EDITORIAL: Incentives would fuel purchase of e-bikes

Much has been made recently about the incentives being doled out by the provincial and federal governments to buyers of electric vehicles. But one group of commuters desire to create a healthier planet is being forced to take a backseat.

While buyers of an electric vehicle under $45,000 qualify for a federal grant of up to $5,000 as well as a provincial grant of up to $3,000 (recently rolled back from $5,000), those who get around on two wheels instead of four are expected to help the environment on their own dime.

READ MORE: Electric cargo bikes booming despite lack of incentives

This may come as news to those in the halls of power, but saving the planet is not a bastion of the rich. And those who can’t afford to shell out $45,000 on a new set of wheels may still appreciate a little help from government.

Since 2015 the B.C. Cycling Coalition has asked for PST to be waived on electric assist bikes, something that already applies to regular bikes. With the price of a new electric-assist cargo bike starting at around $3,000, elimination of the PST would represent a $210 incentive for perspective riders. It’s a far cry from the $8,000 governments are willing to fork over to those getting behind the wheel of a Nissan Leaf, but cyclists are still told to peddle their petitions elsewhere.

What cyclists do qualify for is an $850 rebate through B.C.’s Scrap-It program if you scrap your car. In other words, no more trips over the Malahat for you, and if you want to get somewhere in winter, you best prepare to get wet.

There is no reason governments shouldn’t be doing more to get commuters onto an electric bike. Apart from the benefits to the environment, it would also serve to lessen congestion on the roads of major urban centres.

You need to own a home in order to qualify for a homeowner grant; you need disposable income to benefit from RRSPs; and apparently you need to have $40k kicking around in your pockets to get some help in battling climate change. Maybe it’s time for governments to ride to the rescue of the little guy for a change.

READ MORE: Check out the ‘Caboost,’ an out-of-the-bike electric motor

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