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Berkeley E-Bike Access Project

Climate benefits to Berkeley Residents

Project Overview

In the coming months, Waterside Workshops will be launching a program to offer access to electric bikes (or “e-bikes”) to approximately 50 income-qualified Berkeley households for their long term use. This program is funded by the City of Berkeley’s Pilot Climate Equity Fund and will run until May 31, 2024.

We are partnering with GRID Alternatives to gather community feedback, particularly from prospective participants, in order to successfully implement this program. If you are interested in participating and/or receiving updates about our E-Bike Access Program, please sign up below:

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What is an e-bike?

An e-bike is an electric bicycle that uses an electric motor to propel the bike forward.

Why would I want to ride an e-bike instead of a traditional non-electric bike?

E-bikes make biking easier and more convenient for riders. Through a feature called “pedal assist,” e-bikes help riders move faster without requiring as much effort or physical exertion. The ease of riding an e-bike makes it a desirable transportation option for many people, including bike commuters and people who live in hilly areas.

What other benefits do e-bikes offer?

E-bikes offer a viable alternative to driving, as they are capable of carrying cargo, including young children, over long distances. By using an e-bike to get to work, school, or the grocery store, riders can show up to their destination with less sweat and physical strain than they might experience on a non-electric bike. Commuting on an e-bike also helps riders save money on gas and public transportation fees. Lastly, as a form of exercise or recreation, e-bikes can improve mental and physical health.

How much will it cost to participate?

We are still in the process of designing this program, but our goal is to ensure that cost is not a barrier for potential participants.

How do I know if I qualify for the E-Bike Access Program?

The program will target Berkeley residents to receive e-bikes, with a preference for those at or below 80% area median income (AMI). Alameda County’s AMI for 2022 is $142,800 (based on a household with 4 persons).

Do I have to live in Berkeley to qualify for the program?

Yes, only Berkeley residents may participate in the program.

Will I receive training or support on how to use the e-bike?

Yes, Waterside Workshops will provide training and safety lessons on how to ride the e-bike safely. You do not need to have prior experience riding an e-bike to qualify for the program.

Where can I ride my e-bike?

As long as you follow traffic and pedestrian safety rules, you are free to ride your e-bike wherever you’d like! You can use it for commuting to work, getting around your neighborhood, carrying cargo or groceries, transporting children, or just for fun. Please note that e-bikes are prohibited from some bike trails around the Bay Area.

How do I apply?

We have not begun accepting applications at this point in time. Please sign up for the e-bike mailing list using the form above. We will get in touch with you with more information about the program.

When will I receive the e-bike?

We are hoping to distribute bikes to participants by the spring of 2023.

I’ve never owned an e-bike before. How do I maintain it?

Waterside Workshops will help you maintain your e-bike through regular service check-ups.