Viewpoint : December 2015

COP 21 and Greenhouse Gas Reduction:
Québec Must Recognize the Importance of Biking

In the wake of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21), which raises hope that countries will take effective measures to preserve the health of the planet, we challenge the Québec government to diversify its investments in order to reduce greenhouse gases.
Electrification is definitely an attractive option for taxis, public transit and provincial and municipal service vehicles, but would it not also make sense to promote simple, economical and non-tech solutions like biking? Since an $8,000 tax credit is granted to those who purchase an electric car, why not provide a provincial tax exemption on the first $500 spent on the purchase of a bike?
Fresh from its mission in Paris, let’s hope that the Québec government's sees the writing on the wall: the bicycle is an incredible means of transportation that emits no greenhouse gases and leaves hardly any environmental footprint. Is it utopian to think that the Ministry of Sustainable Development the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change might use the Green Fund to finance the development of new bike paths essential to increasing the modal share of biking? To this end, why not follow the inspiring example of Paris and Montréal? The French capital is committed to investing $94 million to double its cycling network by 2020, while Montréal will allocate nearly $20 million per year between now and 2018 to accelerate the development of its already strained network.
We know that cycling facilities are widely used when they are functional, safe, well- designed and strategically located. The more cycling facilities there are, the more cyclists there will be. But that’s not all! Recent studies show that governments benefit financially from bike commuting, while they must pay for car commuting. Every km travelled by bike actually earns the government $0.22, while every km travelled by car costs it $0.20[1].
Recent discussions on the future of the planet impel us to call upon the government of Québec to engage actively and rapidly in the development of cycling in Québec.
Suzanne Lareau
President and CEO