uc davis | 511 Contra Costa

E-Bike Incentives Get People Biking More

According to the California Bicycle Coalition, more than fifteen percent of vehicle trips made in California are less than one mile. Eighty percent are less than ten miles. This makes an e-bike a great choice for replacing car trips. However, the cost of e-bikes are one of the strongest barriers to adoption, according to a recent study by researchers at UC Davis.

The good news is that both nationwide and statewide, programs offering cash incentives to help individuals purchase e-bikes are on the rise. In California alone, there are at least ten such programs.

To see how people’s travel behavior changed after buying an e-bike using an incentive program, UC Davis researchers evaluated survey data from rebate participants in programs across Northern California – including 511 Contra Costa’s program. They discovered between 35 and 50 percent of e-bike trips made by these individuals would have been made by car if an e-bike had not been available.

Rebate recipients also reported an increase in bicycle use. Two months after getting an e-bike, most reported shifting from biking “never” or 1-3 times a month to 1-3 times a week.

As for how getting an e-bike affected their driving habits, most e-bike rebate recipients replaced driving trips with riding e-bikes at least 1–3 times per month. Across the study group, a large share of respondents (82%) reported replacing at least one car trip with an e-bike ride.

The takeaway is that e-bike incentive programs work. And the majority of people who purchase e-bikes change their driving and biking behaviors, which helps reduce both traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions.

Let us help get you on an e-bike! Our E-Bike Rebate Program, which started three years ago, is still going strong. It offers rebates of $150, $300, and $500 to Contra Costa County residents. You have six months from the date you buy an e-bike to apply, so if you bought an e-bike recently, be sure to apply today!

What do you like to do on transit? Take this brief survey for a chance to win cash prizes!

What do YOU like to do on transit?


The Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis is conducting a study on “travel multi-tasking,” or doing other activities while traveling. Whether you work or sit back and do nothing, we want your opinions! Click here to take the survey, or read below for more information.

Who can participate?

Anyone who commutes and is 18 or older.


Everyone who returns a completed survey will be entered into a drawing for cash prizes of $300, $200, $100, and eight $25 restaurant gift cards.

How long will the survey take?

The survey should take about 35 minutes to complete.


The information you give us can help policymakers and transportation providers develop services that are more responsive to your needs and desires.


Please complete the survey by November 30, 2011.


Reports will be posted at http://pubs.its.ucdavis.edu/ as they become available.

Take the survey:

  1. Online: http://contra.questionpro.com
  2. You may request a paper version of the survey by calling (toll-free) 1-888-765-1124 or sending an e-mail, with “Paper survey request” as the subject, to Amanda Neufeld at ajneufeld@ucdavis.edu.


If you have any questions, you are welcome to contact Prof. Patricia Mokhtarian at plmokhtarian@ucdavis.edu, or Ms. Amanda Neufeld at 1-888-765-1124 or ajneufeld@ucdavis.edu.
Photo by neiltron