Government needs to incentivise electric and cargo bicycles, says Sinn Fein

The Government needs to go further to incentivise electric and cargo bicycles according to Sinn Fein’s spokesperson on Climate Action, Communications Networks and Transport.

Last week IrishCycle.com reported how electric bicycles and cargo bicycles were excluded from transport Minister Eamon Ryan’s €100m e-vehicle fund expansion.

This website also covered how other countries have grants systems for such bicycles that are more generous than the Cycle to Work scheme. These incentives in other countries are also open to a wider range of people compared to the Cycle to Work scheme, which does not apply to and cannot be expanded to many people including retirees, businesses, homemakers, carers, teenagers school goers and others.

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The Dail record on KildareStreet.com shows that Sinn Fein spokesperson and Meath East TD Darren O’Rourke called for more incentives for electric and cargo bicycles as part of a debate on the Road Traffic Bill on Wednesday, November 10.

Deputy O’Rourke said: “E-bikes are another aspect of modern transport this Bill seeks to regulate for the first time. This is a positive initiative as it will help encourage this alternative form of mobility, reduce reliance on private cars and open opportunities for active and healthy travel for more people.

“I ask the Minister of State to advise the House whether she is considering expanding or reforming the bike-to-work scheme to take account of the growth of e-bikes and e-cargo bikes. As far as I am aware, €1,500 is the maximum cost that can be applied for the scheme, but some e-bikes and e-cargo bikes cost in excess of that. E-bikes cost a fraction of what an electric vehicle costs and take up much less room on our roads,” he said.

Deputy O’Rourke added: “While their regulation in this Bill is welcome, I hope the Government is planning to bring forward updated incentives to increase their use. The Joint Committee on Environment and Climate Action heard about the potential of e-bikes to make medium-distance travel more manageable for people.”

The debate ran out of time before it include any government reply on the wide range of issues being discussed connected to the Road Traffic and Roads Bill 2021.

As reported as part of our coverage on grants last week, a Department of Transport spokesperson said: “Any changes to the electric grants system would need to be considered in the overall policy and budgetary context.”

A question directed at Minister Ryan asking why he is expanding the electric vehicle grant now but there seems to be no urgency in allowing electric or cargo bicycle buyers to tap into that source of funding continues to go unanswered.

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