Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Questions (59)

John Lahart


59. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he has considered introducing specific measures to incentivise and support the use of e-bikes on roads; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39747/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

Firstly, let me state that I am keenly aware of the potential role of e-bikes as part of our overall policy in supporting a greater shift to sustainable mobility in people’s daily lives.

As the Deputy is no doubt aware, that potential is found in a number of ways, most obviously in extending the potential “reach” of cycling as an attractive daily commuting option for people.

In the Netherlands for example, the relevant Dutch Ministry estimates that potential to be an additional 7 kilometres, so that cycling becomes really viable for those living up to 15 kilometres approximately from where they work, or go school etc. instead of the current 7 or 7.5km.

And that highlights the importance of the BusConnects programme with its 16 core bus corridors along each of the major commuting routes into Dublin from the outer suburbs providing around 200km of largely segregated cycling infrastructure.

I have no doubt the importance of BusConnects in that regard is recognized and supported by the Deputy.

In terms of specific measures and incentives, the Deputy is aware that there already exists a significant incentive under the Bike-to-Work Scheme.

That Scheme applies to e-bikes as it does to ordinary bikes and it represents a significant support to encourage greater use of cycling, including e-bikes. I think there might well be a potential for a communications campaign around its application to e-bikes to ensure people are aware of that fact.

The Deputy might say that the overall cap on the Bike-to-Work scheme should be lifted given the greater cost of e-bikes as opposed to other bikes; however, I would say that, as percentage of overall potential cost, it still represents a significant level of assistance.

I am about to launch a consultation on sustainable mobility policy and, as part of that, I would welcome engagement with the Deputy on any particular incentives he might have in mind. I think it important that any fiscal incentive is supported by appropriate analysis and forms part of an overall policy framework: an approach I would hope he supports.