefits
As mentioned beforehand, the reason some members of the Democratic party would like to get more Americans on e-bikes is that it is better for the environment. The fabrication process of a bike frame and even the battery pack are significantly more eco-friendly than both their gas and electrically powered automotive cousins. This just simply comes down to the fact that bikes require less materials than cars/motorcycles.
While the battery pack still includes minerals that need to be mined from around the world, not as much of these materials are needed to power a bicycle. Because they have fewer materials/parts than a car, they also require less maintenance and are much cheaper to service than a car or motorcycle.
E-bikes provide a wealth of benefits to their users, especially those in populated towns and cities. For starters, e-bikes are still a bicycle and will give you more exercise than that of just sitting in a car. Secondly, they can be very convenient when navigating our already very crowded streets.
Typically, you can stick to the bike lane and speed past gridlocked traffic; depending on your state, you may even be able to lane split. Best of all, once you get to your destination you can easily park your bike for free (depending on your location).
There Are Some Negatives To A Strict E-Bike Diet
If you plan on choosing an e-bike as your main mode of transportation, you should know of some of the difficulties that you are likely to encounter. For starters, an e-bike is typically only convenient when your destination is not too far away, and the weather is nice. If your goal is to travel 30+ miles to work in rainy weather, it is definitely not going to be ideal. Furthermore, if you need to transport any kind of cargo or passengers, an e-bike will likely not be a realistic choice.
Then there is the concept of safety. No matter how hard politicians try to make city streets more bike-friendly, cyclists are likely always going to be vulnerable. Inattentive drivers are the biggest threat to the average cyclist; anybody who has ridden a bicycle on the street knows this. To put into perspective how dangerous biking can be, it was estimated in 2018 that 682 cyclists died in motor-vehicle related crashes within the USA alone.
Verdict: It All Depends On Your Life Style
When all the pros and cons are considered, the choice of an e-bike over a car really comes down to what is good for your lifestyle. Those who live in crowded cities and are single may consider them a viable option. Those in remote areas or who have families may consider them unrealistic. Whatever your situation, if you’ve been thinking about getting an e-bike, the perfect time to get one might be right around the corner.
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