Worcester MassBike Program Provides Free E-Bikes To Low Income Residents

Photo: WBZ NewsRadio / Kim Tunnicliffe

WORCESTER, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — A government funded program may be the ample opportunity for Worcester residents looking to get out on bike paths this summer.

The Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition says that funds from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center are spearheading the Worcester E-Bike Program, something that aims to provide lower income City residents a hundred free electric bicycles. The bikes will be handed out through the MassCEC's Accelerating Clean Transportation for All (ACT4All) Program.

The program, state officials said, will last two years and will distribute the bikes to track how much the Worcester participants use them. In addition to getting supplied the wheels, participants will be trained in rider safety through cycling and maintenance courses and encouraged to take part in community riding events. The City says that bicyclists enrolled in the program will get to keep their bikes even after the two-year timeline is up.

MassBike officials say that they will lead a team that includes the Worcester Chamber of Commerce, community-based organizations, and the Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission (CMRPC) to give out the bikes.

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WBZ's Kim Tunnicliffe visited Landry's Bicycles, one of the retailers that will be providing the electric bicycles under the program. The bicycle store said that electric bikes are pedal-assisted, great for off-road excursions, powerful enough to carry riders up hills, and are largely accessible.

CMRPC Assistant Planner Faye Rhault said that they will be tracking the bikes' usage to get a better insight into resource allocation.

"To understand the positive effects on reducing climate emissions, but also to understand where there's high traffic areas with bicycles from lower-income residents and high priority destinations, for future bicycle accommodations," Rhault said.

MassBike said that the program begins accepting applications in April, will select participants in May, and distribute electric bikes in June.

WBZ's Kim Tunnicliffe (@KimWBZ) reports.

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