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This councillor just got tax incentives approved for bikes

New motion is to encourage more people to ride

Photo by: Matt Elliott @GraphicMatt

A motion to amend Toronto’s latest bike plan to include tax incentives for both traditional and e-bike has passed. Layton is a cyclist himself and has been involved with much of the increase in bike infrastructure in Toronto. The amendment is to “add financial incentives for purchasing all bikes, e-bikes and other non-carbon vehicles that are approved for use on City of Toronto road ways and cycling infrastructure.”

The motion was part of a bigger bill that including making some of the so-called “temporary” bike lanes, created at the beginning of the pandemic, to be permanent. Layton added on the tax incentive given that so many people are either riding, or planning on riding more. The amount for the incentive has not been announced yet, but there are existing incentives in Europe. In Germany, for example, there is a $3600 incentive for the purchase of an e-cargo bike. In France, it’s $1700, and in Sweden and Norway, you’re looking at a break of $1500.

Bicycles are a much more environmentally friendly resource than cars, so it makes sense that a payment or tax might make sense as both a reward for those who choose to ride, instead of drive. Additionally, with traffic levels returning to pre-pandemic levels, there is an urgent need to reduce car traffic in urban centres. It has been proven that bikes take up far less room than cars in cities, and more people using their bike as opposed to a car would alleviate much of the gridlock.

The average cost to own a car is estimated to be up to $13,000 per year. For example, according to the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA), a 2017 Honda Civic can cost more than $8,000 to operate annually when driven all year in Ontario.

In July of 2020, the BC provincial government announced new and improved incentives intended to encourage British Columbians to buy electric-assist bikes. BC consumers will be eligible for a rebate of $1,050 toward the purchase of a new e-bike, an increase of $200; however the rebate is only available with the trade-in of a motor vehicle.

It is expected that given the bike boom, tax incentives for bike purchases will catch on in many other Canadian cities.