Vail to give seven free e-bikes to essential workers in the town
Program aims to cut vehicle miles traveled in town
The town of Vail is working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicle miles traveled and ease commuting for income-qualified essential workers in Vail with the distribution of free electric bikes.
The E-bikes for Essentials program is a partnership between the town of Vail, National Renewable Energy Laboratory and QuietKat bikes. Modeled off the Can Do Colorado eBike Pilot Program developed by the Colorado Energy Office in 2020, the program is designed to demonstrate that e-bikes are a safe, healthy and convenient way to take essential trips around town. Selected program participants receive a QuietKat Sherpa e-bike and accessories including a helmet, pump, lock and pannier commuting bags at no cost.
In Eagle County, transportation has been identified as the single greatest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, which presents the greatest opportunity for improvement. The Climate Action Collaborative has determined that if Eagle County residents employ smart commuting options twice per week, transportation greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced by 17%.
Smart commuting includes working remotely, carpooling, taking the bus and human-powered forms of commuting including biking and walking. Results from the 2020 Climate Action Collaborative commuter survey showed that owning an electric bike was the most popular option to alternative commuting options. However, not everyone has an e-bike and cost is often a barrier to entry.
E-bikes can supplement existing public transit systems, ease parking and traffic congestion, reduce carbon emissions and encourage a healthy lifestyle. E-bikes serve residents for short commutes while running errands, commuting to work or attending social events rather than driving personal vehicles.
The program intent is to aid those in the community who would benefit most from having additional transportation options while cultivating bicycle-friendly communities.
Selection criteria include:
- Vail residency
- Employment as a full-time essential worker as defined by the state
- Must earn 60% or less of the annual area median income for Eagle County, which is currently $41,958 or less.
- Commitment to program requirements including commuting to work, running errands and attending social events via e-bike as often as possible and at least two times per week rather than driving a personal vehicle or taking the bus during nonsnow months for a minimum of two years.
Recipients must also use the CanBikeCO app to track all trips made and modes of travel and participation in the Sole Power Green Commuting Challenge. Participants cannot sell their e-bikes and must return the bike and equipment to the town of Vail if they decide the program is not for them.
To be considered, go to LoveVail.org/ebikes by noon Friday. The application should take 20 to 30 minutes to complete. The selection of program participants will take place no later than Monday. A mandatory program orientation will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, which is when e-bikes will be distributed.
For more information, email Vail Environmental Sustainability Coordinator Beth Markham at email@example.com, or call 970-568-6759.