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September 16, 2021

Five New State Laws Seeking to Combat Climate Change Through Bikes

By: Ashley Seaward, deputy director of state and local policy

Washington Avenue, Minneapolis – our No. 8 pick from 2017.
Washington Avenue, Minneapolis – our No. 8 pick from 2017.

New legislation recognizes the power of bikes to help reach climate action goals

The 2021 state legislative sessions have proven to be focused on reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions more than ever. Many new state bills are focused specifically on the use of bicycle infrastructure and electric bicycle incentives to help achieve states’ GHG reduction goals within their transportation sectors. 

GHG emissions from the transportation sector are the largest source of climate change causing emissions in the United States. Incentivizing the use of bicycles through improved infrastructure and purchase incentive programs are simple and effective tools that states can use to reach climate action goals. Listed below are highlights from five states that passed progressive climate legislation — empowered by bikes — through their legislatures this year.

  1. California: Assembly Bill 1147 imposes certain requirements to help regional transportation agencies bring their plans into compliance with state vehicle miles traveled reduction goals. This exciting bill also creates a program to build bicycle highways and a block grant program for 15-minute cities that could implement a bikeway network grant program (as proposed by the California Bicycle Coalition).
  2. Colorado: Senate Bill 21-260 (also known as “Sustainability Of The Transportation System”) will provide funding for electric bicycle incentives as well as a dedicated funding stream for grants to local governments to create more walkable, bikeable downtown areas and prioritize multimodal projects. Bicycle Colorado worked closely on this bill alongside local environmental advocates. 
  3. Hawaii: Senate Bill 1402 requires the Department of Transportation to create a contiguous network of pathways and highways for bicycles and electric bicycles to combat climate change and reach the state's GHG reduction goals.
  4. Vermont: House Bill 433 intends to reduce transportation-related GHG emissions, reduce fossil fuel use and save Vermont households money. Included in this new law is funding for an electric bicycle purchase incentive program.
  5. Washington: House Bill 1091 advances the state on a clear path to cleaner transportation by providing funding to projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and decarbonize the transportation sector. Examples of such projects include grants for bike and pedestrian programs and complete streets.

PeopleForBikes works diligently to track bills at all levels of government that improve bike riding and support bike businesses nationwide. Check out our policy finder to stay up to date on what we’re currently tracking and sign up for our newsletter to receive an email alert when a pro-bike policy is proposed in your area. 

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