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WA budget includes emphasis on safety + E-bike incentives

Screenshot of a Washington Bikes tweet: WAleg passed the transportation budget, which includes: - Unprecedented Move Ahead WA $$ for biking & walking, incl. bike ed. & infra
- 1st e-bike incentives program in WA, incl. lending library & with a specific focus on helping lowest income WA residents access e-bikes.
From @WABikes on Twitter.

The Washington State legislature has officially passed the 2023-25 budget, which includes significant increases in traffic safety funding as well as new e-bike incentives.

Washington Bikes celebrated the budget news, calling the investments in biking and walking “unprecedented.” The appropriations (PDF) for the three-year period include $175.5 million for “active transportation” projects and programs, including safety grants, complete streets, Safe Routes to School and school-based bicycle education.

The state also includes $5 million for an e-bike rebate program, allowing anyone to apply for a $300 rebate when purchasing an e-bike in the state. Residents in households with incomes at or below 80% of the county’s median income can qualify for a much larger $1,200 rebate. The and $2 million to help employers, governments, tribes or nonprofits establish e-bike “lending libraries” to help lower the barrier to entry for e-bikes, which are typically more expensive than pedal-only bikes.


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The budget also includes funding for a statewide sidewalk analysis project that the Disability Mobility Initiative and Front and Centered promoted. The state does not currently have comprehensive record of where sidewalks do and do not exist, and there is definitely no comprehensive data on which sidewalks have accessible curbs. This is boring work that is extremely important. We can’t effectively fix the problem if we don’t know where the problem is. This is the first step to a complete statewide sidewalk network.

The budget passed with unanimous bipartisan support (98-0 in the House and 46-3 in the Senate). State Democrats, who control both chambers, highlighted these safety investments:

  • increasing safe routes to school
  • mapping sidewalk gaps
  • improving busy intersections
  • introducing grade separation on rural roads to prevent serious crashes from lane departures
  • directing the Traffic Safety Commission to study and respond to alarming safety trends
  • addressing the section of Pacific Avenue at 134th St. in Parkland that led to the death of 13-year-old Michael Weilert, who was struck and killed while riding his bike at a crosswalk at that intersection in July 2022

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2 responses to “WA budget includes emphasis on safety + E-bike incentives”

  1. NickS

    I just read through that section of the bill as passed by the legislature. The rebate will be at time of purchase; the buyer will complete a rebate form and the retailer would then submit the form for reimbursement. The retailer must be within WA state. Rebates are limited to 1 per household.

    Of the $5MM allocated for rebates, $3MM of the amount is reserved for $1,200 rebates for households earning 80% or less of the county area median income, and $2MM is reserved for the $300 rebates.

    The most recent county area median income data I could find is here — https://ofm.wa.gov/sites/default/files/public/dataresearch/economy/median_household_income_estimates.pdf.

    I hope that the rebate program isn’t abused by fly-by-night retailers selling super cheaply built garbage e-bikes that cost $300-500 to produce and come in at or around $1200; bikes that will disappoint owners and not be reliable and even potentially unsafe to charge. NYC has seen numerous lithium-ion battery pack fires in apartment housing, some with tragic consequences, with cheap packs and often aftermarket chargers. I would have liked to have seen requirements that the bike battery and charger be UL listed, which would help to weed out most of the garbage.

    Hopefully WADOT can help police retailers to help weed out the bad eggs when they go through the authorization process.

  2. Mary

    Does the Washington state e- bike bill include sales tax exemption?

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