Should cyclists pay to use the road?

Bike at petrol pump

Thanks to Josh Parrish at Flickr.com

Oregon State Representative Wayne Krieger believes so, according to BikePortland.

Cyclists have never contributed a penny to the roads in the US, he says, and maybe it’s time they started.

He’s proposed a bill which would force people to pay $54 every two years to ride on the roads.

I’m not au fait with road-funding in the US, but in the UK the cost of building and maintaining streets is funded by taxpayers, and not wholly by Vehicle Excise Duty (road tax, to you and me).

In short, it’s subsidised by the public, whether they own a car or not.

I don’t drive, and I pay tax, so I actually cough-up for the upkeep of the roads – even though my bike does very little damage (in fact, the opposite is often the case on London’s pot-holed streets).

There are even some valid arguments to be made that cycling actually lowers the Government’s costs in lots of ways; cycling lowers congestion, reduces harmful emissions and helps to promote good health.

All these problems are having bundles of cash thrown at them by the UK Government right now.

Given this, it’s completely sensible that we have tax-breaks that allow us to buy a bike at half the retail cost, as long as we use it to get to work. After all, the more people on bikes, the easier life is for the Government.

I’m aware that things may be slightly different in the US, and I’m not saying that the UK is a cycling-utopia, but it’s clear that there are better ways to fund roads than charging those who do the least damage to them, especially when those people save a fortune in other areas. [Treehugger]

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2 thoughts on “Should cyclists pay to use the road?

  1. Not only should bikers pay a small road use fee, they should also be required to pass road safety and road use testing and be licensed to operate a bike on public streets.

  2. I came across this on the WordPress ‘related posts’ link: great article and some good links. CCC one in particular is good for sending to several people I know. I’ll be subscribing…

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