A Few More Things

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A few more things I ran across in my various trips down the rabbit hole of cycling research:

Taxing Bike Riders

Oregon representative Wayne Krieger has proposed a law requiring cyclists to register their bikes at a cost of $54 every two years. In his words: “Bikes have used the roads in this state forever and have never contributed a penny. The only people that pay into the system are those people who buy motor vehicle licenses and registration fees.” You can read a fairly indepth article over at the BikePortland.org blog – but I’ve got a few concerns.

I’m not even going to pretend to know the exact percentage…but the whole entire road/transportation infrastructure is subsidized by everyone. I’m positive that gas taxes and registration fees amount to maybe a third of the direct cost responsible for maintenance of our roads. Cyclists are already paying federal and state taxes that cover their use of the roads. As a point of reference, a motorcycle registration is $30.00. And at $27.00 a year for each bike, its more effective for the cyclists to pay the $25.00 fine rather than pay the registration fee. The license is a sticker only 1.5 inches by 2.5 inches and is placed on the bike – it won’t be easy to see. Are police really going to make it a high priority?

But the bigger issue I see at stake is simple cost-benefit balance regarding health and sustainability. Take into account health benefit of improved fitness, reduction in health costs, and the reduction in external costs associated with with general air pollution, noise and reduced parking infrastructure costs. It would be interesting to discover the magnitude of difference related to the cost of installation and maintenance of an auto only road vs. the air pollution and noise remediation necessary to offset its negative impact.

I do agree with some form of registration or way to help monitor those bikers that break traffic laws, or more importantly those that cause accidents that injure people and property. But I think the law that Wayne Krieger is proposing is driving us in the wrong direction, pun intended.

Commuter Cycling Grows by 35% from 2007-2008

If you dig through city agency websites, every once in a while our tax dollars go to beneficial work of compiling interesting numbers. DOT’s most recent screenline counts show a dramatic increase in cycling in New York City. The latest count in 2006 of over 22,000 cyclists was 75 percent higher than the 2000 screen-line count (BFC application, August 2007). If you like  numbers and statistics and other graph-tastic visuals, visit the NYC Department of Transportations lovely pdf file. Or try Bike to Work 2008 City Stats.

If you get tired of dodging cabs and motorists on your way to work. Spend a Sunday afternoon in Lower Manhattan – virtually car-free on weekends. Check out Stone Street and I suggest you grab brunch at SmorgasChef, 53 Stone Street.

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