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  1. #1
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    columnist calls for fees

    The Province had a columnist write on a cycling issue today:

    http://www.theprovince.com/Sports/Cy...878/story.html

    Cyclists should have safe routes but no free ride

    Motorists pay taxes for road work and riders should, too Jon Ferry

    It was the evening of Boxing Day, one of the worst times to be out and about. But I wasn't about to let a little snow stop me from testing the controversial suggestion that one way to help solve Metro Vancouver's transportation woes might be to make our roads more bicycle-friendly -- by taxing cyclists.

    Except it wasn't really snow; it was freezing, sloppy soup. And we weren't in a heated motor vehicle. We were braving the elements outside the Vancouver Art Gallery, myself and four hearty cyclists out for a Critical Mass ride . . . one of those monthly protests that obstruct downtown streets and anger motorists, at least when hundreds of cyclists show up for them.

    We chatted by the big Christmas tree and toasted absent riders. Then, at 6:15 p.m., the four were gone, pedalling hard up Howe Street. And I was left to ponder the mindset of the average Vancouver cyclist, not just those for whom it's an all-season, all-weather event.

    Well, clearly many feel vulnerable on the roads. As New Westminster childcare worker Dennis Bibby, one of the Critical Mass riders, told me: "Right now, the bicyclists are just sort of sitting ducks."

    Certainly, many motorists need to adjust their thinking toward cyclists.

    Some bike riders, however, display a snotty, us-versus-them attitude toward car drivers -- which is likely to become even more divisive early next year as Vancouver city staff re-examine giving one or more lanes of the Burrard Street Bridge to cyclists.

    It's a proposal that didn't find traction in the past. But in these eco-obsessed times, bicycling has become politically correct, and politicians have started pumping money into bicycling infrastructure.

    Bicycling advocates, though, want more. And, strange as it may sound, I agree with them: The best way to discourage conflicts between cyclists and motorists is to provide bike routes that are safe, easy to use and don't block other traffic.

    No, my beef with local cycling activists is not with their cause. It's that they tend to be all take and no give, and don't seem willing to pay for the privilege of riding on public roads, as motorists must do through a whole series of fees and levies.

    My view is that it's time Victoria made cyclists fork over their fair share of road-related taxes -- starting with an annual licence fee of, say, $50 a year.

    Bibby thinks it's too early to consider such a bike tax. It's under active discussion, though, in Portland and Seattle. And Seattle Times columnist James Vesely notes that we already license everything from dogs to boats: "Cyclists, known for their community spirit and exalted senses of self, should welcome this opportunity to help government support their activities."

    Exalted senses of self? Yes, some Vancouver bicyclists do seem a bit high on themselves these days.

    So taxing them might help bring them back down to Earth. Or at least it might earn them a measure of respect from a critical mass of tax-weary motorists.



    I wrote a letter to the paper: (provletters@png.canwest.com)

    Public roads are built on public land, for the public's use, and paid for with public funding.

    Everybody pays for the roads whether used or not.

    Not only do cyclists pay for the roads, they subsidize the health care sytem because cycling inherently improves health. Something motoring does not.




    I commented on the website that maybe we should charge pedestrians to use the sidewalks too. They're pretty expensive!

    I sent off another email to Jon (the writer)

    here's his address if you want to too

    jferry@theprovince.com

    and from

    http://74.125.95.132/search?q=cache:...lnk&cd=1&gl=ca


    A.Two neighbors each pay $300 annually in local taxes that fund roads and traffic services. Mike Motorist drives 10,000 miles annually on local roads, while Frances Footpower bicycles 3,000 miles.

    B. Household’s general taxes used for road related services. $300 each

    C. Motorist user fees spent on local road (0.2 per mile) for Mike, $24 for Francis, $0

    D. Total road system contribution (B + C) for Mike $324 for Francis, $300

    E. Tax payment per mile of travel (B/A) for Mike, 3.2 cents for Francis, 10 cents

    F. Roadway costs (cars = 5.6/ml, bicycles = 0.2/ml) for Mike, $560, for Francis, $48

    Non-drivers pay almost the same as motorists for local roads but impose lower costs. As a result,
    they tend to overpay their share of roadway cost
    Last edited by closetbiker; 12-29-08 at 05:53 PM.
    "My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything" -Peter Golkin
    [SIGPIC]http://www.wulffmorgenthaler.com/striphandler.ashx?stripid=57f6ca71-73a8-42a3-acc4-29e6d333df27[/SIGPIC]

  2. #2
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    Link to the original article doesn't work...

  3. #3
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    put in the wrong url, should be right now
    "My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything" -Peter Golkin
    [SIGPIC]http://www.wulffmorgenthaler.com/striphandler.ashx?stripid=57f6ca71-73a8-42a3-acc4-29e6d333df27[/SIGPIC]

  4. #4
    Senior Member City_Smasher's Avatar
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    Motor vehicles tear up the roads, bicycles don't. Motor vehicles pollute, bicycles don't. Motor vehicles require huge structures and parking lots.

    Local, state, and federal governments have been funding huge road projects for years, based on whatever money is available to them. You don't pay taxes on a car to drive it or taxes on a bike to ride it, you pay taxes on those things for owning a piece of property. You pay tax on gas just like you pay tax on anything else you buy, and the tax on gas is higher for the same reason cigarette and alcohol taxes are higher. They're a greater expense to communities.
    "You can't change the past, but you can ruin the present by worrying about the future"

  5. #5
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    2 letters appeared in response to yesterdays article today.

    Both seem to support Mr. Ferrys opinion

    Licensed to ride
    In response to Jon Ferry’s call for bicycles to be licensed, we used to license all bicycles every year in Lachine, Que. The plastic plates and metal ties were bought at the police station. You would get a ticket for riding double, not having lights at night, cutting across traffic or not obeying traffic signs.
    L. Cummings Surrey


    Payback time
    I am a 46-year-old single male who cycles. I pay federal and provincial income taxes, a very small portion of which goes to pay for road maintenance. A larger portion goes to pay to put your children through school.
    So yeah, bring in a cyclist fee and make us pay, but while you’re at it, pay back to single adults the money we pay to put your kids through school. I estimate that’s about $30,000 for me.
    Why don’t you take up the slack and pay for what you use?

    The comments on-line seem to run counter to what the paper has printed.

    I'm disappointed no one seems to have addressed the fact that motorists do not pay a share that covers their costs of using the roads. While everyone is entitled to an opinion, the fact remains it costs more money to build an maintain roads than a motorist pays.
    Last edited by closetbiker; 12-30-08 at 05:32 AM.
    "My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything" -Peter Golkin
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  6. #6
    -=Barry=- The Human Car's Avatar
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    Simplistically motor vehicle taxes pay for roads where bicyclists are prohibited such as expressways and everyone one pays for roads everyone is allowed to use.
    Cycling Advocate
    http://BaltimoreSpokes.org
    . . . o
    . . /L
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  7. #7
    Calamari to go cc_rider's Avatar
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    Pay by the pound?
    Driver with a 2000 lb car pays $300 a year.
    30 lbs of bike pays about $5.
    That's doable.

    But....bikes get full rights. That means they get to take the lane even if it is just a two lane road, or there must be dedicated bike lanes that are properly designed and maintained. Mandatory bike racks where ever there is car parking. All roads made accessible to bikes, or prorate the fee.
    And no grief from motorists.

  8. #8
    Senior Member hurricane harry's Avatar
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    My wife and like to visit downtown Vancouver at least once a year, and I like to bring my bike, ao I can ride through town. I wonder how they would make this work for visiting tourists?

  9. #9
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hurricane harry View Post
    My wife and like to visit downtown Vancouver at least once a year, and I like to bring my bike, ao I can ride through town. I wonder how they would make this work for visiting tourists?
    We have lots of great riding all through the town.

    Through Stanley Park, by the ocean at Kitsalano, Around UBC or up to SFU.

    We have mountains to climb and flatlands all close.

    I'm not sure what group would be the best to contact for details, but you could start asking with vacc.bc.ca
    "My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything" -Peter Golkin
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  10. #10
    jim anchower jamesdenver's Avatar
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    I've written in response to other comments/articles calling for fees: Go ahead and send me a bill. I'd like to see what my "road use" fee would proportionately be for my 15 pound bike compared to a car.

    I think of this when bouncing/crossing a rut ridden road that looks like waves of an ocean after trucks have hammered it down...

  11. #11
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    For everyone's use: http://www.toronto.ca/budget2005/pdf...censingcyc.PDF

    Thoroughly examines and debunks the pro-tax argument

  12. #12
    aspiring island dweller spinninwheels's Avatar
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    ^^^ good read. thanks
    Life is either a wild adventure or nothing - Helen Keller

  13. #13
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    If the guy cannot even come up with original ideas for articles, he is not much of a threat.

    He even notes the Seattle article that he copied.

  14. #14
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by atbman View Post
    For everyone's use: http://www.toronto.ca/budget2005/pdf...censingcyc.PDF

    Thoroughly examines and debunks the pro-tax argument
    I sent that link to Ferry as well as that VTPI link in my email to him.

    Wonder what he's thinking.

    Did he know this before or does he care about what the reports say?
    "My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything" -Peter Golkin
    [SIGPIC]http://www.wulffmorgenthaler.com/striphandler.ashx?stripid=57f6ca71-73a8-42a3-acc4-29e6d333df27[/SIGPIC]

  15. #15
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    They printed a couple more letters today. Both sides of the argument were represented (and they printed mine):

    _______________
    Jon Ferry's notion that cyclists are free riders on the transportation system is at odds with reality. It is the vehicle owners who are subsidized by the rest of society.

    Urban roads are funded primarily by municipal property taxes. Everyone pays property taxes, either directly through home or business ownership, or indirectly through rent. When other social, health and environmental costs are included, the public subsidy to motor vehicles is massive.

    The attitude of "exalted senses of self" persists, but not from from cyclists and pedestrians. Rather, it comes from those who cling to the outmoded notion that our greatly subsidized road transportation systems exist only for the benefit of motor vehicles.
    ______________

    I feel strongly cyclists should pay.

    In the 1950s we had to register our bikes and pay $5 before we could ride on the road, so why not now? If they use the same streets with their own exclusive lanes then they should pay.
    _______________

    Public roads are built on public land, for the public's use, and paid for with public funding.

    Everybody pays for the roads, whether used or not.

    Not only do cyclists pay for the roads, they subsidize the health system because they're inherently healthier than motorists.
    ______________________

    If user fees or licensing fees are to be introduced for cyclists why not extend this to vehicle travel? Pay-as-you-drive vehicle insurance is now available in a number of jurisdictions, but not in B.C.

    This could be extended to vehicle road users through global positioning systems. Drivers could be billed monthly for actual road use. What a great way to lower property taxes!
    Last edited by closetbiker; 12-31-08 at 02:47 AM.
    "My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything" -Peter Golkin
    [SIGPIC]http://www.wulffmorgenthaler.com/striphandler.ashx?stripid=57f6ca71-73a8-42a3-acc4-29e6d333df27[/SIGPIC]

  16. #16
    -=Barry=- The Human Car's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by closetbiker View Post
    (and they printed mine)
    Cycling Advocate
    http://BaltimoreSpokes.org
    . . . o
    . . /L
    =()>()

  17. #17
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    In Toronto all roads open to cyclists (and some that aren't) are paid for ENTIRELY by property taxes.

    Gas taxes and property taxes pay for freeways on which bicycles are prohibited.

    We still get letters to the editor about "it's time cyclists paid there fair share".

  18. #18
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Human Car View Post
    I once had someone say it must be a nice ego boost to get some recognition but for me it's more about the idea getting recognition. I wouldn't speak up if the idea had been addressed

    It would be one thing to say cyclists should be addtionally taxed for improvements, but the columnist said that cyclists are getting a free ride and they should be taxed. The columnist has his facts wrong and most likely doesn't understand motorists are subsidized by people like those cyclists he suggests should be taxed.

    I only hope the public has learned the facts of the issue.
    "My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything" -Peter Golkin
    [SIGPIC]http://www.wulffmorgenthaler.com/striphandler.ashx?stripid=57f6ca71-73a8-42a3-acc4-29e6d333df27[/SIGPIC]

  19. #19
    -=Barry=- The Human Car's Avatar
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    +1 On getting the idea recognized, that is indeed a major hurdle, and kudos for being the messenger.
    Cycling Advocate
    http://BaltimoreSpokes.org
    . . . o
    . . /L
    =()>()

  20. #20
    aspiring island dweller spinninwheels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by closetbiker View Post
    I once had someone say it must be a nice ego boost to get some recognition but for me it's more about the idea getting recognition. I wouldn't speak up if the idea had been addressed

    It would be one thing to say cyclists should be addtionally taxed for improvements, but the columnist said that cyclists are getting a free ride and they should be taxed. The columnist has his facts wrong and most likely doesn't understand motorists are subsidized by people like those cyclists he suggests should be taxed.

    I only hope the public has learned the facts of the issue.
    Great job on setting the record straight.

    I can't help but wonder though if his article is a symptom of a wider, deep-rooted frustration felt by a lot of people (drivers) in society.

    If the automobile represents freedom in the North American mindset, just imagine having that whittled away by rising fuel prices, shaky economic forecasts and environment-friendly shifts in perspectives. I think the bulk of the car culture may feel threatened. And we are an easy target, even though the facts refute the allegation that we're getting a free ride.

    If North Americans want to reinvent their love of freedom and the open road, they should head down to their LBS.
    Life is either a wild adventure or nothing - Helen Keller

  21. #21
    -=Barry=- The Human Car's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spinninwheels View Post
    Great job on setting the record straight.

    I can't help but wonder though if his article is a symptom of a wider, deep-rooted frustration felt by a lot of people (drivers) in society.

    If the automobile represents freedom in the North American mindset, just imagine having that whittled away by rising fuel prices, shaky economic forecasts and environment-friendly shifts in perspectives. I think the bulk of the car culture may feel threatened. And we are an easy target, even though the facts refute the allegation that we're getting a free ride.

    If North Americans want to reinvent their love of freedom and the open road, they should head down to their LBS.
    +1 They're building a 18 mile $3 billion highway here and you should have heard all the complaints about making it a toll road "How are all the poor going to be able to afford driving to work?" Try and raise the gas tax to pay for more road expansion and congestion relief and again complaints on how are average people going to afford it? They don't like congestion and they don't want to pay to get it fixed. Me and my bike on the other hand love congestion, wave by by to the cyclists passing all those cars stuck in traffic.
    Cycling Advocate
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    . . . o
    . . /L
    =()>()

  22. #22
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Human Car View Post
    +1 On getting the idea recognized, that is indeed a major hurdle, and kudos for being the messenger.

    Maybe I do have an alterior movitve that's subliminal.

    Maybe I'm trolling for a columnist position at a paper that has larger circulation?

    "My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything" -Peter Golkin
    [SIGPIC]http://www.wulffmorgenthaler.com/striphandler.ashx?stripid=57f6ca71-73a8-42a3-acc4-29e6d333df27[/SIGPIC]

  23. #23
    aspiring island dweller spinninwheels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by closetbiker View Post
    Maybe I do have an alterior movitve that's subliminal.

    Maybe I'm trolling for a columnist position at a paper that has larger circulation?

    I've read your other guest articles. They were very good.

    Having a balance in media, though difficult at times, can only be a good thing. If it also educates and removes ignorance and prejudices, then media is truly taking its responsibility seriously. And that is a noble goal that I think has been lost and/or corrupted over the years.
    Life is either a wild adventure or nothing - Helen Keller

  24. #24
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    "The Province" used to have a regular commuter section called, "Getting There".

    It had a regular columnist who was a cyclist.

    The section disappeared after a few years. Newspapers always evolve. Or, de-volve.
    "My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything" -Peter Golkin
    [SIGPIC]http://www.wulffmorgenthaler.com/striphandler.ashx?stripid=57f6ca71-73a8-42a3-acc4-29e6d333df27[/SIGPIC]

  25. #25
    Senior Member City_Smasher's Avatar
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    How about motorists paying a 'pollution tax', and a 'road maintenance tax'. Also, cyclists could receive a 'tax credit', for reducing oil dependancy!
    "You can't change the past, but you can ruin the present by worrying about the future"

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