2022 State Legislative Wins for Electric Bicycles
By: Ashley Seaward, PeopleForBikes’ deputy director of state + local policy
More and more states are realizing the benefits of electric bicycles as they seek to lower vehicle miles traveled and make progress towards climate goals. This was clearly illustrated within state legislative sessions during 2022, with an unprecedented number of new laws passed that improve the rights of electric bicycle riders, expand access to places to ride and create programs that make an electric bicycle easier to purchase.
Five new state electric bicycle purchase incentive programs
This year, five states either passed or renewed funding for electric bicycle purchase incentive programs. These states include Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts and Vermont. This amount of statewide electric bicycle incentive programs has never been seen before and the rate of adoption is not expected to decline in 2023. An overview of each program can be found below:
- Massachusetts: Up to $500 for general customers and $750 for low-income customers.
- Hawaii: Up to $500 or 20% of retail price, available to students, those without cars and low-income residents on other government support programs.
- Connecticut: Up to $300 for general customers and $700 for low-income customers.
- Colorado: Invests $10 million in local rebate programs across the state and $2 million in electric bicycle share programs. The specific rebate amount is yet to be determined.
- Vermont: Doubled investment in the already-allocated electric bicycle incentive program with an additional $50,000 budgeted this year. The program launched to the public in July 2022. Rebate amounts are dependent on Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) requirements.
- To see a detailed list of all electric bicycle incentive programs throughout the country, check out this handy tracker from the Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC) at Portland State University.
39 states now with three-class model electric bicycle legislation
Three new states (Kansas, Massachusetts (for Class 1 and 2, not 3), and Delaware (anticipated to be signed by the governor any week now) signed PeopleForBikes’ three-class model legislation into law this year. Each state has subtle differences in its laws, but fundamentally, these bills define electric bicycles using the three-class system; Regulate electric bicycles like bicycles (meaning the same rules of the road apply to both electric bicycles and human-powered bicycles) and exempt electric bicycles from the registration, licensing or insurance requirements that apply to motor vehicles.
- 39 states define electric bicycles using the three-class system: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
- Eight states do not use the three-class system but define electric bicycles similar to traditional bicycles: Hawaii, Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania and South Carolina.
- Three states still define electric bicycles as motorized vehicles (and may therefore require license, insurance and registration to ride): Alaska, New Mexico and Rhode Island.