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7% decrease in cost of bikes, bike repairs and bike equipment

April 3, 2013

Dear Cyclists,

Thank you for your successful efforts to 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.

This is a positive development. Cycling was exempted from the PST decades ago because our province wanted to incentivize a healthy and environmentally-friendly form of transit. That was – and is – a sound policy.

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 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. 

Of course 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.

But the purpose of this blog is fulfilled and this will be my last post. I will leave it untouched on the internet (there is no cost) as part of the historical record of our successful efforts to stop the HST on BIKES in BC.

Squeaky wheels got the grease!



Thank-you to all those who took part in our bike rally last Thursday!!

This is MLA Doug Routley and myself standing in front of Capital City Bikes downtown Victoria. Our beautiful Squeaky Wheels banner is off to the side. We had many riders out today and appreciate all the good wishes.

Does the Squeaky Wheel get the grease? Sometimes yes and sometimes no...but it makes us feel better to speak out!

Cheers for now,

Rally this Thursday and Vote Yes to extinguish the HST on bikes in BC

Calling all cyclists in the Victoria region!

Join me this Thursday July 7 for a bike rally!

Our message is clear: Vote Yes to extinguish the HST on bikes in BC!

The rally starts at 11am sharp at Performance Cycles, 3949 Quadra St.

We’ll pick up riders along the way. Our tentative schedule includes stops at Ryder's Cycles, and Straight-Up Cycles.

The rally finishes at Capital City Cycles, 1419 Broad St, at 12pm with a few short speeches by leaders in the cycling and anti-HST community.

Click here for the route.

For thirty years, bikes (and bike expenses like repairs, helmets and locks) were PST exempt. Why? Because it makes no sense to tax such a healthy and environmentally-friendly form of transportation. The HST ended the exemption and in effect created a new 7% tax cycling.

Just over a year ago squeakywheels.ca brought together thousands of cyclists from across BC who opposed the HST and the new tax it put on cycling.

Over 500 hundred of us rallied on the front steps of the Legislature and I submitted a petition to the Speaker of the House with over 5000 signatories.

With the HST referendum ongoing, now is the time for cyclists to again come together and send a strong message: Vote Yes to extinguish the HST on bikes in BC!

Can the B.C. Liberal government explain how jacking up the price of a bike is going to help make B.C. more sustainable or encourage people to make healthy lifestyle choices?

And how does a new tax on cycling possibly advance B.C.’s Climate Action Plan? Getting people out of their cars and onto their bikes will reduce carbon emissions. It also means less traffic congestion, less wear and tear on our roads and lower health-care costs.

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

Join me for a ride on Thursday and let's help turn this thing around!


Lana Popham
MLA, Saanich South

Seeking critical mass for safer cycling

Vancouver— From Monday's Globe and Mail
Published Sunday, Sep. 05, 2010 8:00PM EDT

It’s a sunny summer morning and the Burrard Street Bridge is buzzing with rush-hour traffic. By day’s end, about 6,000 bicycle trips will have been made over the bridge, an increase of 24 per cent since the separated-bike-lane trial started on July 13, 2009.

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Roberston is hailing it as a success and last month city staff gave away T-shirts to celebrate one million riders crossing the bridge in less than one year.

For Gordon Lovegrove, a civil engineering professor at the University of British Columbia, a million is not enough.

He researches sustainable road safety, which combines safer road-network design and green transportation to reduce collisions. He says that while safe cycling infrastructure, like separated bike lanes on the Burrard Bridge and Dunsmuir Viaduct, is important, a critical mass of cyclists is key to seeing a significant and sustainable change in road safety for both motorists and cyclists.

Once there is a critical mass of bicycles, drivers become more aware of cyclists as road users and change their driving habits accordingly, explains Prof. Lovegrove.

Although almost 50 per cent of Vancouverites live within five kilometres of their work, only 4 per cent of commuting trips in Vancouver are made by bicycle. Prof. Lovegrove estimates that for critical mass, 25 per cent should be riding their bikes to work.

Jerry Dobrovolny, director of transportation for the City of Vancouver, agrees that an increase in the number of cyclists would affect driver behaviour, and adds that the demographic that has the most potential for growing the cycling population is women between the ages of 25 and 35. Historically, young men who are comfortable weaving in traffic have predominated among the city’s cyclists. Research shows that one of the barriers to increasing cycling as a mode of transportation is proximity to traffic, and with more dedicated bike lanes there has been a definite increase in cyclists – especially young women.

To further study how cycling affects road safety, Prof. Lovegrove and his team will use his expertise in collision prediction modelling, but the team will have to go overseas to find data since the cycling population in B.C. is too small. They’re looking to partner with institutions in the Netherlands and China, where cyclists make up 40 per cent of the traffic in some areas.

Cycling road safety is just one area of interest for Prof. Lovegrove, who recently completed a joint study with the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia. John Pump, ICBC’s road improvement strategy manager, observed on his commutes to the airport that left turns and parked cars at intersections on Granville Street without traffic lights were notable hazards. He asked Prof. Lovegrove to quantify that hunch.

The professor and his team confirmed that parking and left turns are related to as much as 30 per cent of intersection collisions, and they developed a suite of models to predict the rate of collision reduction on major arterials like Broadway and Granville Street if parking and turning restrictions were implemented.

Mr. Dobrovolny says this is valuable research and it’s one aspect the city considers when planning transportation projects. “The challenge of managing the road system is finding a balance between needs,” he explains. Congestion and budget are other considerations, with resources being dedicated to the highest collision areas.

Prof. Lovegrove has also created a blueprint for a new community design for roads that his models predict will have 60 per cent fewer collisions than conventional road patterns.

“Good community planning allows for access by people in and out of the community without allowing good access for short-cutters,” Prof. Lovegrove said.

Dedicated bike/pedestrian/bus routes, mixed retail/residential land use and traffic calming infrastructure are also important considerations when planning a community based on sustainable road-safety principles. Prof. Lovegrove is eager to put theory into practice and has been looking for a new community development that is willing to try a design based on the ideas of sustainable road safety.

In the meantime, he is looking forward to June, 2011, when his sustainable road safety research lab will open at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus. It will be the first of its kind in the world and he’s hoping not only to attract top-level international researchers, but to build a technology transfer centre where his research can be used by city planners and engineers to build safer and more sustainable communities.

Special to The Globe and Mail


Update from the House

Dear Cycling Community,

The fight to stop the HST in the Legislature is coming down to the wire. The government will likely push through the legislation it needs for the HST in a vote today. (That doesn’t mean the public campaign is over – Bill Vanderzalm’s petition against the HST is ongoing and you can find out more about that at Elections BC.)

On your behalf, I continue to argue in the Legislature that ending the PST exemption on bikes, bike supplies and repairs – which effectively creates a new 7% tax on cycling - is a mistake.

Below is a video clip of what I said yesterday afternoon in the House to the Colin
Hansen, Minister of Finance. (The transcript follows.)

There are many actions this government could take now to encourage cycling. Whatever happens with the HST, please know that I will continue to work as hard as I can to make BC bike-friendly again!

Lana Popham, MLA

Bill 9 Debate - Hansard Clip, April 28, 2010

Transcript from Hansard

L. Popham: My questioning is around the sales of bicycles and bike parts and repairs in British Columbia. It would seem that bike sales, repairs and parts would fit in within a climate change action plan and the green agenda that are spoken about in this House, as well as it going towards supporting a reduction in our health care budget. I know there was no consultation within this retail sector or consumer group, and there's been huge backlash by people who support cycling in British Columbia. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

I've created a website and a database that reaches the majority of bike shops in B.C. as well as thousands and thousands of cyclists. This group is a very potent constituency, in my view. I know that the minister's answer, when I ask a question, will be directed at me, but the answer will be clipped and sent out immediately to thousands and thousands of people in British Columbia who don't understand why an exemption for bicycles won't be brought in. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

My question is: why did bicycles not meet the prescribed circumstance to meet as a qualifying property? [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Hon. C. Hansen: As we discussed earlier with her colleague, the Finance critic — in fact, he raised it — under the provisions that were set out by the federal government, there's a maximum of 5 percent of the GST tax base that can be unique for provincial-only HST exemptions — so those items that are subject to GST but that can be exempted from the provincial portion of the HST. We have maxed out the number of the items that we can use within that 5 percent. For us to have considered any other product, we would have had to bump some things off that list. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

L. Popham: It would seem that given the talk about reducing our carbon emissions, bicycles should have fit into that 5 percent. Can the minister tell me why bicycles were not fit into the 5 percent that we were given? [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Hon. C. Hansen: With the six items that we chose for the exemption, it used up all of that 5 percent room. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

L. Popham: How was that decision made on those items? [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
Hon. C. Hansen: With regard to the first five items, they actually were the items that the province of Ontario chose. We looked at those, and we were encouraged, to whatever extent possible, to model our exemptions after the same so that there could be consistency and ease of administration. In addition to that, we still had additional room and we made the decision to exempt prescribed motor fuels. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

L. Popham: Can the minister tell me how much additional revenue the government will get by taxing bikes, bike parts and repairs? [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Hon. C. Hansen: That would be outside of the scope of this question, but I do not have that information with me. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

B.C. premier Gordon Campbell’s new bike clothes

Georgia Straight, March 18, 2010
By Lana Popham

We all know the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale about the self-absorbed emperor who foolishly believes he is wearing a suit made of cloth that is visible only to those who are intelligent and upstanding. He can’t see the cloth himself, but pretends otherwise so as to not lose face. As he parades naked through the town, a child calls out “But he isn’t wearing anything at all!” and the obvious truth is revealed.

I was reminded of this story recently while watching a video clip from 2008 on the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure Web site. Premier Gordon Campbell is dressed in his finest cycling outfit and proudly announcing $31 million for cycling infrastructure.

The video is still featured on the government’s site, and the press release of $31 million is still trumpeted as news. Their promise is exciting:

Cyclists throughout British Columbia will benefit from new, safe and high-quality cycling trails, bike lanes, bike lockers and more, thanks to Bike BC, a $31-million program for cycling infrastructure.

Bike BC is one of the largest investments the Province has ever made in building and improving cycling infrastructure in communities across the province. This will enhance cycling as an option for people to commute, run errands or spend their leisure time.

The program is a strategic investment to build important cycling corridors of regional and provincial significance and will be awarded province wide over the next three years. Some possible projects are new bike trails and cycling lanes, improvements to existing cycling infrastructure, and providing for bike lockers and other equipment that makes cycling a safer and more convenient option for travelers.

Cycling is a key component of the Province’s strategy for encouraging healthy living and addressing climate change, in conjunction with the Climate Action Plan and the Provincial Transit Plan.

This was an exciting moment for cyclists, cycling advocacy groups, people who support green transportation, and people who believe fighting climate change should be a priority. And it was a moment of relief: the government promised three years of support for initiatives that could address so many things for so many people.

But it was not to be.

No matter how long they continue to try and take credit for this progressive step, the fact is it is a step that was never taken.

The $31 million was cancelled just as surely as the cycling infrastructure was never completed. In fact, funding for cycling support was cut in the budget this month by more than 66 percent. Another broken promise.

And to add insult to injury, the HST will create a seven-percent increase in the cost of bikes, bike gear, and bike repairs. For 30 years there was a PST exemption for these expenses, with successive governments recognizing the health and environmental benefits of cycling. With the imposition of the HST, this government is creating a new disincentive to cycling.

So here is the problem for the government. And believe me it’s a big problem. They have disappointed and deceived a very potent constituency in British Columbia. This is a group who is not necessarily defined by their political stripes, by their age, by their income level, or by any other demographic. This is a group that spans the political spectrum and the province, and they are frustrated and bewildered by this flip flop. It’s three years until the next election—and these people are going to remember.

I think everybody understands our province is going through a period of economic turmoil. We get that. What we don’t understand is how a government can change its values. Values should not be affected by the economy.

In the case of this government, they have gone from touting cycling as key component of the province’s strategy for encouraging healthy living and addressing climate change, to creating a new tax and pretending it’s to fund healthcare.

So it is left for me to say it: the bike clothes are gone and this premier isn’t wearing anything at all.

Lana Popham is a avid cyclist and the MLA for Saanich South on Vancouver Island. Her Web site www.squeakywheels.ca is bringing together cyclists who want the B.C. government to be bike-friendly again.

Original article: http://www.straight.com/article-298838/vancouver/lana-popham-bc-premier-gordon-campbells-new-bike-clothes


Many people helped to make this event a success. First of all, I want to acknowledge Samuel Godfrey, my talented Constituency Assistant. And.... Michael Dayan of Helliwell Productions did a great job behind the camera. I also want to praise the inspired work of Mikael Colville-Andersen, of Copenhagen Consulting. He graciously allowed us to use his photograph in our poster. And thanks to Michele Murphy for designing such a striking poster! The Victoria artist Ami Muranetz created a beautiful and eye-catching banner – thank you! (Click here for Ami’s website) Also thank you Jacob and Amber for your help in postering Victoria. I’d also like to thank my new part-time Constituency Assistant Ben Johnson for all his great help and Mike Vasilev for his excellent volunteer networking efforts. Thanks to Julie Kaye and Bill Gaylord for doing such a good job with the sound system. Mark Hutchison, thank you for your work on the squeakywheels.ca website! And kudos to Pedal Pundit Jamie Ollivier for his poetry and videography. (Click here to see his website). Thanks to the brilliant coffee people at Caffe Fantastico.

Thanks to the cycling industry for showing support, especially bike stores (like Fairfield Bike Store, Russ Hayes, and Capital City Cycles), bike manufacturers like Kona, Rocky Mountain Bicycles, and the Victoria Pedi-Cab Company.

Thanks to all the folks in Nanaimo for showing great initiative and pulling off an excellent event in your home town!

Thanks to all the speakers and the MC Maestro David Cubberley.

And finally, to the 500 cyclists who came out for the rally and the 5000 people who signed the petition: THANK YOU!

Lana Popham MLA, Saanich South Critic for Agriculture and Lands

PS. Check out the latest video from the much-loved “Pedal Pundit” of Vancouver:

Thanks to everyone who helped make the bike rally on Wednesday such a sucesss. The weather was superb and the crowd was even better! Here are a few videos of the event, made by people in the crowd: pedal power!

/A\ News Report on the No HST on Bikes Rally

Thank You!

March 3, 2010.

The rally today was fantastic. We had an amazing turn-out with more than 600 cyclists! People came from as far away as Vancouver and Duncan. There was a really good energy in the crowd. I was also proud to submit the petition to the Legislature this afternoon - it had almost 5000 signatures on it! Thank you to everyone who made this possible. The rally and petition were just the beginning of my efforts to make the BC government bike-friendly again. I'll post more details as soon as I catch my breath! Lana.


March 1, 2010.


The bike rally is this Wednesday at noon at the Legislature. Here is one last update for you.

The petition has spiked again and is now at over 4600! Thanks to everyone for helping make this so successful.

If you are still collecting hard-copies, make sure to email (lana.popham.mla@leg.bc.ca) or fax (250.479.4176) them in by 12 pm on Tuesday March 2. That is the deadline for the petition. I will present it to the Legislature on Wednesday afternoon.

Almost 300 people have RSVP’d on Facebook so we are expecting a great turnout. Rain or shine! We’ve got a super line-up of speakers. This is an important moment to celebrate cycling and to let the government know what we think of their plan to hike taxes on bikes. Don’t miss it!

(If you are in Nanaimo, there is a connected event happening this Wednesday at 4pm at the corner of Comox and Terminal. Details on Facebook.)

Do you want to attend Question Period? I’ve reserved twelve seats for people who want to stick around for QP. It is definitely something worth experiencing and it should be quite charged as the Budget is being introduced tomorrow. Email me by Tuesday at 3 pm if you want a ticket. I’ll need your full name and you’ll need to bring ID and be ready to go by 1:30 pm on Wednesday. (QP starts around 2 pm.)

A few people have asked me why I am pushing on this issue so hard when there are many other equally good reasons to oppose the HST.

It is true that for me and many people, the first objection is one of principle: the B.C. Liberals promised during the recent election campaign that they would not introduce an HST. Once in power they quickly announced it as fait accompli. We must call them on this broken promise.

But this HST is also an assault on green initiatives. As an environmentalist, that is something that I have to speak out about. The bike issue is simply an excellent example of what is wrong with the HST. Also, I`m an avid cyclist myself so this issue is close to my heart. Further, this effort fits in very well with the larger anti-HST campaign. Finally, many people in Saanich South brought this issue to me and asked me to act on it.

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.

In fact, it was Hugh Curtis, a Socred Finance Minister who first made this decision. In a Budget Speech in 1981, he said that cycling would be PST exempt because “it is consistent with a healthier, quieter and more energy-efficient society.”

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.

I wonder if the B.C. government can explain how jacking up the price of a bike is going to help make B.C. more sustainable or encourage people to make healthy lifestyle choices. How does this possibly advance B.C.’s Climate Action Plan? 

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

I am of the view that we need to create incentives for green transportation and disincentives for more polluting forms of transportation. Standing up for cyclists as an Opposition MLA is one way that I can help keep the pressure on.

What is Next?
The drive to stop the HST is just ramping up. The fighthst.com campaign is at the forefront and I will be supporting their efforts.

In terms of cycling, my petition and the rally are just the beginning. In the process of organizing these efforts, I’ve created a new BC network with thousands of cyclists and hundreds of bike stores and cycling coalitions.

We are a potent province-wide constituency that includes people from all walks of life and a range of political views.

I won’t stop until we are successful in making the BC government bike-friendly again. 

Squeaky wheels get the grease!

Thanks so much for your support,


Lana Popham, MLA Saanich South


Feb. 10/2010

Hi Everybody,

Hope you are all well. A few quick updates:

The petition is still on a tear: over 3000 of you have now signed it!  Help me double or triple it in size before I present it to the Legislature in 20 days. Surely there are 10,000 cyclists in BC who know it’s nonsense to stick a new tax on cycling! Please ask your friends to check it out. The direct link to the petition is http://tinyurl.com/squeakywheels. Email me if you want a hard copy of the petition.

Over 150 people have RSVP’d for the 12pm Wed March 3rd bike rally at the Legislature. That is fantastic! We’re working on a few surprises for the event: don’t miss out! You can RSVP at the facebook rally event page.  Please send an invite out through your network.

Cyclists around the province who can’t make it to Victoria on March 3 have spontaneously begun to organize their own rallies in support!

In Nanaimo, cyclists are meeting at the corner of Comox Road and Terminal Ave, on March 3, at 4pm for a ride and support rally. Their facebook event page is here.

In Vancouver, a number of people are even planning to ride over on mass, catching the 9am ferry. Sidney folks are planning to meet them on route and ride down to Victoria together. Their facebook event page is here.

There is still lots of time for you to organize your own event!

Keep in touch!


Lana Popham, MLA, Saanich South

Bike Rally Poster

It's 11x17 and off to the printer. Thanks to Michele Murphy! Click here to download a high-resolution version.

Rally at the Legislature!

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010 at 12:00pm! Let's fill the Legislature grounds with cyclists and show this government there will be a political price to pay if they ram through this new tax on cycling.

The next session of the BC Legislature will begin the 1st week of March. I believe the government will likely try to rush the HST through this spring. They promised to implement by July.

As you know, if it passes as is, you will be paying 7% more tax on a bicycle purchased in BC.  This is more than you have paid in almost 30 years. You’ll also have to pay 7% more for stuff like helmets and locks, as well as paying 7% more for repairs.

The Liberal Government has got its head in the sand. Cycling is a healthy and sustainable transportation choice and should be encouraged, not punished with new taxes. Cycling is excellent physical activity: it helps you stay in good shape. That saves everyone healthcare dollars. And cycling is good for the environment.

Approximately 40% of emissions in BC come from transportation. Global warming is a crisis: creating disincentives for cycling is unacceptable!

It is critical the BC Government hears from all of you!

And 1000 bikes on the lawn of the legislature will get this government's attention!

My hope is that bike shops, cycling associations and cycling enthusiasts all over BC will help me organize a critical mass at the legislature on Wednesday March 3. Please contact me at lana.popham.mla@leg.bc.ca  or 250 479 4154 or visit the facebook event page.

March 3rd will also be the day that I will present the petition that you have hopefully already signed.  We’re already at more than 1700 signatures! But I would like to increase that tenfold before the rally. Click here to sign the petition (if you haven’t already done so). Please encourage others to do the same.



Lana Popham, MLA

Petition: Public Comment of the Day

Feb 18, 2010

I ride my bicycle everywhere. Whether it's commuting to and from work, going to the store, or running errands. I've never owned a car, and have no need for one as I live in the city. I borrow a car from a friend if i need to move something big, but I'd be happy if they ditched their cars too. Join a car co - op!

I think it's a horrible idea to increase tax on bicycles... Let's encourage people to take more ACTIVE modes of transport. Cycling is more affordable, has less impact (both on "the environment" and our communities), it requires less infrastructure, it is less dangerous to other people, it is often quicker (especially downtown, or on trips <5km), it improves your health, etc etc.

I think raising taxes on bicycles is a big slap in the face to anyone seeking a more responsible mode of getting around.

Geoffrey V., Vancouver

Comment of the Day

Feb 4, 2010

I am a registered nurse and I ride a bike.....I have several bikes...mountain and road....and I see the results daily of what inactivity does for people....and I also see the benefits of riding a bike.....the joy, the exercise, the effects on the environment....and I cannot believe that the government is adding tax to this most incredible way of exercising and travelling...instead of creating incentives for more of us to get on our two wheels the government is taxing and making it more un-affordable......in my opinion the government is a bunch of hypocrites...they say one thing and do another.

L.R. Saanich, BC

Comment of the Day

January 27, 2010

To Whom It May Concern,

I'm a new transplant to BC, have been here for a year and 3 months now.   For about 10 months now I've been commuting to work daily by bike, riding from my home in Vancouver East to the office in downtown Coal Harbour.   The daily ride has been one of the best things about living here.  I get to enjoy exercise and the scenery; others benefit from my little part to help reduce pollution and traffic injury/deaths.  Wouldn't it be great if more and more residents of BC come to realize that commuting by bike (yes even through the rain!) is fun and beneficial for everyone?  Wouldn't it behoove the government to encourage this behavior through tax incentive?  In my opinion, allowing the HST to apply to bicycles (and bicycle safety equipment) is exactly the opposite of what is needed in an age when reducing energy consumption, green house gas, and people's waistlines are primary concerns for every developed nation.

Y. Lin, Vancouver

Comment of the Day

Here is one of the public comments made today, January 25/2010, by a signatory of the petition.

I bike. But as a physician I also see the daily result of a population that does not move their bodies as part of their everyday lives. From knee replacements to back surgery, the provincial government pays.

Why on earth would a government that knows the escalating cost of healthcare discourage people from making fitness part of their everyday lives? Through a simple tax break, encourage everyone to get on their brand new funky bike to run one errand a day. There would be enormous payback in our healthcare. Please help decrease the weight and increase the fitness level of the people coming to my operating room.... better yet, prevent the need altogether! Bike. Cheaper. And don't get me started on the environmental impact too.....

Dr. Laura D., Vancouver B.C.


Thank you for visiting squeakywheels.ca! I created this website to bring together cyclists from across BC who wanted to voice their opposition to the government’s decision to impose a new tax on cycling.

For almost thirty years, bikes (and bike expenses like repairs, helmets and locks) have been PST exempt. Why? Because successfive 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.

I wonder if the B.C. government can explain how jacking up the price of a bike is going to help make B.C. more sustainable or encourage people to make healthy lifestyle choices. How does this possibly advance B.C.’s Climate Action Plan?

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

I am of the view that we need to create incentives for green transportation and disincentives for more polluting forms of transportation. Standing up for cyclists as an Opposition MLA is one way that I can help keep the pressure on.

While we were unsuccessful in stopping the government from imposing the HST (on bicycles) we were part of a larger movement that has successfully kept alive the opposition to the HST.

Cyclists continue to argue that tax increases on green transportation options - like cycling - are a mistake. We are calling for provincial policy changes which will create incentives for people to choose greener ways to travel.

I will continue to make these arguments in and outside of the BC Legislature and I welcome your input and support.

Lana Popham
MLA Saanich South