Re: NYTimes.com: Freakonomics: Are Bicyclists Free Riders?
- On Apr 2, 2009, at 10:43 PM, danarossphoto@... wrote:
> Freakonomics: Are Bicyclists Free Riders?To which I submitted the following comment:
> By Freakonomics
> | Do bicyclists contribute their fair share to the transportation
> network? An Oregon lawmaker thinks not, and has proposed a law
> requiring cyclists to pay a $54 registration fee every two years. A
> Portland bike blog interviewed the lawmaker in question, who
> explained the proposal this way: "[B]ikes have used the roads in
> this state [...]
In the first place, bicyclists do pay--and overpay--for their use of
roads. Especially if they don't also drive.
Car fees and taxes cover between 16% and 40% of the direct cost of
maintaining a huge road and parking network for drivers--studies from
Wisconsin (Mark E. Hansen) to Texas (Texas DOT ( http://www.txdot.gov/
KeepTexasMovingNewsletter/11202006.html#Cost ) show this.
Bicyclists don't need extra lanes just for parking, and huge freeways
and interchanges either. Car taxes DON'T pay for all of that;
driving is subsidized through general fees and taxes, paid by
bicyclists as well as others, many of whom are non-drivers (the very
old, the very young, the very conscientious).
And, as pointed out in an earlier comment, bicyclists don't tear up
the tiny portion of those bloated roads they do use, and so don't
require the state to engage in constant expensive repairs.
This leaves out the high social and financial cost of pollution,
global warming, and public health mitigations, also paid out of
general taxes, to cover the ill effects of cars-I am speaking only of
So if you look at the full accounting, drivers OWE money to cyclists--
especially cyclists who don't also drive.
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