Bicyclists should be paid for riding on our roads

I’ve seen a fair amount in the papers recently about motorists who are upset that bicyclists don’t pay for their use of the city streets.  All I can say is those motorists are dead wrong.  Cyclists pay far more for their use of city streets than motorists and they deserve a rebate.

cyclistFirst, property taxes pay for local roads – not gas taxes.  (OK – about 80% of the cost of local roads are paid for by property taxes and the rest comes from gas taxes and auto registration fees.  Check it out here.)  Cyclists pay as much in property taxes as auto drivers, so get over it.  Bicyclists are paying their fair share.

Actually, cyclists are unfairly paying too much for roads.  Consider the impact a car has on the road compared to a bicycle.  A bicycle and rider that weigh a combined 200 lbs. have virtually no impact on a road compared to a car that weighs about 4000 lbs.  The car will do more than 38,000 times as much damage to the road as the bicyclist. So if property taxes pay for roads and cyclists pay property taxes but cause less damage to roads, they deserve a rebate.

Granted, many cyclists don’t obey all of the rules of the road.  But show me a motorist who doesn’t drive over the speed limit.  How about all of those drivers who don’t give the right of way to pedestrians in crosswalks? Don’t get me going about road rage. In any case, cyclists make the roads safer for everyone.  Communities that have lots bicyclists have lower overall crash rates.

So, bicyclists do pay a huge tax for using the local roads through the property tax, they cause far less damage to the road than cars and they make the toads safer for everyone.  Seems like a pretty solid case for bicyclists getting a rebate.

-Steve Hiniker, Executive Director, 1000 Friends