Like many who post in this forum bicycling is my exclusive tranportation (occasionally transit). I've been talking with some of the people I work with who argue that bicyclists should NOT be allowed on the road since we don't contribute any revenue for roads and maintenance, etc. For those of us who are carless this seems to be true: Since I don't own a car, I don't pay any fees/taxes for licensing, parking, or gas taxes. So it seems they have some point here. I'm undecided on this issue, but here are my thoughts right now:
- Bicyclists are far less demanding on infrastructure than motorists - they occupy little road-space and cause very little road deterioration. In general there aren't nearly as many problems and public expense associated with bicycling as there are autos [pollution and related health issues, environmental degradation (urban sprawl, etc)]. Considering this, if any bicycle-related fees are implemented they should be far less than those associated with autos.
- Since individuals who bike as their only means of transportation are a minute fraction of the population, it might not be worth it for the gov. to implement fees/taxes. Again, I don't know for sure, but it might actually cost more to pay people to collect and enforce the fees than the actual revenue they generate.
- Even though I don't own a car, I do pay federal income tax. Some of this money is used for road construction (collected by the feds, then sent back to the states). So in some ways, I do contribute something to road construction (though the amount is minimal in my case).
Again, I'm not sure where I stand on this issue. This has probably been brought up before, but I couldn't find any recent threads. I just thought it might be an interesting discussion. I suppose in principle we bike-only people should pay something since we use the roads, though the revenue collected would be so minimal (again, if the fees are fair considering the minimal public cost associated with bikes) it might not be practical. What do you think?