Wednesday, April 3, 2013

We did it! 7% decrease in cost of bikes, bike repairs and bike equipment

MLAs Doug Routley and Lana Popham standing in front of
Capital City Bikes at the finish of one of our
‘No HST on BIKES in BC’ rallies
Dear Cyclists,

Thank you for joining with me to fight the government and make cycling more affordable in BC.

Our activism helped highlight a significant problem with the HST and strengthened the larger battle against it.

With the end of BC's HST on April 1 2013, the PST exemption on bikes, bike repairs and bike equipment has been restored. 

Our cycling bills are now 7% less expensive.

A little context:

For almost thirty years, bikes (and bike expenses like repairs, helmets and locks) have been PST exempt. Why? Because successive governments agreed it made no sense to tax such a healthy and environmentally-friendly form of transportation.

This rationale has only become stronger over time as we’ve learned more about the benefits of healthy living and the importance of reducing our carbon emissions. The more we can encourage people to ride bikes rather than drive cars, the better it is for everyone. It means less traffic congestion, less wear and tear on our roads and potentially lower health-care costs.

That was why I took the fight to the government on this issue. With your help we forced them to justify how jacking up the price of a bike is going to help make B.C. more sustainable or encourage more people to make healthy lifestyle choices. We forced them to explain how this action advanced their so-called Climate Action Plan? And of course they couldn’t.

A government that increases taxes on green transportation is a government traveling in the wrong direction.

It was my privilege to work on this issue. I took the lead on everything from creating a network of bike shops and bike enthusiasts across the province, developing and promoting a petition (that gathered 5000+ signatures) and organizing several rallies, one of which brought together hundreds of people at the Legislature and drove a lot of media attention to the issue. 

There is much more that we can and should do to encourage cycling in BC.  I look forward to hearing your views on how this can be done and also to sharing with you my own perspective.

For now let me just say: squeaky wheels got the grease!

Lana Popham
MLA Saanich South
www.saanichsouth.ca | www.squeakywheels.ca