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Old 04-22-09, 02:24 PM   #1
Randochap
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The often-used "cyclist's don't pay their way" canard

I had a chance to rebut this smelly old pile of codswallop today with a letter in the local rag.

I've also posted it on my website. I'd like to include resources in the sidebar for other commuters to arm themselves with more stats and arguments. I have a few in mind. Anyone know of any other good resources on this issue?
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Old 04-22-09, 02:53 PM   #2
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Most cyclists also drive registered cars, so this argument is essentially null.
I can't believe the argument ever gets off the ground.
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Old 04-22-09, 03:06 PM   #3
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Also, in the case of commuters riding to urban centers, they are much more likely to own a home in the city/county and therefore pay property taxes to support the roads there.

ps: Where do I file the claim for my refund?
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Old 04-22-09, 03:56 PM   #4
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ps: Where do I file the claim for my refund?
Good question. An endowment should be created that cyclists can draw from to pay for cycling expenses such as bikes, tools, clothing and home renovations to house expanding bicycle collections.

While governments are bailing out bankers and propping up unprofitable auto manufacturers, surely they can afford to return a $billion or so of our tax dollars toward this worthy purpose?
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Old 04-22-09, 05:39 PM   #5
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You don't even need to go for negative externalities. Bicycles simply do not damage roads. Look at most sidewalks. So long as tree roots don't heave them the local pedestrial and kids on bikes leave them pristine for decades.

Cars damage roads, and trucks smash them. Here in Michigan where we have bad freeze thaw cycles a newly paved road begins to deteriorate to the point where it needs constant patching within five years of being laid. In 20 years it must be resurfaced.

Take all the cars and trucks off those roads and they would be pristine in 100 years.
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Old 04-22-09, 05:51 PM   #6
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And pedestrians don't pay their way for the sidewalks. Can we tax pedestrians?
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Old 04-22-09, 06:00 PM   #7
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I agree with DoB. From everything I have read trucks are the largest offenders at damaging roads. Certainly true of the interstate highways. The Interstate system was designed for trucks weighing about 65.000 pounds, the top limit at the time the design criteria were set. Then Congress, influenced by the trucking lobby, increased loaded weight limits to 80,000 pounds.

90% of interstate wear is due to truck traffic. From an energy standpoint trucks are less than 25% as efficient as railroads per ton-mile too. Road taxes on trucks do not come close to covering the costs of the damage they do.
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Old 04-22-09, 06:22 PM   #8
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I'm pretty sure that trucks cause more than 90% of the wear on Interstates. In town, the wear on the roads is distributed between maintenance, trucks and buses. If you find a well constructed road where trucks are not allowed, it will last decades.
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Old 04-22-09, 07:10 PM   #9
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In that case, you're going to pay for it one way or the other. Either you subsidize the trucking industry, or you pay more for the goods they're shipping.

I would prefer the latter because it would discourage some of the trucking practices that take place.
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Old 04-22-09, 09:13 PM   #10
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Surely, someday soon sanity will return, along with trains.
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Old 04-22-09, 10:47 PM   #11
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Surely, someday soon sanity will return, along with trains.
I'm hoping for trollies, myself
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Old 04-23-09, 02:55 AM   #12
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I use to let these type of articles bother me, however I've read so many that I just block them out.
As a cyclist who pays nothing to wards vehicle payments (never got my drivers license), I pay dearly in property taxes. And a good chunk of property taxes goes to fund the roads. And I'm pretty P.O.ed that with how much I have to dish out we get very little bicycle facilities.

Sounds like another bitter car driver to me.

I am however a bit surprised that this came from Victoria (Saanich) the supposed Bicycle Capital of Canada.
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Old 04-23-09, 06:12 AM   #13
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So lets just pay based on vehicle weight - I would pay $50/year in a 'bike tax' to get people to shut up about this...
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Old 04-23-09, 06:26 AM   #14
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So lets just pay based on vehicle weight - I would pay $50/year in a 'bike tax' to get people to shut up about this...
I'd be happy to pay based on vehicle weight. In fact, we pretty much do pay registration in Michigan based on size and type of vehicle. With a proportional payment system, given what I pay to register my cars, it should cost about 60 cents a year to register my bike.

I'd like to see a fuel credit too. I use my bike 100% to go to work and back; if I could deduct the cost of fuel, I'd eat a lot yummier foods.
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Old 04-23-09, 06:35 AM   #15
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Take all the cars and trucks off those roads and they would be pristine in 100 years.
I have to disagree. There's a stretch of abandoned PA turnpike north of us that's used these days for biking (Google Pike to Bike). It's actually breaking up and starting to be overcome by the local forest. It's been maybe 10'ish years.

Kind of amazing to see actually.
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Old 04-23-09, 06:38 AM   #16
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I have to disagree. There's a stretch of abandoned PA turnpike north of us that's used these days for biking (Google Pike to Bike). It's actually breaking up and starting to be overcome by the local forest. It's been maybe 10'ish years.

Kind of amazing to see actually.
A big cause of damage to roads is weather - water gets in cracks, freezes, crack gets bigger, etc. etc.
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Old 04-23-09, 06:47 AM   #17
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Yeah if you leave any pavement alone, it's going to deteriorate relatively quickly. Mother Nature is a harsh mistress.
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Old 04-23-09, 07:16 AM   #18
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yea but then we'd all switch to cross bikes or mountain bikes and ride over the soil
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Old 04-23-09, 07:21 AM   #19
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The damage done to roads quadruples(I believe) by the weight on the axel, so obviously semis and other heavy trucks do terrible damage to the roadways, while cars do significantly less and cyclists do no appreciable damage. I did a quick google search and didn't come up with a source that gives an exact figure, but I recall reading at one point.

The more you know.
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Old 04-23-09, 07:24 AM   #20
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A big cause of damage to roads is weather - water gets in cracks, freezes, crack gets bigger, etc. etc.
Except your forgetting that most of those cracks are caused, or greatly expanded, by the vehicles driving on the road. This greatly expedites the damage nature does.
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Old 04-23-09, 07:43 AM   #21
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So lets just pay based on vehicle weight - I would pay $50/year in a 'bike tax' to get people to shut up about this...
So you are proposing what $2.00 a pound, or there about. Or perhaps 1$ a pound and a $20 processing fee, right?

Heck I would even limit it at $1000 due to gas tax that some drivers pay...

But I would love to see the faces of the SUV owners that get the bill for their 6000 pound vehicle.




Frankly I do tend to agree, I would pay some token sum just to get the idiots to shut up about my rights to the road. Really. Heck, I would proudly display my "license tags" just for the satisfaction of never having to hear "get off the road."
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Old 04-23-09, 07:45 AM   #22
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Cyclists already subsidize motorists, so it's pretty ridiculous for anyone to ask for a greater subsidy.

If any cyclist is enthusiastic about paying an annual fee to take away someones argument, they can donate their money to their local road cycling advocacy group. Requiring a fee-based bicycle registration is a great way to reduce the number of bicyclists on the road.
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Old 04-23-09, 08:12 AM   #23
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90% of interstate wear is due to truck traffic.
Truck do WAY more than 90% of the damage. I read that the damage done to a roadway is proportional to the weight of the vehicle raised to the 5th power. So, an 80000lb vehicle does 6.2 million times the damage of a 3500lb one.

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Road taxes on trucks do not come close to covering the costs of the damage they do.
Agreed. If taxes were assessed based on road damage, pretty much every vehicle, except large trucks, would pay nothing.
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Old 04-23-09, 08:21 AM   #24
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Except your forgetting that most of those cracks are caused, or greatly expanded, by the vehicles driving on the road. This greatly expedites the damage nature does.
I agree completely, I was just saying weather has something to do with it.

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So you are proposing what $2.00 a pound, or there about. Or perhaps 1$ a pound and a $20 processing fee, right?

Heck I would even limit it at $1000 due to gas tax that some drivers pay...

But I would love to see the faces of the SUV owners that get the bill for their 6000 pound vehicle.


Frankly I do tend to agree, I would pay some token sum just to get the idiots to shut up about my rights to the road. Really. Heck, I would proudly display my "license tags" just for the satisfaction of never having to hear "get off the road."
Honestly for me it is just about the part of your post I bolded. If a yearly fee and a license plate is what it takes for me to have some respect while on a bike, then I am ok with that. I would be all for a weight based fee $2/lb or whatever it would end up being. If it gets some SUVs and trucks off the roads, that is also worth a small fee on my part.
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Old 04-23-09, 08:44 AM   #25
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Public transport letter to editor and comments

http://journalstar.com/articles/2009...3423108697.txt

Look as some of the comments against riding a bike....hilarious. " its ALL the way across town", "weather, professional office attire", "time". Waahhahahahahh.......
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