Baggio Ma responded to Remove the PST and Add Rebates for Electric Bikes with submitted 2017-08-11 15:07:32 -0700
Currently in B.C. bicycles and transportation fares are exempt from PST charges, and clean energy vehicles are eligible for rebates up to $5,000. Purchases of new electric bicycles, and their electric parts, are charged PST, and are not eligible for rebates. Something doesn’t seem right here, does it?
For a brief period of time, when B.C. was running the HST tax, electric bikes did, in fact, receive tax exemptions. It seems that in the transition back to the system we currently use, minor details such as taxes on assisted bikes slipped through the cracks.
For small business owners however, this detail feels rather significant. "It's really quite a hassle." Says Paul Dragan of Reckless Bikes. "When repairing an electric bike, we have to charge PST on the electric parts like the battery and motor while there is no PST on the bike parts like wheels and brakes.". Creating two separate lines, and a once unnecessary step to small business’s financial records, is cumbersome and aggravating.
For individuals, the re-added tax could be a barrier to purchasing, or converting to, an e-bike. Electric bikes suitable for commuting typically cost $1500-$3000, making the suggested PST exemption worth about $105 - $210 for buyers, plus on-going PST charges on maintaining parts. Additionally, a rebate would provide financial incentives for individuals to incorporate active transportation into their daily lives.
Electric bikes are being studied by biking centres around the world. The Netherlands, and Norway have measured significant increases in bicycle trip length, and frequency due to use of electric bikes. In 2013, a survey in the Netherlands reported that 5 percent of the total population, and 10 percent of the 60+ population owned an e-bike, and those with electric models ride twice as many kilometers compared to the 60+ cyclists with a regular bike. In 2014, they found that those with e-bikes rode 22% more kilometres per week, and the average commuting distance rose from 6.3 to 9.8 kilometres. Assisted bikes make up 21% of bicycles sales in the Netherlands.
Electric bicycles remove accessibility barriers by allowing riders to conquer hills, speeds, and distances that would otherwise be impossible for some people. These machines, that emit zero carbon, make active transportation a viable option for a broader population, opening it up to all ages and abilities, especially in combination with safe cycling infrastructure.
With B.C.’s aggressive climate targets for 2050, and municipal initiatives to increase active transportation, removing financial barriers to access electric bicycles is logical. Considering that it was not long ago that we actually didn’t pay taxes on these bikes, it is more of an error correction, than a radical request.
The British Columbia Cycling Coalition has submitted a formal request to remove the PST and add rebates, similar to those available for electric cars, as part of their Climate Leadership Action Plan recommendation.
Also included in the recommendations a billion dollars over ten years for bike paths and protected bike lanes as well as improved design standards that can safely accommodate electric bikes and enable longer distance commuting.Official response from Baggio Ma submitted
Baggio Ma responded to New Government Brings Opportunity for Improvements to Cycling and Walking with submitted 2017-07-18 16:39:09 -0700
John Horgan and Bowinn Ma visit James Wilson at Obsession Bikes
The results from the survey sent out by the BC Cycling Coalition to parties during the election campaign indicate that both the NDP and the Green Party are willing to support an Active Transportation Plan, which would include cleaner and more sustainable transportation options including cycling and walking.
Please write Premier Horgan to let him know you support increased investment in cycling
The NDP have promised to that they will be "committed to making cycling, walking and other forms of active transportation safer and more accessible, and we will work with communities to determine what investments are needed."
The Green Party have made similar promises, with commitments to "develop criteria for sustainability analysis of transportation investments and prioritize investments that promote transportation choices with a low carbon footprint, such as cycling"
While this is a good starting point, there is still much work that needs to be done before concrete results can be achieved. With a new government in place, there is a very real opportunity for change. Please take a moment to write a letter to your elected officials showing your support for increased investment in cycling.Official response from Baggio Ma submitted
Baggio Ma responded to Press Release: Cyclist Death Sparks Call for Safer Passing Law in BC with submitted 2017-07-07 12:19:00 -0700
Cyclist death sparks call for Safer Passing Law in BC
JULY 6, 2017 – VANCOUVER, BC.
The death of rising cycling star Ellen Watters has top Canadian cyclists and local advocacy organizations calling for a Safer Passing Law to protect BC’s vulnerable road users. As professional cyclists from across North America converge on Metro Vancouver for the BC Superweek race series, Watters, killed by a motorist on a training ride in December 2016, is still top of mind. Her breakout performance in this series last year led to her first pro contract.
According to ICBC, 740 cyclists will be injured and seven will be killed by cars in BC from June through September. Former teammates of Watters in town for the series will train on BC roads and are keenly aware of the risks. Two-time Olympian Tara Whitten from The Cyclery-4iiii team shares,
“Losing Ellen was a horrible reminder that far too often we are not safe. It was a reminder of all those times when I thought I was visible to motorists only to feel the blast of a vehicle passing way too close, as a harsh reminder of my vulnerability.”
The BC Road Safety Law Reform Group is recommending a Safer Passing Law that would require:
- A motor vehicle driver pass a vulnerable road user (a person cycling, walking, using a wheelchair, riding a horse) by at least 1.5 metres; and
- If there is more than one lane for traffic in the same direction, a motor vehicle driver would have to have to pass in the lane next to the one a vulnerable road user is traveling in.
This law would make cycling and walking safer and more comfortable for road users. As Watters’ sister Lily Watters, a New Westminster resident, and avid cycle commuter states:
“Unfortunately, many of us already know about these risks from personal experience, or the loss of someone dear...we need better laws to keep cyclists safe on the roads.”
Safe passing distances have been specified by over 27 jurisdictions in North America, including Ontario,Quebec and Nova Scotia as well as several in Europe. Following the death of Ellen Watters, the New Brunswick legislature moved quickly to pass “Ellen’s Law”- a safer passing distance law. The BC Road Safety Law Reform Group is calling on supporters to visit bccc.bc.ca/safer_passing and share their experiences with vehicles on the road. Cyclists are also encouraged to share their experiences online by Tweeting to @bccycle and using the #PassSafeBC hashtag.
ABOUT THE BRITISH COLUMBIA CYCLING COALITION
The British Columbia Cycling Coalition and our 20 member organizations represent approximately 50,000 supporters across B.C. We work with governments, businesses and organizations to enable everyone in B.C. to safely cycle for their daily trips, recreation and tourism.
ABOUT THE BC ROAD SAFETY LAW REFORM GROUP
The BC Road Safety Law Reform Group is comprised of the Trial Lawyers Association of BC, the British Columbia Cycling Coalition (BCCC), HUB Cycling, and health researchers.
For further information, photos, and interview requests:
● Richard Campbell, BC Cycling Coalition, firstname.lastname@example.org, 778-891-1764
● Justine Clift, Teammate, email@example.com, 778-228-5215
● Lily Watters, Family Member, firstname.lastname@example.org, 604-836-3623
● Tara Whitten, Teammate, email@example.com, 780-893-0828
Lily Watters - Sister of Ellen Watters
When we advocate for better, more inclusive rules on our roadways, we make ourselves accountable for our joy in cycling. I have been a cycling commuter since I started riding my bike to school at 9, and a "lifestyle" cyclist since a few years before that. I've lately started racking up kilometers on a road bike, so I can say without exaggeration that riding a bike has been a big part of my life for a long time. But I don't want to give the impression that I'm just in this to increase my personal freedom. This isn't just about making safe decisions as individuals or getting more of what each of us may want in our cycling niche, but being ambassadors for our sport and our choice of transportation. Taking a critical look, and speaking up about cycling safety forces us to acknowledge the risk involved. Unfortunately, many of us already know about these risks from personal experience, near misses for a friend, or the loss of someone dear. There is too much at stake to only complain about motorists after a ride, and too much to be gained to only post our happiness on social media. We already know what a group of focused cyclists can accomplish when they challenge themselves in their discipline; let's put that to work in advocating for better laws to keep cyclists safe on the roads.
Tara Whitten- 3x World Champion, 2x Olympian and Olympic Bronze Medalist, Teammate
Cycling is a beautiful sport in all its forms: as recreation, as competition, as transportation. I believe that a society that values cycling will be healthier, happier, and greener, by reducing the use of cars and getting more people more active more often. However, for this to happen, cyclists need to feel safer on our roads. Losing Ellen Watters was a horrible reminder that far too often we are not safe. It was a reminder of all those times when I thought I was visible to motorists only to feel the blast of a vehicle passing way too close, as a harsh reminder of my vulnerability. Change is needed at all levels: from cyclists, ensuring that they are visible at all times with lights and reflective clothing; from motorists,ensuring that their attention is always on the road, and from government, ensuring that rules, regulations, and education are in place to create safer roads for all road users. I believe that cyclists have a right to feel safe on our roads, and I believe that if we work together, we can make that happen!
https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/bccyclingcoalition/pages/608/attachments/original/1499391081/Ellen-Watters-Photo-Matt-Lazzarotto.jpg - Ellen Watters, photo by Matt LazzarottoOfficial response from Baggio Ma submitted
Baggio Ma signed A Billion for Biking & Walking Petition via Greater Nanaimo Cycling Coalition 2017-06-12 12:53:21 -0700
Bold Action Now
It is time for bold action now to enable every person, including older adults and children, in BC to cycle or walk for their everyday trips.
Investing $1 billion over ten years in cycling and walking will send a strong message to the world that BC is serious about addressing Climate Change.
Cycling and walking will become attractive choices for everyone, leading to significantly improved fitness and reduced greenhouse gas emissions, pollution, congestion, and traffic injuries and fatalities. The paths and protected bike lanes could also be used by people in wheelchairs and other mobile devices.
Investing in cycling and walking will benefit the economy by increasing tourism, reducing healthcare costs, increasing workplace productivity, attracting talented workers, and reducing the societal costs of traffic fatalities and injuries.
Cycling is Popular
There is broad public support for cycling improvements. In the B.C. on the Move Engagement Survey, 72% of respondents supported enhancing cycling infrastructure. Cycling is popular. Almost 70% of adults in BC ride a bicycle at least once a year, 42% at least once a month and 25% at least once a week. Many want to cycle more, with around 65% indicating they would ride more if there were separated bike lanes that protected them from traffic.
A Transportation Bargain
On a per dollar basis, we all benefit more from cycling more than other modes. While bike paths and protected bike lanes are a bargain that will benefit far more people per dollar invested than other transportation projects, it does take a significant amount of cash to build networks of them in communities around the Province. For example:
- Metro Vancouver: $850 million
- Capital Regional District: $275 million
- City of Kelowna: $267 million (cycling and walking)
- City of Chilliwack: $27 Million
- City of Kamloops: $13 Million
At current rates of investment, these plans will take 30, 40 or even 50 years to complete, leaving people to brave busy roads on their bikes or more likely, not bothering to bike at all. Today's children will be grandparents by then.
The Provincial investment combined with local and federal funds will enable the completion of ambitious local and regional plans across BC. For example, the Metro Vancouver Regional Cycling Strategy predicts that upon network build out, cycling will increase to 10% of trips. The CRD Regional Pedestrian and Cycling Master Plan predicts cycling network build out cycling mode share will increase to 15%.
The funding for the $1 billion investment could come from a variety of sources including an increase in the Carbon Tax, predicted budget surpluses, a reallocation of transportation budget, cutting the tax break on those earning over $150,000 or a tax on sugary drinks.
By providing people with practical and safe transportation choices, this investment would decrease the rate of the Carbon Tax required to meet Provincial goals also saving money for those who don't cycle or walk.
I call upon the Government of BC to enable everyone in BC to cycle & walk in safety as part of their daily lives by implementing an Active Transportation Strategy that includes:
- Investing $1 billion over the next ten years to:
- Upgrade cycling & walking facilities on provincial roads & bridges
- Complete cycling & walking networks in communities across BC
- Provide safe routes to school for children
- Build trails & routes for cycling & walking tourism
- Ensuring that paths & protected bike lanes can be safely shared by people using wheelchairs, skateboards & in-line skates
- Enhancing cycling education for children & adults
- Promoting cycling & walking
- Encouraging electric bike use by eliminating the PST & providing rebates