View Full Version : Bike tax query plastered on Max trains
I saw a story in the O today about a local web analytics firm who is advertising their abilities by posing an open question on whether bikes should be tax. This is going to be fun:
07-02-2009, 11:28 AM
Do not feed the troll!
(Webtrends is the troll)
07-02-2009, 04:19 PM
Do not feed the troll!
(Webtrends is the troll)
Ding Ding Ding.... We have a winner.
If the bicycle community get all up in arms and rant loudly then DedTrends will be able to gloat about the effectiveness of their advertising.
If you must rant, spell their name wrong.
07-06-2009, 04:03 PM
Unfortunately, I believe it is Wbretends business to scour the internet for information about a particular topic, the non-existent "road tax" being the topic du jour. With all the bike haters out there (see O-live, or the KATU site for examples) I'm afraid the answer to their misstated, bias-enforcing, fallacy-perpetuating question is going to be "Yes."
Also unfortunately, it is impossible to reason with those bike haters making emotional arguments. It is not the "who pays for roads" question anyone cares about, except that it gives an excuse to demand payment from cyclists for perceived misdeeds. Almost every argument I have seen for a cyclist "road tax" goes like this:
"Heck YES they should PAY for the roads they use!!!!!!! After all, I have NEVER, NOT ONCE seen any cyclist stop at the stop sign by my house. My cousin nearly got killed by one of these crazy, arrogant, spandex-clad Lance wanna-bees last week while he was trying to LEGALLY cross the street IN A CROSSWALK!!!!!!! The crybaby cyclists demand their 'right' to use the road, but then they act like the law doesn't apply to them!! Make them PAY!!!"
This is not an argument demanding payment for roads, it is an argument demanding payBACK for all the times drivers have seen cyclists running lights and stop signs and plowing into pedestrians (or perceiving such through their biased eyes). It is almost exactly like a religious argument. Just look at how often words like "arrogant", "fanatical", "hypocrite", "holier than thou", etc. are used.
I get the sense that what most non-cyclists are clamoring for are better-behaved cyclists. A lot of what non-cyclists perceive as misbehavior in fact isn't--things like taking the lane, staying out of the door zone, riding to the left of the fog line--things that motorists have gotten in their heads must be wrong because they are impediments to their driving. There is, however, enough bona-fide misbehavior out there that it has influenced the majority to want some way of punishing cyclists. Since they aren't satisfied that individual cyclists are ever punished for their own crimes, then they want all cyclists punished just for general principle.
No amount of arguing that "bike lanes benefit everyone", or "92% of roads are funded by non-gas-tax revenue", or "every bike you see is another car you don't have to contend with" is ever going to overpower the outrage (and plain rage) generated by "scofflaw cyclists" among the anti-bike crowd.
07-06-2009, 04:45 PM
Well made and excellent points.
two corrections: that should read Eddie wanna-bee, not Lance wanna-bee and I only buzzed his cousin, but her hair was mussed by the vortex of my speeding passage.
07-07-2009, 02:52 PM
Biciclero, you have a lot of great points.
Almost all of the "yes" comments I've seen include some sort of story about some action a cyclist did that the commentor disagrees with.
I have seen very few comments in favor of a "road tax" that are from people who know where the funds come from, or have actually come at this issue from a rational standpoint instead of an emotional one.
It's appalling. 99% of those in favor of a "road tax" think all funds for roads come from gas taxes and their license and registration fees. A few minutes search with the Great Google or your Favorite Search Engine would show that this simply isn't true.
Besides all that: there currently isn't a "road tax" on the books for Oregon. What constitutes a "road tax", and how would the state administer this tax to avoid double taxation??
Also: Me the cyclist is the same person as Me the driver and the same person as Me the homeowner and Me the Gainfully Employed person. There is no separate "me" who is a cyclist who could be taxed.
07-07-2009, 06:07 PM
Haven or anyone else, go ahead and tell us what that few minute google search says about where the funds come, because the issue certainly needs clarification. What percent of the expense to maintain and build roads comes from the gas tax?...the feds?...Oregon's general fund? I get the distinct impression these answers are not at all well known, and that there's plenty of uncertainty about this that adds to the complexity of the issue. Does the gas tax go into the general fund, and then appropriations to cover the transportation budget come out of the general fund?
I did some research of my own about this weekend, and couldn't come up with conclusive answers, which is why I'm not posting any facts here and now.
Webtrends is in it for the money, not to do some kind of community service, so it seems pretty clear their motive for asking the question they did is to exploit a hot button issue.
Ultimately, discussion of the question of whether cyclists...people that ride bikes for transportation...should pay a road tax, is going to come back around to recognition of the fundamental reason bike use, for...I'd guess several decades now...has been encouraged by communities, cities, planners and more. That reason is congestion relief from too many motor vehicles on a finite capacity roadway system. Webtrends staff may well know this.
07-07-2009, 07:08 PM
It was discussed at length here, including links to the State and Portland's budget as well as "studies." It shouldn't be too hard to dig up the new budgets after you know what you're looking for.
Nice Flickr response:
07-09-2009, 05:16 PM
psyfalcon, thanks for the link. I'd forgotten/didn't think to search for that thread and nuovorecords comment #2. I had some trouble downloading the budget file he provides a link. I've got another Oregon budget document on my computer I'm trying to understand as well.
ME2, Joseph Rose seems to be doing a fairly consistent job of bringing up bike road user issues in the O. The story on the photoshopped ambulance pic was food for thought. 8 comments already...amongst them, the usual loose, unsubstantiated claims of who is paying what from where, how much they should be paying and on and on. Some simply stated, substantiated facts would be more constructive.
Without letting it turn into a spin-job, the facts of bikes as transportation should probably be emphasized as a savings to the transportation system. Some facts would be helpful. What's the cost in well designed bike infrastructure; bike lane, sharrow... required to move a person from home to work by bike compared to the cost in motor vehicle infrastructure to provide a place on the road for a car, a seat on the bus or the MAX by which to move a person from home to work?
To return to something I said in the earlier post, the increasing presence of people riding bikes on the road as transportation isn't just a consequence of people being too cheap to drive, or wanting to be fit. They're there in no small part, by design, because of recognition that capacity for motor vehicles on the road for transportation purposes, and the practical ability to expand motor vehicle roads is limited.
Bike use should not be taxed or otherwise obliged to provide monies towards transportation infrastructure costs when they are actually reducing costs to the transportation infrastructure.
07-15-2009, 10:19 AM
Joseph Rose of the O is reporting that Webtrends will be pulling the ad soon. The ad drummed up a lot of comments, so from Webtrends' point of view it was a successful campaign.
Apparently, most of the answers to the question "Should cyclists pay a road tax?" were NO. :)
Full article at: http://blog.oregonlive.com/commuting/2009/07/webtrends_ready_for_the_next_q.html
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