Letter to the Editor
I read a couple of letters recently from bicyclists complaining about their rights. They argue their rights of the road, which I guess includes special rights – like on a four-lane road with cars waiting for the light, they have the right to ride to the front in between the cars instead of waiting where they fall in line behind a car.
Another complaint I see they have is that they cannot afford the taxes, fees and insurance that motorized vehicles have to pay. Yet they want a free ride on the backs of people paying these fees. They demand a bike lane that uses road fees to build. They can’t ride on the shoulder because it’s dirty.
Well a good solution is to have them pay fees to build their bike lanes and sweep the shoulders. I guess they think these entitlements are free.
I drive a car. I don’t think the fees I pay for this right should be given away for the sake of the few bicyclists on the road. Bicyclists, nothing is free. You want these benefits for the few of you; well pay the fees to have this done or just quit whining.
I have a couple issues with this letter: 1.) Bicyclists do NOT have the right to ride between vehicles to the front of the queue (did I spell that right?) when waiting at a traffic light, as Mr. Haste claims. 2.) The majority of bicyclists out there also own vehicles, and therefore are already helping to pay for area roads through their car tabs, etc.
Here's one way to look at it:
Evergreen overpass was $16.2M
Liberty Lake Bike/Ped overpass $1.21M
If car reg. is $75/year that would make bike reg. $5.60/year
Could you play this game with a road including and excluding bike lanes? That might give a better reflection of the reality of the situation.
The paperwork to deal with collecting, accounting and enforcing that bike fee must be greater than the $5.60 collected. A bike registration fee would be a waste of tax payer money most likely.
And how would you tax a bicycle? You already pay sales tax when you buy it, and fuel is sales tax free in Washington, so I don't think it will be easy to tax bicycles.
As for the shoulders being dirty, it seems like as soon as the street sweepers leave the neighborhood the vandals are breaking glass along all the streets and all that broken glass migrates to the side of the roads where the bicycles are supposed to be riding.
Thanks @Erik and @Charles. You did my job for me by pointing out those issues. The bike registration suggestions comes up from time to time around here and it can be a polarizing issue, depending on who's in the room at the time.
Most importantly: THERE ARE NO "ROAD FEES." As a bicyclist, MY property taxes and MY sales taxes are subsidizing roads for cars. The "10-year" (actually perpetual) street bond on top of property taxes applies to people regardless of their mode of transportation. When somebody chooses to bike or walk instead of drive, government agencies save money on street repair without a corresponding reduction in revenue. So, drivers, GET OFF THE ROAD!