E-bike shopping would be a lot less scary when this bill passes. (Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Oregon’s electric bike rebate bill has been rescheduled for its first public hearing. House Bill 2571 was initially slated to be heard in the House Committee On Climate, Energy, and Environment this past Monday (1/30), but it was pulled off the agenda just before the meeting. It’s now set for a hearing on February 8th at 3:00 pm.

The bill is sponsored by House Representatives Dacia Grayber, Mark Gamba, and Khanh Pham. It would establish a cash rebate of between $1,200 and $1,400 at the point-of-sale for the purchase of a new e-bike from a qualifying dealer. Oregon already offers several generous purchase incentives for people who want to buy electric cars, so a similar program for bicycle EVs seems like a natural next step. The bill asks for $6 million from the state’s general fund to kickstart the program.

One of the reasons HB 2571 was pulled from the agenda last week was so lawmakers could have time to read and digest a landmark new report on electric bicycle, scooter and “e-micromobility” vehicles that was recently released by the Oregon Department of Transportation. That report, part of ODOT’s larger Transportation Electrification Infrastructure Needs Analysis, includes a recommendation for rebates and other incentives to encourage more Oregonians to buy e-bikes. The past week has also given lawmakers and other supporters of HB 2571 more time to burnish their arguments and organize testimony.

Next Wednesday’s hearing won’t come with a vote, but it will be the first time we get to hear how those arguments are shaping up, what lawmakers think about the idea, and if there are any voices of opposition that have come out of the woodwork. So far the Oregon Legislature website has three pieces of written testimony for the bill — all of which are in support.

Northeast Portland resident Paxton Rothwell says he recently had to sell his car because the payments made it unaffordable. “An e-bike would change my life,” states his testimony. “I would be able to comfortably take 95% of trips by bike. I would be able to… make a large grocery run, and reach further distances in the city if I had access to an e-bike. But I don’t. And the main reason I don’t is because I can’t afford the purchase. I support HB 2571 because it would give me and people like me the opportunity to afford this amazing transportation tool.”

Andrew Martin writes that, “Oregon currently has rebates for electric cars, and given that electric bicycles move us towards our goals much faster it makes sense to have similar rebates for electric bikes. This rebate will also support Oregon’s bicycle industry economically.”

And Mark Harris tells lawmakers that, “I am an avid bike rider in my 60’s and would jump at the chance to buy an electric bike to use on my commute. I feel I would use it instead of the times I have to drive my car.”

View the agenda for the committee meeting to learn how to watch the hearing, testify in person, or submit your written testimony.

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