The District of Saanich has launched a new electric bicycle incentive program to encourage its residents to choose low-carbon, active transportation options.
The initiative launched Tuesday includes rebates ranging from $350 to $1,600 for eligible e-bike purchases based on household income.
“By making them more affordable, we hope more families will be able to utilize e-bikes as a climate-friendly transportation option that shrinks transportation costs, enhances their fitness and helps the environment,” said Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes in a Tuesday press statement.
Eligible e-bikes must be brand new and meet the definition of a motor-assisted cycle in the B.C. Motor Vehicle Act. Purchasers must be Saanich, B.C. residents who intend to use the bike for personal use, and only one incentive is permitted per household.
Residents can fill out a rebate application form and provide their receipt after buying an e-bike, or apply for a pre-approval, and have the deduction applied at the cash register at participating vendors.
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“There is lots of excitement right now around the growing interest in and potential for e-bikes to help contribute to some of our long-term goals around livability, affordability, and sustainability,” said Alex Bigazzi, lead researcher at the University of British Columbia’s REACT Lab.
“We are very excited to be able to partner with Saanich on this initiative, and conduct a rigorous scientific study of program impacts.”
The district estimates the pilot program will save between 1,000 and 2,000 tonnes of climate-polluting greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
The REACT Lab at UBC will track its impact on travel behaviour and the environment, while the Greater Victoria Community Social Planning Council evaluates its equity component.
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According to its press statement, at 6.1 kilometres, the average e-bike trip is nearly double that of a regular cycling trip and 0.8 kilometres longer than the average car trip.
An average motor vehicle costs more than $7,000 a year, it adds, while a typical e-bike costs less than $1,000.
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