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  1. #1
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Great News for Washington State Cyclist

    Washington state cyclist may get the opportunity to prove they do have a right to ride on state roads. Yes indeed, in addition to the sales tax of $50 or more for each bike they buy, the will get to also fork up $25 for each bicycle purchase (over $499.99) to help maintain the roads.

    Please write your House Democrats in Olympia and thank them for making cyclist legitimate road users.

    http://seattletimes.com/html/localne...ackagexml.html
    There’s even a $25 sales fee on bicycles worth $500 or more that raises a total $1 million over 10 years, included for largely symbolic reasons.
    Land of the Free, Because of the Brave.

  2. #2
    Commander, UFO Bike K'Tesh's Avatar
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    I propose that the person who came up with this idea have his head examined, after they pull it out of his ...

  3. #3
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by K'Tesh View Post
    I propose that the person who came up with this idea have his head examined, after they pull it out of his ...
    My thoughts exactly!

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    There’s even a $25 sales fee on bicycles worth $500 or more that raises a total $1 million over 10 years, included for largely symbolic reasons.
    Perhaps better symbology would involve educating motorists regarding who the freeloaders are on the roads. Hint: it's not the cyclists.

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    What Washington legislators are looking at is far from being law. It's just a draft proposal at present, so the state is a long way from actually levying a $25 tax on the sale of bikes priced $500 and over. To what use specifically the money would go, if the tax were to be approved, would be good to know. The amount of money the tax would raise is rather small: ("...a $25 sales fee on bicycles worth $500 or more that raises a total $1 million over 10 years, included for largely symbolic reasons. ..." seattletimes), in terms of it being able to help Washington state significantly deal with the massive transportation expenses the state is faced with. If that $25 per new bike/$100,000yr tax is just going to disappear into the big transportation funding budget, no way is it supportable by any public minded person.

    For the individual person having to pay extra money over the purchase cost of a bike, a $25 tax wouldn't be insignificant. It's money that somebody wanting to ride could spend directly on bike accessories...bright lights...reflective gear...helmets...rain gear...needed to make biking safer and more comfortable on motor vehicle dominated streets and roads. There is a road congestion problem, created primarily by excessive reliance on motor vehicles for transportation. That's easier to understand than whether or not humans have contributed significantly to global warming. If Washington state legislators really are serious about reducing the state's transportation budget, they could perhaps consider introducing into the transportation draft proposal, something that would encourage more of the state's citizens than do now, to switch some of the miles they travel each year by motor vehicle, to miles traveled by bicycle.

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    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wsbob View Post
    It's money that somebody wanting to ride could spend directly on bike accessories...bright lights...reflective gear...helmets...rain gear...
    Especially in all those Washington cities that have mandatory helmet laws.
    Land of the Free, Because of the Brave.

  7. #7
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    my comment below, excerpted:

    Quote Originally Posted by wsbob View Post
    ...For the individual person having to pay extra money over the purchase cost of a bike, a $25 tax wouldn't be insignificant. It's money that somebody wanting to ride could spend directly on bike accessories...bright lights...reflective gear...helmets...rain gear...needed to make biking safer and more comfortable on motor vehicle dominated streets and roads. ...
    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    Especially in all those Washington cities that have mandatory helmet laws.

    Link to page listing cities and counties in Washington state with MHL's; note: 22 of 24 are all-ages MHL. http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/bike/helmets.htm


    What the approval of MHL's in those areas of Washington state's may say about residents feeling about this bike tax proposal, is interesting to think about. I'm not sure, but I think the Seattle Bike Club, which is big...favored the MHL. Vancouver Washington...small city, but close to Portland, Ore across the Columbia River...followed suit a couple years ago with the support of the VBC.

    It would be great to hear from Washington officials and legislators in their own words, why they felt so inclined to introduce the bike tax into the budget draft proposal. Since the bike tax entry in the proposal seems to relatively be a blip in that huge budget proposal, I suppose it would take some special legislative or committee connection to get a lead on whose idea it even was to introduce it into the proposal. So far, at least from what's been released about the bike tax at this point, the whole thing seems vaguely conceived, perhaps mainly a concession to anticipated critics of the budget proposal.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    Typical politicians. Doing the exact opposite of what would make sense and be in the public best interest.

  9. #9
    20+mph Commuter JoeyBike's Avatar
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    I will happily pay a road use/maintenance tax based on the weight of my vehicle. Lets just say $1 a pound every year for ALL road users.
    "For all we know his skills may be excellent, allowing him to ride like an idiot without actually being one." - FBinNY

  10. #10
    Senior Member CommuteCommando's Avatar
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    You get what you pay for, and you ultimately must pay for what you get. Where I live there is some rather good bike infrastructure, as well as a fair amount of motorist backlash tot he money spent on it. I personally would not ride a bike that cost less than about $500 new, and twenty five bucks to help defray the cost of that riverside bike trail I zip along during my daily commute is something I have no problem with.
    Freedom is free. It's included in democracy. Democracy is hard. It involves dealing rationally with people you disagree with.

  11. #11
    20+mph Commuter JoeyBike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuteCommando View Post
    ...twenty five bucks to help defray the cost of that riverside bike trail I zip along during my daily commute is something I have no problem with.
    A user tax would be even better for trails, since many people who buy bikes never use those trails. There are various ways to accomplish this but it does require some reinforcement at the site. We have volunteer trail "help" stationed on one of our popular trails. They buzz around in tiny motorized pick-up trucks (like some USPS mail carriers) and can even ferry a rider and one bike in case of a breakdown. They could also check trail permits.

    I hate taxes that affect the poor and other people who don't use the amenities (except for things that help everyone like good public schools).
    "For all we know his skills may be excellent, allowing him to ride like an idiot without actually being one." - FBinNY

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    Quote Originally Posted by K'Tesh View Post
    I propose that the person who came up with this idea have his head examined, after they pull it out of his ...
    I would respectfully disagree.

    Each state funds roads differently. In Washington gas tax is one method, as well as license fees. (Washington has no income tax.) Paying a modest one-time tax on a bike purchase to fund roads gives a clear right to demand fair use when lobbying. The "I helped pay for it" argument (or at least stopping the "You did not pay for it" argument) is worth $25 or $50. Washington roads are in bad repair. This is a fair fee.

  13. #13
    Senior Member kmv2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fn1889m View Post
    I would respectfully disagree.

    Each state funds roads differently. In Washington gas tax is one method, as well as license fees. (Washington has no income tax.) Paying a modest one-time tax on a bike purchase to fund roads gives a clear right to demand fair use when lobbying. The "I helped pay for it" argument (or at least stopping the "You did not pay for it" argument) is worth $25 or $50. Washington roads are in bad repair. This is a fair fee.
    The argument simply proceeds to "you only paid $50" then.. and you're no better off. If it was fair use, we should get the whole lane and be able to travel on freeways then, no?

    The extraneous fees on motor vehicles are because their presence on the road requires magnitudes of additional space and maintenance, in addition to causing pollution.

  14. #14
    BF Avatar Zombie Hunter Jseis's Avatar
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    As road, off road and MUP rider, and Wa resident, I'm all for it. Advocating for trail construction, shoulder improvements, safety improvements (something I've done for years) is made nearly impossible as the self absorbed always want somebody else to pay for it. MUP construction runs over a million+ a mile and adding two feet of shoulder or a foot of lane width is unbelievably expensive due to 30's era road construction of narrow rights of way, narrow base, poor sub grade. Chip seal is being used as an interim pavement saving strategy because a repave is $$$. $25 is symbolic only and as noted above, it's early in the legislative process.
    Amerika, Land of the Very Brief.

  15. #15
    Senior Member CommuteCommando's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
    I hate taxes that affect the poor and other people who don't use the amenities (except for things that help everyone like good public schools).
    This $25 tax is on bikes costing over $500. It would hit me, but I have a good enough job that I can spend that much on a bike, and them asking me to fork over the equivalent of a months worth of latte's is no big deal. The poor will be buying wally bikes and not paying the tax.

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
    A user tax would be even better for trails, since many people who buy bikes never use those trails. There are various ways to accomplish this but it does require some reinforcement at the site. We have volunteer trail "help" stationed on one of our popular trails. They buzz around in tiny motorized pick-up trucks (like some USPS mail carriers) and can even ferry a rider and one bike in case of a breakdown. They could also check trail permits.
    The above would cost more money than can be supported by any reasonable tax. Besides, one path I use is MUP, and used by a fair amount of pedestrians in Southern California's solid red Orange County. I'd like to see someone try to tax that crowd to use a "sidewalk"

    http://ridewithgps.com/routes/2164641 <The MUP portion of my commute.

    I pay road taxes and only drive my car an a small percentage of the streets they pay for. I think a toll booth at the bottom of every street is over kill. There are miles of bike path I haven't ridden, though I'm gaining on it.
    Last edited by CommuteCommando; 02-21-13 at 09:29 AM.
    Freedom is free. It's included in democracy. Democracy is hard. It involves dealing rationally with people you disagree with.

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    Why are they asking a $25 flat fee on all bikes over $500 instead of maybe making it 2% tax on whatever bikes are being purchased. $25 @ $500 will hit the beginner cyclist the most; I can see an explosion of $499 frames and the death of anything priced between $500-$800.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Notso_fastLane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fn1889m View Post
    I would respectfully disagree.

    Each state funds roads differently. In Washington gas tax is one method, as well as license fees. (Washington has no income tax.) Paying a modest one-time tax on a bike purchase to fund roads gives a clear right to demand fair use when lobbying. The "I helped pay for it" argument (or at least stopping the "You did not pay for it" argument) is worth $25 or $50. Washington roads are in bad repair. This is a fair fee.
    Very few people live carfree. We are already paying for taxes in the (less gas, admittedly) gas and registration fees. In my case, 2 cars, plus 2 motorcycles. The state is getting my fair share to simply have the white lane painted a few feet further from the curb in some places.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuteCommando View Post
    You get what you pay for, and you ultimately must pay for what you get. Where I live there is some rather good bike infrastructure, as well as a fair amount of motorist backlash tot he money spent on it. I personally would not ride a bike that cost less than about $500 new, and twenty five bucks to help defray the cost of that riverside bike trail I zip along during my daily commute is something I have no problem with.
    Quote Originally Posted by fn1889m View Post
    "...

    Each state funds roads differently. In Washington gas tax is one method, as well as license fees. (Washington has no income tax.) Paying a modest one-time tax on a bike purchase to fund roads gives a clear right to demand fair use when lobbying. The "I helped pay for it" argument (or at least stopping the "You did not pay for it" argument) is worth $25 or $50. Washington roads are in bad repair. This is a fair fee.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jseis View Post
    As road, off road and MUP rider, and Wa resident, I'm all for it. Advocating for trail construction, shoulder improvements, safety improvements (something I've done for years) is made nearly impossible as the self absorbed always want somebody else to pay for it. MUP construction runs over a million+ a mile and adding two feet of shoulder or a foot of lane width is unbelievably expensive due to 30's era road construction of narrow rights of way, narrow base, poor sub grade. Chip seal is being used as an interim pavement saving strategy because a repave is $$$. $25 is symbolic only and as noted above, it's early in the legislative process.

    The bike tax included in Washington state legislators transportation budget draft proposal would raise $100,000 a year: "...There’s even a $25 sales fee on bicycles worth $500 or more that would raise $1 million over 10 years, a nod to motorists who complain that bicyclists don’t pay their fair share. ..." http://seattletimes.com/html/localne...ackagexml.html

    According to numbers Jseis offered in his comment above, that $100,000 would build a tenth of a mile of MUP. I'm wondering if that amount of money, capable of building that amount of infrastructure will really be able to represent to people driving, or anyone for that matter, any kind of positive symbol of cyclists 'paying their fair share'.

  19. #19
    Senior Member enigmaT120's Avatar
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    Collecting the money will cost more than the money collected.
    Ed Miller
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  20. #20
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    since approximately half of every road $ is paid from general funds, I'm going to say that I definitely pay more than my fair share given my household income level. Of course, saying this ignores the bizarre unstated notion that cyclists aren't also motorists.

  21. #21
    Vegan on a bicycle smasha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by enigmaT120 View Post
    Collecting the money will cost more than the money collected.
    +1

    administration costs would exceed revenue.

    an extra 0.5¢ per gallon fuel tax would raise more money, cause less argument, and incur zero additional administration costs.

    if they want to make a "symbolic" tax on cyclists to contribute to roads, make it $1 per bike, and have it ear-marked for bicycle training programs. the rest of the roading costs we ALL pay through general taxation... not sure the details in WA, but that's typically income tax, sales tax, property tax, etc... all of which bicyclists pay to subsidize motorists.
    "When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race." - H.G. Wells

  22. #22
    Senior Member CommuteCommando's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by superfred View Post
    Why are they asking a $25 flat fee on all bikes over $500 instead of maybe making it 2% tax on whatever bikes are being purchased. $25 @ $500 will hit the beginner cyclist the most; I can see an explosion of $499 frames and the death of anything priced between $500-$800.
    Quote Originally Posted by wsbob View Post
    According to numbers Jseis offered in his comment above, that $100,000 would build a tenth of a mile of MUP. I'm wondering if that amount of money, capable of building that amount of infrastructure will really be able to represent to people driving, or anyone for that matter, any kind of positive symbol of cyclists 'paying their fair share'.
    Quote Originally Posted by enigmaT120 View Post
    Collecting the money will cost more than the money collected.
    [QUOTE=smasha;15301587if they want to make a "symbolic" tax on cyclists to contribute to roads, make it $1 per bike, and have it ear-marked for bicycle training programs. the rest of the roading costs we ALL pay through general taxation... not sure the details in WA, but that's typically income tax, sales tax, property tax, etc... all of which bicyclists pay to subsidize motorists.[/QUOTE]

    All the above comments point to the difficulty getting a consensus on anything. All these are good points. The Washington state measure is not ideal, I readily admit. My statement stands that if we want robust bike infrastructure, it has to be paid for. The devil is in the details.
    Freedom is free. It's included in democracy. Democracy is hard. It involves dealing rationally with people you disagree with.

  23. #23
    BF Avatar Zombie Hunter Jseis's Avatar
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    Separated MUP development is often the most desirable but cost prohibitive due to right of way acquisition/litigation and environmental review, thus the use of old railroad grades (via federal rail banking laws) because of the existence of the right of way/corridor and ballast to support trains. However, always controversy (Burke Gilman Trail in Seattle). There is nothing more lonely than going to a public hearing as a project proponent/planner on a trail or trail plan and have not a single cyclist show up. (BTW..an MUP is essentially built to a one land road standard and on its own right of way or using part of an existing right of way like an old railroad or unused roadway. What makes new MUP's costly are cuts/fills/bridges grade/slope and etc because they are bicycle highways. The term "trail" softens the blow but imagine dealing with a railroad grade and all the crossings, steel bridges, remote locations...not easy).

    Cyclists who think road or trail improvements magically appear need to reassess that view because any significant MUP extension/new construction or highway bike lane improvement takes years of planning and foresight. Organizations such as the Cascade Bicycle Club (Seattle based but has cycling programs statewide) can and will play a role in gaining improvements because their 14,000 members are organized. The single best thing you can do is become a member of bike club...locally and regionally.
    Amerika, Land of the Very Brief.

  24. #24
    Senior Member kmv2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jseis View Post
    Cyclists who think road or trail improvements magically appear need to reassess that view because any significant MUP extension/new construction or highway bike lane improvement takes years of planning and foresight. Organizations such as the Cascade Bicycle Club (Seattle based but has cycling programs statewide) can and will play a role in gaining improvements because their 14,000 members are organized. The single best thing you can do is become a member of bike club...locally and regionally.
    So where do the billion dollar super highways come from? I feel as a taxpayer, even at ~1-5% we are entitled to 1-5% infrastructure, no? That could be a bigger shoulder, shared access to roads or MUPs.

    I know its simplistic to state this, but build or improve something where people travel regularly and it will get used. Biggest example is a highway expansion, they don't improve congestion long before they've become congested again.

    Other examples, the canal in my city is plowed in the winter .. look out any day that its open and you see hundreds of people skating on it. We close certain roads to cars on Sunday and tell people the can bike, walk, run, etc on it. They are always filled with people. We close a parkway nearby to cars for the entire winter and let it become covered in snow. It becomes filled with people cross country skiing! There's no special tax to use any of this! Its things we've already paid for as a community, so we use them in different ways like we should.

    I believe that instead of expanding highways, and building more roads, add a shoulder or make a road safer to cycle and people will use it. Every less car on the road makes the road safer, less congested and longer lasting. Everyone wins. The same phenomenon that happens when you widen a highway or build a new road should theoretically happen when you expand bike infrastructure.

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    I am deeply moved by the idea that politicians would spend the money raised from bike sales on solely on cycling facilities

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