Thank you Amit Zinman (Bike Stuff on YouTube) for video coverage we based this story on.
The effort to educate influencers and policymakers is a key strategy of electric bike advocates. Mix knowledge of power-assist with powerful people, the thinking goes, and they’ll assist you in making e-bikes take off faster than a Class 3 model at a stop sign.
As we shared last summer, an assemblage of advocates organized by Forth (a nonprofit EV advocacy group) called the E-Bikes for All Working Group has made it one of their top priorities to inform elected officials, their staff, and other decision-makers about e-bikes and the civic infrastructure that’s built up around them. Their first policymaker ride took place a year ago in Hood River.
The latest e-bike policymaker ride happened on Monday, September 19th. Organized by The Street Trust and hosted by their Policy Transformation Manager André Lightsey-Walker, a few dozen folks met up at the Go By Bike valet under the Portland Aerial Tram in South Waterfront. Their route was a classic central city loop with stops to hear from various speakers along the way.
Two stops seemed particularly notable.
During a stop at B-Line Urban Delivery on SE 7th and Salmon, the company’s Director of Sales & Marketing Phillip Ross addressed the crowd. B-Line currently has 14 employees and over a dozen pedal-assisted delivery trikes that deliver freight all over the city. The trikes can carry about 700 pounds of cargo each. Ross said the building they operate out of, which is owned and managed by environmental nonprofit Ecotrust, has installed a massive photovoltaic system on the roof to power all the trikes. “So you could say that B-Lines trikes are solar powered (in a net metered sort of way),” Ross shared with me after the ride.
The message to the policymakers was (hopefully) clear: Relatively tiny e-trikes can replace trucks for urban delivery with zero emissions and energy from the sun — all while not killing other road users. Hope they took notes.
Then there was a stop at Splendid Cycles where Oregon State Representative Karin Power’s Chief of Staff Carrie Leonard spoke. Leonard is spearheading the effort to introduce an e-bike purchase incentive bill to the legislature next year. Leonard said, “I want it to be a really significant subsidy, not like a paltry $300, because these bikes are expensive. It’s got to be something significant and we’re trying to make it as easy to use as possible.” Leonard encouraged anyone interested in the effort to contact the office of Rep. Dacia Grayber, who will take it over from the outgoing Rep. Power in the coming session.
It’s great to see these e-bike advocacy efforts in action. We need more people in halls of power to realize that the “EV” revolution applies to much more than cars.