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  1. #1
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    Seattle Times Editorial in Support of Bike Licensing

    so is this guy anti-cyclist or what? and for those of you wondering why cyclists are portrayed so negatively in the press, it's because guys like this are in charge of the press room, and no amount of obeying the law or kissing their ass is going to make them change their minds.

    Seattle Times Sunday, December 7, 2008
    Impose license fee on King County cyclists
    By James F. Vesely
    Times editorial page editor
    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/cgi...&date=20081207

    Quote Originally Posted by James Vesely
    Local government finances are so dire, it is time to consider — and enact — an annual fee on bicyclists.

    A $25 annual fee for owning a bike is a natural outgrowth of the enormous amounts of trails, lanes and accommodations the region has made to cyclists. Those funds would be useful for local cities and King County. It would also make cyclists true members of the world of transportation, rather than free riders on the tax rolls.

    Special licenses are not new. We license dogs, our cars, our boats, our motorcycles, our pleasures in hunting and fishing, as well as many other outdoor activities. Cyclists, known for their community spirit and exalted senses of self, should welcome this opportunity to help government support their activities.

    A simple exploration of current and future bike trails shows a remarkable generosity on the part of Puget Sound taxpayers. Whenever new transportation projects are studied, bike lanes are as automatic as white striping.

    In 2012, for example, cyclists and pedestrians will have trails 14-feet wide in SoDo near the stadiums. Any Highway 520 floating bridge schematic includes a lane for cyclists. How about if they help pay their share? If Interstate 90 and Highway 520 bridges are tolled, it's only logical to expect cyclists to pay a modest toll, too, for access to a great path across the water and spectacular views.

    Seattle went through a lengthy process of enhancing the Burke-Gilman Trail through industrial Ballard. Among the pretzel routes, all were made to make cycling as easy as possible. Those costs, born by the industries of Ballard and the city, could be offset by a modest fee.

    Asked Friday if Seattle has any tax on cyclists, Mayor Greg Nickels admitted no, but said he thought there was a bicycle license fee in the 1940s, clearly a precedent.

    On the Eastside, cyclist organizations were heavily involved in the creation of the Lake Sammamish Trail, a wonderful route between Redmond and Issaquah. But an annual fee would reduce the encumbrance on the body politic and direct fees toward the user group. That's the way bureaucrats talk when they propose things like another nickel on the gas tax.

    Cyclists, the most green of our population, would embrace the annual fee schedule as a way of ensuring more proactive cycling activity before our various boards and commissions. I am sure the King County Council, beset by onerous tax shortfalls, would welcome this chance to bring cyclists to the fee-based premise of future county funding. Same thing for City Hall, where cyclists enjoy a strong representation, which has prompted the city to earmark millions of dollars for more bike lanes and paths. Twenty-five bucks a year for each cyclist is a bargain in exchange.

    In the same sense, Critical Mass, the earnest congregation of cyclists who sometimes take over our streets, would be beneficial to law and order. A Critical Mass accumulation of cyclists would allow Seattle police to quickly spot those who have a bike license and those who do not, with appropriate fees and penalties.

    King County already imposes a user fee on cyclists. It's illegal to ride a bike without a helmet — something dads and their children should remember as they take to the sidewalks on those first trips with Christmas bikes. Yet the contributions to the cycling community by the region greatly outweigh the return from those healthy bikers. Cycling organizations should be the first to recognize their members' use of urban and suburban pathways is also the pathway to street credentials with other members of the public.

    Those organizations are powerful. Bicyclers across the region are known as accommodating and uncomplaining — as long as they get their way. Now is the time for them to show it by contributing to the public trough.

    Will any of this happen? No, because from my perch, I don't know of a single, elected public official with the guts to propose a bike tax.
    James F. Vesely's column appears Sunday on editorial pages of The Times. His e-mail address is: jvesely@seattletimes.com; for a podcast Q&A with the author, go to Opinion at www.seattletimes.com/edcetera



    More discussion at BikePortland.org
    Last edited by randya; 12-11-08 at 01:56 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member BengeBoy's Avatar
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    There is an already lengthy thread on this topic in the Pacific Northwest Forum, and lots of comments already on the newspaper's website.

    This is just a guy popping off to try to start an argument. He uses some provocative phrasing to try to attract more attention.

    I'm guessing the only people who paid attention to this was bicyclists.

  3. #3
    genec genec's Avatar
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    I wonder if this guy also wants to start licensing pedestrians for all the sidewalks and crosswalks?

  4. #4
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Will any of this happen? No, because from my perch, I don't know of a single, elected public official with the guts to propose a bike tax.
    Sure, because if they do something reasonable such as tax by wear and tear or weight... motorists are going to pay far far more.

  5. #5
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    I am willing to pay a buck a pound for each of my bikes, as long as he has to pay a buck a pound for each of his vehicles.

  6. #6
    Non-Custom Member zeytoun's Avatar
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    As has been pointed out, the cost of running a bureaucratic licensing system would make this another impractical.

    We should start our own licensing system. Keep it bare bones so that no money is wasted. 100% voluntary, with an annual fee, for a license. No test. A fraction of the money goes to providing the license, the rest is donated to various municipal or state funds for maintaining roads and/or bike paths.

    And then anytime someone brings up this idiocy, we tell them "STFU" (Sending the Fees to the USA) ;-)
    I am a mutated sig Virus. Please put me in your sig so that I can continue to replicate and mutate, blah!.

  7. #7
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    I am willing to pay a buck a pound for each of my bikes, as long as he has to pay a buck a pound for each of his vehicles.
    I donno, that could be pretty expensive for all those motorists... how about 50 cents a pound?

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    Same tired old arguments and re-inventin of the [square] wheel. For refutation info please see

    http://www.toronto.ca/transportation.../index.htm#top

  9. #9
    Senior Member hurricane harry's Avatar
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    Imagine his dissapointment when it doesn't happen.

  10. #10
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hurricane harry View Post
    Imagine his dissapointment when it doesn't happen.
    I think he would be dissapointed if it did happen. Then he would not be able to recycle this old drivel in a "new" article, five years from now.

  11. #11
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    yes, vesley is anti-cyclist. he is inflamatory and his argument is ill-founded.

    licensing is a disincentive to cycling. king county has no interest in adding barriers to cycling.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  12. #12
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    I think he would be dissapointed if it did happen. Then he would not be able to recycle this old drivel in a "new" article, five years from now.
    Worse, what does he do when cyclists flash their license while they claim the lane...

  13. #13
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    Plain nutty.
    Washington state is the Florida of the West coast.

  14. #14
    Warning:Mild Peril Treespeed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mackerel View Post
    Plain nutty.
    Washington state is the Florida of the West coast.
    Not even close. People like this are the exception and cycling in the PNW is the antithesis of the deathtrap that is cycling in Florida. Check out the stats of bicycle deaths per capita, I am pretty sure that they are the worst in the nation.
    Non semper erit aestas.

  15. #15
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    In 2012, for example, cyclists and pedestrians will have trails
    There should be licences for pedestrians too (vile freeloaders).

  16. #16
    For The Fun of It
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    Let's do mandatory training while we're at it, and throw their butts in jail for non-compliance.


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    Bad idea, it would be very inefficient given the cost of administration.

    It would be far more practical to put a tax on bikes purchased locally, even then I might restrict it to big box stores like Target and Wal-mart since taxing bike shops would probably cause people to purchase at different bike shops not subject to the tax (or online).

    I would not be totally against a tax on bikes purchased if the money went specifically to making things more bike friendly. Especially if the tax were a multiplication, where for every $1 of tax paid $5 of revenue will be spent on bike lanes and so forth (since there are positive externalities to bike usage).

  18. #18
    Senior Member
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    Am I the first to post this? There's a response piece and it's very good.

  19. #19
    genec genec's Avatar
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    I actually can somewhat agree with this response...
    I get so sick of hearing these arguments. I would gladly pay a reasonable license fee for riding my bike on city streets, if no other reason than to make ignorant and dangerous drivers shut up. Let's stop the argument once and for all, and most of all, let's make sure that any license fees required of cyclists is required to be spent on cycling infrastructure and not to further support the burning of unsustainable fossil fuels.
    Of course I want the fee to be equitable to any similar fee levied on motorists... such as 50 cents a pound, or 50 cents a mile.

    EDIT: actually what I want is a huge sign hanging from my bike that says "road user fees paid." And in "fine print," NOW BACK OFF!
    Last edited by genec; 12-14-08 at 08:19 AM.

  20. #20
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    Vesely's second column appeared in Sundays paper.

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/htm...n14vesely.html

    Vesely wasting two columns in a row about cyclist licensing..... what a tool.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  21. #21
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Big Deal a one time $15 fee... OK I can deal with that...

    But now I have to wonder, is this what VC leadership brings? Hawaii has a program for education of elementary school students, and a $15 fee... and what has this done for their ridership? Or how motorists treat cyclists... and is this all Hawaii or just Honolulu?

  22. #22
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Genec, you know I have discussed both in the past.

    VCers got the BikeEd program started. The "City and County of Honolulu" (government for all of Oahu) already had the registration fee well before BikeEd and without any VC help. The registration fee was to help paint bike lanes and for bike paths (so which cyclist do you think helped the fee get put in?). At least VCers got much of this funding moved to support part of the BikeEd program (but most of BikeEd funding is still from private donations). The registration fee use to be $8 every 2 years. But most cyclist only got their bikes registered when they were forced to when buying the bike at a LBS. The LBS did not and still does not like being the initial collection agency. The City finally figured out no one sent in for the second registration sticker and that they could make more money by changing it to a one time $15 fee.

    The only reason cyclist here have not rebelled against the fee is because some of the money goes to BikeEd, (although the City wrongly implies that most of the money does). Several years ago a huge amount of the money got stolen out of the Bikeway special fund and put into the general fund. The money never got put back; big stink on that one.

    Hawaii State law allows collection of such registration fees if the County wishes and is willing to run the program. Honolulu is the only county which does so.

    I am not happy about Vesely using Honolulu for his propaganda.

  23. #23
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    Big Deal a one time $15 fee... OK I can deal with that...

    But now I have to wonder, is this what VC leadership brings? Hawaii has a program for education of elementary school students, and a $15 fee... and what has this done for their ridership? Or how motorists treat cyclists... and is this all Hawaii or just Honolulu?
    Go back and reread my several post (that you have already seen) on the benefits I have observed from BikeEd.

  24. #24
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    Go back and reread my several post (that you have already seen) on the benefits I have observed from BikeEd.
    Well just so the world that is following this thread knows... can you elaborate here?

    And BTW bear in mind that I have no problem with a one time fee, or even an annual fee, provided that the fee is prorated based on either weight, road wear or mileage, and is also applied to autos... and I have no problem with a public school based bike education program.

    But just for the record, I have to wonder, what has such a system brought, or bought? Can you give any examples?

  25. #25

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