Do Cyclists get a free ride?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Do Cyclists get a free ride?

    Interesting take on the old chestnut that car drivers trot out about bicyclists not pulling their weight by paying for the roads we ride on.

    http://www.vancouversun.com/travel/B...047/story.html

  2. #2
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    Well, that was very cyclist leaning. I was surprised.

    Driving a personal auto is equivalent of grinding down a whole old growth red wood to make a toothpick - its a waste. 3200 lb of cage to transport 180 lb of human - its the definition of all things waste.

    I love to hate the commenters from the hard core motorist that refuse to listen to the article.

  3. #3
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    Good article, but shouldn't this be in the free ride forum?

  4. #4
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    Cool article. I'd love to see a similar analysis done stateside. I wonder how our fee/funding structure differs, or if it does.

  5. #5
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    Probably not by much. Even if it did, I have two cars titles and registration in my name, and drive about 1/5th the average # of miles a year on one of them.. the other gets driven about half. So, just from that alone I'm shouldering more than my fair share of road usage. I suspect that the majority of commuters also own a car.
    mike

  6. #6
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    Agreed with the "own, but park" model. However, I hear a lot of argument based on the gas-tax angle - which we (blessedly) do not contribute to. Any idea how much of that, if any, stays local or comes back to local pots through federal funding?

  7. #7
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    Idiotic logic.

    From the cost of maintaining high speed roads, pollution issues, and the traffic lights and signs, the fact that cyclists do not pay a gas tax so they aren't paying for the roads is ridiculous.

  8. #8
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    Very poor article, however most cyclists , myself included ,whether we have cars or not , are paying for the roads through our federal , state and local taxes plus local registration. So this notion about a free ride is a little ridiculous if you are a US tax payer.

    As a cyclist I should complain that I am not getting my moneys worth as my bike has a much lower impact on the infrastructure.

    Or we could start complaining about train riders, after all Amtrak only exists through a massive government subsidy which we pay for by the aforementioned personal taxation..

  9. #9
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    Personnally I have never had a "free ride yet"


    oops I did hitch hike when I was younger.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ubernerd
    I'd love to see a similar analysis done stateside. I wonder how our fee/funding structure differs, or if it does.
    I`m not as sure about that as Dysfunction is. Actually, though I don`t know much about how Canada does things, I`d have to say that between one region and another within the US it`s going to differ in a big way because of the way that public works get funded. In one city, they may have very high property tax rates, this state has no income tax while the next one has among the highest, gas tax in one county is X.XX per gal while the neighboring county collects only a third of that, and this area collects a special bikini tax. And to go along with each level of government rasising its dough by different means, each has a different way of divying it all up with some fees collected going to a specified expense and other fees going tinto a general fund to dole out wherever they`re most needed.

    We also need to remember that even a totally car free cyclist needs the highways and local streets so that UPS can deliver us our new goodies from Jenson or MEC, so the phone repair truck can come install our services, so the Witchita lineman can get to the down line that isn`t supplying us juice any more, so the shipping company can deliver our shoes from the dock to the mall, etc. Just sayin`.
    Recalculating....

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by BadBoyNY
    Very poor article, ..
    In which respects? Sounds like all road users are subsidized by those who pay taxes but use them less that the average , which typically inculdes cyclists.

    Quote Originally Posted by BadBoyNY
    however most cyclists , myself included ,whether we have cars or not , are paying for the roads through our federal , state and local taxes plus local registration. So this notion about a free ride is a little ridiculous if you are a US tax payer...
    That is pretty much what the article was saying but from a Canadian and BC provincial Gov't tax distribution standpoint. YMMV. The non user property owner or rentaer through his landlord's taxes, subsidizes most, the pedestrain next, then cyslist, motorists, trucking and delivery firms. Of course indirect costs are not considered in the analysis. That is a whole different topic.

    As to local registration in the US: none here for my bikes. This is part of the US (Indiana). Never had one in Ohio, registrered on campus in Illinois, but no fee that I remember, or if one it was one time for the decal. The author appeared to have spent an effort to get to the sources of the funding in his city and makes no claims about the US. Assuming he doesn't want to ruin his career by improper reporting, I think we can assume he made a reasonable effort ot be accurate about Vancouver.

    I heard that a lot of our federal fuel taxes did not go to roads are they were first promised but used as a general revenue stream. I don't know how accurate that is.

    I'd love to see the same anaylsis here. Here a lot of our roads in this county are local property tax supported, but I have no idea to what extent. Or where the state fuel tax is spent.

    Quote Originally Posted by BadBoyNY
    As a cyclist I should complain that I am not getting my money's worth as my bike has a much lower impact on the infrastructure.

    Or we could start complaining about train riders, after all Amtrak only exists through a massive government subsidy which we pay for by the aforementioned personal taxation..
    I wonder what impact those passengers would have on our roads or in the air if they did not use the train? Especially on the indirect costs. Somebody likely has done that analysis. I know that comapred to subsidizing interstates for commuters in gridlock, busses, and trucks rail is laughably minor.

    The article, you and I are in basic agreement that we as cyclists don't use nearly as much of the road resource as we pay for. Then there is polution... dependence on foreign oil....

    So all in all, I am sorry to disagree with you but I think it was a pretty decent article.

  12. #12
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    This is going to be a biased place to discuss this, of course, but check out the Transportation Division (or whatever your locale calls it) to see if the various fees that motorists pay are making enough for local/state/federal governments to keep roads in good condition. Even with property taxes and the like, it is not happening. Road conditions are only going to get worse and worse. Every time to bike you're saving your area some monies.

    Gas is pretty heavily subsidized in the States. Even if you don't always bike, it at least saves some tax money.

    Check out a Google map of your area, then look at all the car accommodations. Parking lots, streets, steetside parking... I wish I had the article, but 30-40% (I'm making a conservative guess, so it could be higher) of the urban landscape is built around cars. This is expensive, but so is the cost of large sprawling urban areas, which cars help develop. Next time you drive out to suburbia, with its wide boulevards and wonder how much more compactly it could have been built, and how much smaller the city's footprint would be, which would impact how much less tax monies would have to be spent on road upkeep and how much more efficiently public transportation could run. Who pays for the sewer lines and roads to the sprawl?

    There are a lot of costs that are directly and not directly tied to cars that have a clear monetary cost.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by umarth
    This is going to be a biased place to discuss this, of course, ...There are a lot of costs that are directly and not directly tied to cars that have a clear monetary cost.
    Yep. Anyone see the clip of the English driver ranting at the cyclist about not paying his share of the road upkeep so didn't deserve use/fair/safe treatment? It's in the how was your commute today thread about a week ago maybe. I haven't had the rant, I have had 'THAT LOOK'

    Bottom line is that motorists are well-subsidized and maybe that was OK policy when what was good for GM was good for the USA. Bad enough they aren't paying the full tariff, they shouldn't also be hogging nearly all and complaining when cyclists get any.

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