NORMAL HEIGHTS, Calif. (KGTV) — California is putting $10 million into helping make e-bikes more affordable for low-income families.
The local organization, Pedal Ahead, has been selected to lead the effort.
The non-profit operates a loan-to-own e-bike program for people making below $49,000 a year.
The program currently has around 400 participants and partners with community organizations throughout San Diego County including, City Heights, Chula Vista, and Encinitas.
"The individual benefits, the family benefits, and collectively we're benefitting by reducing emissions in these communities," said Ed Clancy, President, and Founder.
"I'm turning 19 and I can't afford a car so I use my e-bike to get around," said Aliyah Smith.
Smith is the non-profit's Program Coordinator. She uses her e-bike to get to and from work, as well as to pick up groceries.
"It's just a lot better than sitting on a bus and having to rely on that. I feel independent," she said.
Clancy said since the program began two years ago, the emission reduction of e-bikes over cars is 18.3 metric tons, which is equivalent to 6,000 trees planted. Not to mention the health benefits participants experience from daily exercise.
Now the non-profit is working with the state to implement an e-bike incentive program.
The goal is to encourage people to trade in their cars by helping low-income Californians afford e-bikes.
"In low-income communities, there's a lot of emission from older cars being used so transforming those communities into e-bike communities is again the rising tide that lifts all ships," Clancy said.
Clancy said the details are still being ironed out, but the statewide initiative is expected to be up and running by the beginning of 2023.
Locally, the program plans to add 125 more e-bike participants this fall.