Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Huffy vs. Hummer...continued

Today's debate is whether cyclists should pay their 'fair share' to use the roads.

Showing cyclists the money

Last year, U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters said that building bike lanes and paths isn't a good use of federal transportation dollars. Is she correct? Cyclists Randal O’Toole and Will Campbell continue their debate.


I think this one is an old, tiresome argument. Motorists often insist that cyclists should pay something toward road use, and I have to assume that the underlying idea is to make riding a bicycle an expensive, onerous experience - just like owning and driving a car - so some cyclists would be inclined to give up two-wheeled transportation. Mandatory helmet laws have the same effect.

But I already pay taxes both for the fuel I purchase (yes, I do own and drive a car) and all those real estate and sales taxes, which support roads to a greater extent than fuel taxes. To my way of thinking, if a motorist objects to the way fuel taxes are spent, he can protest that by riding a bicycle. Pedestrians and horse-drawn vehicles have an equal right to our public roads as well. If you want to enact a tax on horses and affix a license plate to one, be my guest. I'll watch from a safe distance.

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