The City of Vancouver is defending the $6,000 it spent on two European bicycle pumps as a safety measure that represents a drop in the bucket compared to costly car infrastructure.

The air pumps were recently installed in front of Science World and along a bike route in the Strathcona neighbourhood, two of the busiest biking hotspots in the city.

Councillor Geoff Meggs said the expense, which included installation costs, was justified because fully-inflated tires are an important part of safe cycling.

“It’s a very, very small expenditure to place when we were eliminating a safety problem,” Meggs said. “To put it in context, we’re going to spend about $125 million over three years on car infrastructure, so there’ll be lots there for motorists.”

Jordan Bateman of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation argued the pumps are unnecessary because serious cyclists own personal bike pumps, or can easily purchase one.

“What ever happened to personal responsibility in this city? If I own a bicycle and I live in Vancouver, why shouldn’t it be my imperative to go out and buy the $20 bike pump?” he said.

The CTF has been critical of Vancouver’s bike expenditures in the past, including the proposed $1.9 million bike share system and the millions spent on bike lanes.

Meggs said promoting cycling saves the city money in the long run by decreasing the need for car infrastructure, noting that traffic heading into the downtown care is already on the decline.

“It’s just good practice to have a decent, well-organized bike route with lots of amenities along it,” Meggs said. “Some bike routes have water fountains on them. I don’t know if people think that’s a frill.”

With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Shannon Paterson

Have your say: Were the $6,000 bike pumps worth the expense?