Electric bikes for Worcester residents: grant funds test program

WORCESTER, MA — A state grant awarded this week can help make bicycling easier through Worcester.

The MassBike Group received the $440,000 grant to launch a local e-bike pilot program. Around 100 Worcester residents will receive a free e-bike and will be tracked over an 18-month period. This data will allow MassBike and the city to assess how bikes can replace trips made using more carbon-intensive modes of transportation, such as driving.

In addition to handing out e-bikes, participants in the Worcester program will also have access to safety equipment and training programs. At the end of the study, residents who participate in the program will be able to keep their e-bikes.

Electric bikes are an increasingly popular means of urban transport. The bikes include batteries that help riders climb steep hills and travel farther with less effort.

Worcester’s e-bike grant was one of 10 granted by the state on Tuesday under the Accelerating Clean Transportation for All program.

MassBike will partner locally with the Worcester Chamber of Commerce and the Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission to collect data and find candidates for the program, Executive Director Galen Mook noted.

Mook said MassBike will share data collected through the program with Worcester city officials, which could lead to better cycling infrastructure across the city to make cycling safer. Worcester is about to embark on a long-term planning process called “Worcester Now | Next”, which will include a vision for future transport infrastructure.

Mook said MassBike hopes to have a website for the e-bike program by early April to accept applications for the program. In general, the program will be open to people over the age of 18 who earn 60% or less of the state’s median income. The group wants to include a wide range of residents, from university students to people who speak English as a second language.

Anyone interested in the program can check the MassBike website for updates.

About Irene J. O'Donnell

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