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  1. #1
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    Seattle Times argues for $25 bike ownership fee

    Wow, no wonder newspapers are going out of business:

    Seattle Times - Impose license fee on King County cyclists

    Vesely likes to sneer:

    Cyclists, known for their community spirit and exalted senses of self, should welcome this opportunity to help government support their activities.
    I think it is reasonable for local governments to ask for a small excise fee on the purchase of a new back as Colorado Springs has, solely devoted to bike transportation infrastructure, but an annual registration fee just penalizes those who are lowering their carbon footprint and reducing freeway congestion for everyone else.

  2. #2
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    There would be a huge administrative burden that would probably require bike licenses to be more than $25.

    Furthermore, where do you place your license on your bike?
    2008 Fuji Newest 1.0
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  3. #3
    Senior Member gregstandt's Avatar
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    I would also think that a tax on shoes should be implemented to help pay for sidewalks. Why should pedestrians be allowed to walk around on sidewalks payed for by those of us who have done well enough in life to be able to go from our garage to anywhere we want without having to walk.
    And you can tell just by the 'way' they walk they have an elevated sense of self. I would think they would embrace the opportunity to support their own system of transportation the same why us drivers do.
    They certainly aren't supporting the city's infrastructure in any other way such as sales tax, or property tax. I'm also certain that none of them own businesses that would contribute employment or B&O, L&I, Employment security or make any other meaningful contribution to society. If they did they wouldn't have all that time to just WALK AROUND!
    So please, have the guts to tax those shoes and get these slackers carrying their fair share of the load!
    Last edited by gregstandt; 12-07-08 at 06:44 PM.
    Relax, it's a bike ride.

  4. #4
    Count Dorkula tballx's Avatar
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    The guy is an ass..Read a few more of his columns and prepare to be underwhelmed.
    Oh, so they have internet on computers now!

  5. #5
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    Periodically The Times calls to ask if I'd be interested in subscribing.

    Now I have a reason to tell them no ...

    Plus, for what I'd save by not paying them, I can buy more bike stuff, and with the time I don't spend reading their paper, I can read something useful like the recently-published "Bicycles and the Law" bike which is very informative on the history of bicycle rights to use the road.

    Plus, what's with the idea that we need to establish "bike path cred" in order to graduate to "street cred" ?

  6. #6
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Yet another columnist who doesn't understand the monetary flow towards road repair. Unless he's specifically talking about licensing the homeless cyclists who don't purchase any consumer goods.
    The rest of us are chipping in via property tax (even those of us who rent), a lot of us own cars aside from our bicycles, and we're spending the same amount in sales taxes as anyone else. Why do they even waste the ink to print this stuff when all it does is add fuel to the fire for the people who already think we cyclists aren't paying our fair share?

  7. #7
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    The cold, hard reality of our state (WA) is that revenue 'dedicated' toward a specific function never gets dedicated to that function. If you could honestly and truthfully believe that paying $25/year would result in meaningful improvements to bike paths, signals, public awareness, etc, it really isn't that big of a bite to swallow.

    BUT, it would never happen. What we have is a state budget that has a shortfall, and they are looking for ways to make up the difference. In addition to things like this, they also have a 'tonnage' tax proposed to be added to the vehicle licensing. Those who have lived here a while will remember when there used to be an excise tax based on the value of your vehicle and that was revoked via referendum. This is just another way of collecting the same money, but since it isn't based on the value of the vehicle it circumvents the referendum, though it clearly skirts the spirit of it (which was to have reasonable automobile licensing fees).

    Anyway, I am on a soap box here a bit, but I don't trust any of the ba$tard$ in Olympia to do anything they promise. If they did, just think how incredibly awesome all our schools would be. You do recall all the state lottery revenue that was going to all go toward education, right? And the vote to not create new taxes to pay for a new stadium, which they did anyway?

    A bicycle tax will not go toward bicycle infrastructure. It will go into the general fund and be squandered just like everything else. Without a state income tax, somehow we manage to be one of the highest taxed states in the country. No matter how much we give, it is never enough.

  8. #8
    Center of the Universe ngateguy's Avatar
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    A $25 bike fee would not cover the cost of the bureaucracy that it would take to manage. That is why most cities have stopped doing this. In the 60's bicycle licensing was not that uncommon. But it was more for registration than raising money.
    Matthew 6

  9. #9
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    I suppose it's an odd way to look at it: I have a majour issue with a $25 registration fee for bicycles, but I'm not opposed to the proposed $20 increase in car registration. (I own a car, so I'm not just saying that because I wouldn't have to pay it.)
    I think it's because I have higher hopes that money slated to a specific project is more likely to be used for its intended purpose if it's related to cars, not bicycles. Yeah, it's a piss poor attitude, but it's been conditioned into most (if not all) of us over the years.
    Now, if the police could guarantee the same protections to cyclists that they afford to drivers if we were forced into a $25 registration, maybe I wouldn't have such a poor outlook.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member dbikingman's Avatar
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    Would this fee only be for bike owners in King County, apparently you have so many bike trails it is rediculous to the average commuter. Does the four year old have to register their bike, is there ab excemption for bikes with training wheels.

    Isn't there government assistance to those who car pool or take public transportation. Hey, if cyclists have to pay a special fee for trails, does that mean they will turn HOV lanes into bike lanes?

  11. #11
    "I'm OK!" dminor's Avatar
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    I'm continually reminded why I no longer live on the socialist side of the state.

  12. #12
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    what the seatle times whats you to ignore and forget is the billions of tax dollars they already receive for public works. they want you to ignore how they manage to squander all of it on pet pork projects and then at the same time call for new TAX INCREASES....or as liberals call them..."fees".

  13. #13
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    It is interesting that the Washington Model Traffic Ordinance, http://http://apps.leg.wa.gov/wac/default.aspx?cite=308-330 WAC 308-330, allows the Chief of Police (or equivalent) in any jurisdiction in Washington to collect fees for, and license, bicycles. (Sections -500 and on)

    It looks like many jurisdictions have not adopted the sections in question, but ... you too could be required to submit your bike for inspection, and you could be denied a license if it was deemed to be in unsafe condition.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by SunFlower View Post
    TAX INCREASES....or as liberals call them..."fees".
    well, avoiding too much political sparring, and going slightly off-topic / off-road, I believe it was (R) administrations which instituted "Trailhead parking passes" as a way to extract funds from people who wanted to go enjoy nature before it was all clear-cut. That, because they felt they had better things to do with our tax dollars than keep up trails in national parks and national forests.

    I recall that the idea of charging people for the use of public amenities was not a "liberal" idea. We liberals would prefer to empty the pockets of the uber-rich and spread the wealth over our pet projects.

  15. #15
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    Vesley's column has been well-responded to (and debunked) by Erica Barnett at the Stranger's SLOG blog, and other places. Without more to go on, I think Vesley's intent was cynical; to rouse some rabble over a sensitive current topic, all the while poking some eyes. Either that or he's stupid as the bike tax idea is so readily debunkable as a matter of public policy. I doubt he's stupid although I really don't know him. Frankly I just don't understand this peudo-public antipathy towards cyclists. I say pseudo, because in my experience most drivers and most cyclists work hard to tolerate the fact that we're forced to share facilities that really weren't originally designed to be shared ("sharrows," really?). The tip-off to me of his intent is in the use of coded language, that you noted in your post, ChrisCross: "exalted sense of self." It's dripping with disdain and of course ignores the first truth that roads are a subsidized transportation facility that cyclist all already pay for! Made me mad at first, then just shrugged.

  16. #16
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moleman76 View Post
    It is interesting that the Washington Model Traffic Ordinance, http://http://apps.leg.wa.gov/wac/default.aspx?cite=308-330 WAC 308-330, allows the Chief of Police (or equivalent) in any jurisdiction in Washington to collect fees for, and license, bicycles. (Sections -500 and on)

    It looks like many jurisdictions have not adopted the sections in question, but ... you too could be required to submit your bike for inspection, and you could be denied a license if it was deemed to be in unsafe condition.
    There's a lot of silliness written in the WAC. I think that's why most of it never gets codified as part of the RCW. Check out the section on bicycle dealers and their requirement to report the name and address of anyone selling or buying a bicycle, along with the make, model, frame number and licence number to the police for all bicycles, new and used.
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  17. #17
    My tank takes chocolate. FlowerBlossom's Avatar
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    Remember, it was also the Seattle Times that incorrectly reported, knowing all too well they were wrong, that a local candidate for Representative did *not* have two degrees. When, in fact, it was a technicality; the candidate earned the credits for two degrees, the university calls these double-majors something else.

    And, it cost this candidate the election, to another candidate who, when in a former job, could have ordered the testing of genetic samples of a murderer 5 years sooner than he did, and in these 5 years several women died from his incompetency, and now he's now representing WA in the House of Representatives. Did the Seattle Times ever mention this? Naw.

    Thank-you Seattle Times. Not.
    Last edited by FlowerBlossom; 12-09-08 at 01:52 PM. Reason: grammar
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  18. #18
    "I'm OK!" dminor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moleman76 View Post
    I recall that the idea of charging people for the use of public amenities was not a "liberal" idea. We liberals would prefer to empty the pockets of the uber-rich and spread the wealth over our pet projects.
    User fees I can abide with and are understandable. It's emptying ALL of our pockets (not kidding ourselves that it's only the "uber rich" who pay) to fund one group's 'pet' playground that grinds me.

    That's one reason why the Nature Conservancy is one of the few conservation groups I respect and support: they pony up and put their money where their mouth is when it comes to setting aside lands. Most just want to put someone else's (read: government) money to work dioing their bidding.

  19. #19
    Senior Member BengeBoy's Avatar
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    As several of you have said, I think the tone of the column suggested that the columnist was just trying to get people aroused. Like throwing a stink bomb into a party just to see people scatter.

    FWIW, I grew up in a small town in the midwest where "bike licenses" were mandatory. Every bike in town was supposed to be registered with the city....bike tags were $5 or $10 and you couldn't buy a bike without paying for the bike tag. I think it was supposed to be a security measure (even if the thieves took the metal tags off, the serial number of every bike in town was registered with the cops).

  20. #20
    Resident Seaballer DogsBody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dlester View Post

    A bicycle tax will not go toward bicycle infrastructure. It will go into the general fund and be squandered just like everything else. Without a state income tax, somehow we manage to be one of the highest taxed states in the country. No matter how much we give, it is never enough.
    Yup. Up here we call it "General Revenue".
    Which means our taxes go towards things (like Automotive Infrastructure Works) we may not even support.
    -Sounds to me like Seattle has some political/bureaucratic siphon-off of funds to deal with.
    And I am not going to point the finger at one political group; because unlike some I realise that BOTH Political Parties in the U.S. (both State and Federal) are responsible for taxation/funding boondoggles.
    Quote Originally Posted by ngateguy View Post
    A $25 bike fee would not cover the cost of the bureaucracy that it would take to manage. That is why most cities have stopped doing this. In the 60's bicycle licensing was not that uncommon. But it was more for registration than raising money.
    We had it up here back then as well.
    Since the creation of the National Bicycle Registry (Data Bank): We haven't needed the licensing program.
    Quote Originally Posted by j-law View Post
    There would be a huge administrative burden that would probably require bike licenses to be more than $25.

    Furthermore, where do you place your license on your bike?
    More like a big portion of the fee would go to paying for bureaucracy; and the paltry amount left over would then go into "General Revenues".
    When we used to have licence plates up here (the 60's): We'd either clip them to the hangers on the back of the seat. Or (like the Courier/Fixie card-craze that is occuring right now) we would clip them into our spkes.
    Of course these days you would need something more secure: As the licences would surely become the target of thieves.
    Quote Originally Posted by dminor View Post
    I'm continually reminded why I no longer live on the socialist side of the state.
    Specious statement: You guys wouldn't know a true Socialist if you saw one.
    And I would remind you that the present out-going Federal Administration is responsible for creation of the largest waste-of-time tax-sucking bureaucracy in U.S. History:Homeland Security.
    Plus the buying-up of all those corrupt institutions that were directly involved in creating the present financial mess that we are all caught-up in now.

  21. #21
    Big Doofus mstrpete's Avatar
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    The City of Olympia offers free bike registration with the city police. The SN and description of the bike are on file, and the rider gets a shiny blue sticker with the license no. for the bike frame. Personally, I'm of the opinion that any fee more than a nominal amount ($5) is a regressive tax on low-income people. If it were per bike, I'd be out some real money real fast.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  22. #22
    Center of the Universe ngateguy's Avatar
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    I have to wonder how they would enforce it anyway. There are a lot of commuters out there that do not live in Seattle (like me).
    Matthew 6

  23. #23
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    With all the cuts the King Co. Sheriff's Dep't is making these days (Vice, Fraud Investigation, Domestic Violence, and Drug Task Forces are all being eliminated) does anyone really think that even with a $25 yearly licensure fee there would be an investigation if your bicycle got stolen?
    Heck, I went to the Redmond police station to file credit fraud and ID theft against someone last year, and was able to prove that the person lived in the apartment complex next door to the police station. I was told that because the credit charges were under $50,000 that they wouldn't investigate it.

    I pay my yearly advocacy fee via membership in the Cascade Bicycle Club. They're by far the most effective group up here when it comes to lobbying for cycling infrastructure and cyclists' rights.
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  24. #24
    Member farnorth51's Avatar
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    ClintonGK1 hit in on the head with fees to your cycle org are so much more effective. : "exalted sense of self." What did he do?... get cut off by someone who had lost his license and is now riding a bike!

  25. #25
    Senior Member deraltekluge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
    With all the cuts the King Co. Sheriff's Dep't is making these days (Vice, Fraud Investigation, Domestic Violence, and Drug Task Forces are all being eliminated) does anyone really think that even with a $25 yearly licensure fee there would be an investigation if your bicycle got stolen?
    Heck, I went to the Redmond police station to file credit fraud and ID theft against someone last year, and was able to prove that the person lived in the apartment complex next door to the police station. I was told that because the credit charges were under $50,000 that they wouldn't investigate it.
    Is that because they were too busy with vice and drugs?

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