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  1. #1
    Recovering mentalist Randochap's Avatar
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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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  2. #2
    All Bikes All The Time Sawtooth's Avatar
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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.

  3. #3
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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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?
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  4. #4
    Recovering mentalist Randochap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by caloso View Post
    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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    "The bicycle is the noblest invention of mankind." ~William Saroyan

  5. #5
    DoB
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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.

  6. #6
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    And pedestrians don't pay their way for the sidewalks. Can we tax pedestrians?

  7. #7
    Gear Hub fan
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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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  8. #8
    Randomhead
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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.

  9. #9
    not a role model JeffS's Avatar
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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.

  10. #10
    Recovering mentalist Randochap's Avatar
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    Surely, someday soon sanity will return, along with trains.
    VeloWeb | VeloWebLog

    "The bicycle is the noblest invention of mankind." ~William Saroyan

  11. #11
    kipuka explorer bkrownd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randochap View Post
    Surely, someday soon sanity will return, along with trains.
    I'm hoping for trollies, myself
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  12. #12
    The City Cyclist ryanz4's Avatar
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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.

  13. #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...

  14. #14
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hnsq View Post
    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.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  15. #15
    Older than dirt CCrew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoB View Post
    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.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by CCrew View Post
    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.

  17. #17
    Belt drive! vtjim's Avatar
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    Yeah if you leave any pavement alone, it's going to deteriorate relatively quickly. Mother Nature is a harsh mistress.

  18. #18
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    yea but then we'd all switch to cross bikes or mountain bikes and ride over the soil

  19. #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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  20. #20
    Non-Spandex Commuter jdmitch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hnsq View Post
    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.

  21. #21
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hnsq View Post
    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."

  22. #22
    Senior Member fishtoes2000's Avatar
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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.
    www.m-bike.org :: Promoting safe and convenient bicycling in Metro Detroit

  23. #23
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by tatfiend View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by tatfiend View Post
    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.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdmitch View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    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.

  25. #25
    Mr. Frowny Man Alathea's Avatar
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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.......
    The Earth is degenerating these days. Bribery and corruption abound.
    Children no longer mind their parents, every man wants to write a book,
    and it is evident that the end of the world is fast approaching.
    --Assyrian Stone Tablet, c.2800 BCE

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