Vail to distribute six electric bikes to essential workers
Applications are now available for the Town of Vail’s E-Bikes for Essentials program, which will provide six free electric bikes to Vail residents and essential workers who meet specific criteria. The participant agreement and application can be found on lovevail.org/ebikes and are due by 5 p.m. Monday, Aug. 22.
Criteria to be considered include:
- Must be a Vail resident
- Must be employed as a full-time essential worker (employed in critical businesses as defined on pages 6-12 in the State of Colorado Public Health Order)
- Must be income-qualified, making 60% or less of Area Median Income for Eagle County, which is currently $41,958 or less annually
Selected participants will receive a QuietKat Villager e-bike and accessories including a helmet, pump, lock and pannier commuting bags at no cost.
Those selected will be required to commute to work, run errands and attend 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 non-snow months for a minimum of two years. In addition, participants must track all trips made and modes of travel, as well as participate in the Sole Power Green Commuting Challenge. Participants may not sell the e-bike and must return the e-bike and equipment to the town of Vail if they decide the program is not for them.
Final selection of program participants will take place no later than Friday, Aug. 26. A mandatory program orientation and bike distribution will take place at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 30.
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The E-Bikes for Essentials program launched in 2021 with seven e-bikes and is a partnership between the town of Vail, National Renewable Energy Laboratory and QuietKat. Modeled off the Can Do Colorado E-Bike Pilot Program developed by the Colorado Energy Office in 2020, this program equips local workers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while demonstrating that e-bikes are a safe, healthy and convenient way to take essential trips around town.
One current participant shared his experience. “The bike has been great, I ride to and from work every day, so it’s been awesome. The exercise and riding home on the East Vail bike path is breathtaking! So, riding the bike has improved my mood just experiencing that before and after work. Plus, I’ve saved a ton on gas. I’ve also been using the bike to go to get-togethers either in town or at some parks, which has been nice knowing I’m reducing my carbon imprint by not driving all over town.”
In Eagle County, transportation has been identified as the single greatest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and therefore presents the greatest opportunity for improvement. The Climate Action Collaborative has identified that if Eagle County residents employ smart commuting options twice per week, transportation emissions will be reduced by 17%. Smart commuting includes working remotely, carpooling, taking the bus and human-powered forms of commuting such as 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, the cost is often a barrier to entry.
Questions about the program, applications or timeline can be directed to Beth Markham, the environmental sustainability coordinator for the town of Vail, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 970-479-2333.