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E-bikes lead the charge toward a cleaner, cheaper future

Tiffany Cogell rides her e-bike around her Boston neighborhood in 2021.Erin Clark/Globe Staff

Thanks to Taylor Dolven for paying attention to and writing about bicycling issues, in particular the electric bicycle bill advanced in the Legislature (”Legislation easing rules on e-bikes advances,” Metro, July 28). This movement is the result of hard work by the dedicated staff at MassBike and Boston Cyclists Union, and of the many thousands of bicyclists who are determined to turn the state into the bicycle mecca it should be.

We are determined because bicycling is a top solution to the climate change crisis. Our traffic woes, congestion, deaths and injuries caused by reckless driving, and the enormous volumes of climate heating CO2 and health deteriorating ultrafine particle pollution produced by our current transportation system have solutions. In addition to needing a vastly improved public transportation system, bicycling — in particular electric bicycles — has the potential to resolve many of the institutional problems created by the private transportation mandate.


For too many people, participation in the economy requires the constant indebtedness of car ownership. Adding to that burden is the impoverishment of insurance, fuel, and maintenance costs not to mention the vast amount of time lost sitting in traffic. All around the country, people are buying electric bicycles, which cost a fraction of a car and have minimal operating costs.

The measure must advance three critical needs: bicycle purchase tax incentives; vocational training programs for people to become bicycle mechanics, in particular, for e-bikes (this is a critical problem due to liability insurance problems for bike shops and bike warranties given that many e-bikes are bought online); and for the building of expanded and improved bicycle infrastructure. On the latter point, we are heading into a potential crisis on existing bike paths and lanes as e-bike riders travel at greater speeds than conventional bicyclists and pedestrians.


Our city and state governments are not acting fast enough to meet the needs of a population that is deeply frustrated by our dysfunctional and existentially threatening car-bound system. It’s time to recognize that bicycling is a key solution to many problems.

Alan Wright