Frankly, suggesting the whole tax, title, license, and registration thing for bicycles on the road is often meet with death threats and flames the size of solar flares. But the more I think about it, the more it sounds like fair a trade for our use of the public roads built with all the publicís money.
Now before you load up your bazookas letís examine the up side of being the manís beotch.
Once we are taxed the man has to recognize us as legitimate road users. He may in your state already, but even in current bike utopias it is a half hearted recognition at best. License me and you have to design for me.
Next, as a licensed operator of a legal vehicle you can no longer claim ďthe bike swerved in front of the carĒ as most auto accidents with bikes seem to be written up. Nope, Iíve passed the same stupid test the idiot driving the car has passed + the bike component. Johnny Law cannot dismiss the cyclist so easily any longer.
With taxes comes the right to ***** and whine like farmers and children. We all know that car drivers have their transportation subsidized by federal, state, and local policies promoting the construction of roads and by our national fascination (government policy) with providing gas in cheap and plentiful quantities. With taxes comes a seat at the table. Donít think itís true. Ask yourself why you have to buckle your seat belt in Kansas, but you donít have to wear a helmet on your motorcycle? They organized and *****ed Ė itís the American way.
Car drivers whine like rich children at the mall when they don't get their super duper 8-lane bypass to suburbia because, in American *****ing and whining is the way the game is played. Once we become a source of revenue the rules change in our favor. Sure, there is a considerable downside. Life isnít fair. We need to realize that in order to get safer and better roads, increased recognition by decision makers, protection from dangerous drivers, and the status of human beings carrying their share of the tax burden as seen by the rest of the road users. I think we need to take this leap as a community.
Letís address cost. How much could it really end up costing? My guess is a liability insurance policy, license, title and tags couldnít cost more than $100 a year Ė even in Massachusetts. During the development of the enabling legislation at the state level the points about the zero-emissions, zero-road wear, and near zero-threat to others will be made. Any taxing program developed by the state couldnít charge the cyclist more than their real costs. The revenue simply wouldnít be there. You canít get blood out of a turnip. So, at the end of the process youíd have a program where your bike was titled (perhaps this even cuts down on bike theft), insured for liability, and youíd have some sort of tag on your bike identifying you as a taxpaying citizen. The tag could be as simple as a sticker on our helmets with the current year.
Those are good things in my opinion.
Putting on my asbestos long johns.
PS Ė Iím not including you mountain bike types or the casual trail users. On road operators only.