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Environment and Energy

Free electric bike loan in Santa Barbara County encourages alternative modes of transportation

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Angel Russell
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In an effort to help lower Santa Barbara County’s carbon footprint, residents and workers there can now loan an electric bike without charge this month through the EZ Bike project.

Nancy Eckert, the EZ Bike Coordinator, hopes the project will convince people to use other modes of transportation besides their vehicles to commute to work.

“Traffic is caused, and pollution is caused by the masses," Eckert said. "Cars are great for distance, but for that 5-10 mile range, cars are not the tool. Bicycles are, and especially E-bikes.”

The EZ Bike project allows residents and workers from Santa Barbara County to test ride electric bikes for up to a five-day period.

Kent Epperson, Director of Traffic Solutions for Santa Barbara County Association of Governments, said the goal is to get people to see that E-bikes can be a convenient way to travel.

“There is a whole group of people that are just scared to death from a bike because of the energy that it takes, and the sweating and dealing with clothing," Epperson said. "But, with an E-bike, you’ve eliminated some of the barriers.”

Epperson said although E-bikes range between $1,000-$3,000, in the long run, it’s much more affordable than a car commute—especially with gas prices nearly $5 per gallon right now.

“Although it does take that initial investment, you’re not going to be paying for insurance and certainly not gasoline,” Epperson said.

Epperson said, while they are offering the E-bike project in Santa Barbara County currently, they do hope to work with other counties in the near future.

“As long as there is a need for people to try on different bikes, then we will be here with a fleet of bikes to introduce to them,” Epperson said.

To reserve an electric bike, go to EZBike.org.

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