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Metro, BTA support bike tax concept [updated]

Posted by on November 12th, 2008 at 10:57 am

*[UPDATE: I have edited this story to clarify that the bike tax is not, at this time, a part of Governor Kulongoski’s Jobs and Transportation Act.]

Sauvie Span Rally-9.jpg

The BTA’s Karl Rohde (in red) says he
supports the concept of a bike tax.
(Photo J. Maus)

Both Metro and the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) are supportive of an idea to create a bike tax.

According to BTA lobbyist Karl Rohde, the idea — which he stresses is still just a “concept” at this point — was one of the recommendations of the Governor’s Transportation Vision Committee (on which he and BTA director Scott Bricker were a part of).

Governor Kulongoski has not included the bike tax in his Jobs and Transportation Act of 2009 that he announced last week.

The bike tax comes up just briefly in a section of a report given to Kulongoski titled, Transitional First Steps: Immediate actions for an evolving transportation system. The report reads (emphasis mine):

…Existing programs, such as the Safe Routes to Schools program, which receive federal, state and local funding, should be expanded to reach more of Oregons children through education and infrastructure improvements.

Implementing a point-of-sale excise tax on the purchase of adult bicycles should be used to enhance bicycle transportation, including Safe Routes to Schools.

(Update: The discussion of the tax so far has revolved around a fee of between $5 to $20 per bike. The committee also urged a 0.5% increase in the amount devoted to bike infrastructure in the Oregon Bicycle Bill.)

Rohde says he supports the bike tax concept for two main reasons. First, he feels like it will be an important political tool to counter arguments that bikes don’t pay their share to maintain and build roads.

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Rohde says the revenue source created by the tax “would be safer” than other funding streams. “If we’re relying on gas tax or something like that to pay for bike programs, it could be at risk,” he told me via telephone yesterday.

He likened the BTA’s support for the idea to licenses for hunters and fishermen. Rohde said hunting and fishing groups are supportive of the licenses (they’ve even pushed to make them more expensive) because the money goes to firearm safety education and other programs.

Metro, a regional, elected government agency, also seems to support a bike tax idea. In their recently published case statement that was sent to Congress as part of a funding effort by the Rails to Trails Conservancy, Metro included the text below in a section titled, New Funding:

Potential for Bicycle Community Contribution. Pursue a contribution or registration fee for bicycles to engage cyclists and to address concern, however mistaken, that cyclists dont carry their weight. This may be an important equity effort, rather than a key funding source.

It will be interesting to see how the bike tax idea develops in the coming months. Depending on your point of view, it can be seen as a massive mistake, or a welcome opportunity to finally silence critics who have long complained that bikes don’t pay their way.

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Dennis
Guest
Dennis

Honestly, I don’t mind paying a little extra, for safe roads. However, What are we trying to stay safe from? I guess a good example, would be charging non-smokers a fee, to create non-smoking places. Doesn’t that sound a bit odd in that context. Once people realize that automobiles are not a “right” but a “privilege”, and pedestrians and bicyclists are using their “rights”.

Are they going to charge a fee on shoes? to create pedestrian friendly areas? This just sets a negative precedent.

Fritz
Guest

Bah. Tax the things that cost society.

Elly Blue (Columnist)
Member

My concern here is what Karl means by saying that other sources of bike funding (such as they are) might be at risk.

It looks as though there is going to be new federal and state momentum building to invest in transportation infrastructure and countering climate change. There isn’t any better return on investment in these two areas than bike infrastructure. To hear talk about belt tightening in this area worries me, a lot.

Icarusfalling
Guest
Icarusfalling

I cannot even believe these groups are thinking of supporting this ludicrous idea.

For example, if it was not for unsafe drivers, there would not be unsafe routes to schools.

I am all for improvements, but they should be funded by those that make improvements necessary.

This will just open the door also for the entirely crazy licensing of cyclists, an idea tried and failed in many places, including partially in Portland.

K'Tesh
Guest
K'Tesh

As much as I’d like to shut up the “don’t pay their way” people, I think that the solution is to not to tax, but to show people where the money really comes from, and how it is laid out.

Most, but not all, cyclists are also drivers, so they’d be taxed twice. Also, who’s going to pay? Are they gonna tax Little Jimmy who is getting his first two wheeler? Or John, the sophomore in High School? Come on…

I think that perhaps The Oregonian, as pennance for their sensationalizing the whole “US VS THEM” issue should actually do a front page spread showing how much each mode of transport costs, and use real figures, including health costs/and burial costs for those killed in each mode, rather than glossing over the fact that over 40,000 people die in the US every year in car crashes (compared to India’s 100,000 fatal car crashes/year (source PBS last night)).

Also, peds use the road funds, so lets make sure that they pay their share too… How much tax goes on their shoes?

Karl Rohde, BTA
Guest

Just for the purpose of this discussion, it should be noted that the idea that was kicked around at the Governor’s Transportation Vision Committee was something in the order of $5 to $20 per bike purchase. There is a lot of research to do on this, but we are willing to be a part of that discussion.

Andy
Guest
Andy

Simply put:

I am willing to pay for those things that I want.

I want bike lanes/infrastructure, so I’ll happily pay for it.

Same with universal health care.

Think of how nice it would be to not have to search for cash for all these bike based projects. The money is just there, waiting for cyclists.

My only concerns would be that this money would get diverted away from cycling at some future point, and that because there is this tax based source of funding that other (federal) sources of funding would dry up.

Dennis
Guest
Dennis

Elly,

Unfortunately, the rest of the country sees automobile infrastructure as more beneficial, as it is seen to enhance auto sales, fuel sales, tires etc.

I see automobile jobs as being less than productive, because much of the funding immediately vanishes overseas. But try convincing auto workers in detroit, or the petroleum companies of this fact.

Unfortunately, I see bicycle transportation funding being re-routed too easily to automobile projects, as a way to “enhance the economy” and people that disagree, will be called “unamerican”. To be honest, I see Portland as being a bit of an island of sanity, floating in a sea of unconscious living. It’s going to have to remain a local effort, and eventually, the rest of the country will see how well we’ve done, and start copying our efforts as well.

N.I.K.
Guest
N.I.K.

So when cyclists already pay their fair share and then some, the answer to the shirkless hypocrites in the “user pays!” camp is to establish an additional tax, rather than to point out the myriad ways we do pay? Pathetic. If it allows additional infrastructural improvements and public service campaigns, great. If instead, however, a huge chunk of the revenue generated by the tax winds getting up devoted to, say, actually running a licensing or licensing-similar system, then you’ve just spat in the eye of those who pedal twice over – not only are you wasting money on stuff that isn’t beneficial, but you’re also giving fuel to the bicycle detractors! Obviously, their next step after the establishment of a tax is to say, “Okay, bikers, now you’ve got a way to pay. We want all funding not coming out of your pocket diverted back to freeway and interstate infrastructure.”

Eric
Guest

The bicycle tax as part of the 1899 Cycle Path legislation had an important role in creating legitimacy for bicyclists as roadway users. Bicyclists’ refusal to pay the tax contributed greatly to the deterioration of the effort to build cycle paths in the early 1900s.

It seems likely to me that a tax today will not generate large amounts of money to fund infrastructure, but it does, as the Metro report suggests, “engage cyclists and to address concern, however mistaken, that cyclists dont carry their weight.” I think this is an instance where bicyclists “lose the battle” but “win the war.” We give a little to gain a lot.

Moreover, I would note that Fred Merrill, the largest bicycle dealer in Portland, and perhaps on the west coast, in 1899 took out large display ads in The Oregonian to support the tax and say

who would be more benefited in having more cycle paths, better roads, and better streets than the Fred. T. Merrill Cycle Co., who sells 50 per cent of all the ‘cycles sold in the Northwest? We will furnish free of charge a year’s bicycle tax with every ’99 new Rambler sold for cash at retail price.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Which most fundamental need would such a bike tax meet? The suggestion that a tax would appease people making complaints ‘…that cyclists dont carry their weight.’, or ‘…counter arguments that bikes dont pay their share to maintain and build roads.’, is weak.

People lodging those complaints likely have only one main objective: discouraging people from riding bikes for transportation. In other words, ‘Get the bikes off the roads’.

On the other hand, if the tax were called for because funding was needed for education of people intending to use bikes for transportation, in safe operation of bikes in traffic, that could make some sense. That might be supportable.

For a funding base, point of sale on bikes doesn’t seem so good. Turn-a-round on purchase of a new bike isn’t sufficiently frequent. Tax on a bike necessity such as tires would probably represent a better source.

N.I.K.
Guest
N.I.K.

Oh, and then there’s the whole “if they succeed…” scenario where all funding shrivels up into a crusty black clot, infrastructure turns to dust, kids eat sludge out of the gutter, surplus Postum instead of coffee, and so on.

I’ll learn to finish posts properly one day, I swear it. 🙂

Shane
Guest
Shane

So what is the ratio of people that only cycle. I own a car and ride my bike to work. I pay my fair share. I have never heard an intelligent arguement of how bikes don’t pay their way. Most people own a car too, and pay their share that way. If I don’t pay property taxes, I pay through increased rent. I pay my share there too. I pay income taxes. Those are the three sources that fund these areas. I don’t know the numbers but I would say that 95% of people pay all three of these taxes. I don’t mind paying a bicycle tax to shut up idiots, but there is no substance to their arguements. Even if we do pay a tax; to these people, it will never be enough.

a
Guest
a

I don’t mind the idea of a bike tax, per se. But, it’s not realistic to think that it would pay any significant amount for the infrastructure that it purports to support.

Also, I drive too. And, I am paying for the roads already. I really don’t mind if my gas tax goes to cycling projects.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

If you want to collect $$ from cyclists, charge a registration fee, not a tax on new bikes. Create zones in which, to park your bike, you need to have registered for that zone. Zones would conceivably be urban areas or “downtowns”, e.g., Portland, Beaverton, Tigard, etc. An “All Zone” registration could be offered as well; fees would be $5-$10/year. Such a use-oriented system would seem to be more fair than charging someone whose only bicycle use might be on rural roads where no bike accommodations would ever be built. Pros: it would collect from a wider base; Cons: it is a tax on bikes, it would be hard to enforce.

OR,

Convince motorists that accommodating bikes takes cars off the road, making driving easier. Inform motorists that for the amount of the road that a bike uses, and for the amount of wear that a bike causes, the non-gas-tax portion of road construction/maintenance funds is enough to cover what a cyclist demands of the roads. Inform motorists that many (if not most) “cyclists” also own motor vehicles for which they pay registration fees (and gas taxes when they drive). Let motorists know that those cyclists who can afford health insurance are subsidizing the medical care of sedentary drivers by paying into a system that cyclists use much less because they have fewer health issues…

Brian Johnson
Guest

I don’t understand how the money generated by a tax on bike (and/or related equipment) could be enough to meaningfully contribute to infrastructure.

Perhaps we should just go one step further and license cyclists? Use the money from the licensing fees to pay for cyclist education. Teach folks how to ride safely and responsibly on the roads.

Laying down new paint stripes on the roads and calling in “bicycling infrastructure” is all well and good, but what we really need is EDUCATION. If people are going to ride bikes on the roadways — with cars — they need to know how to ride responsibly and safely.

Stacy Westbrook
Guest

Don’t I already pay my way by paying state income tax, having a registered car, and paying county taxes? I’m all for supporting bike education and road improvements, but the idea that cyclists don’t pay their way is pretty faulty. I only know two or three cyclists who don’t own a car at all.

It seems that publishing data about cyclists who also drive could help counter the idea that we’re all carless hippies that cost “real taxpayers” extra money. Adding a tax just to make things seem fair isn’t that compelling.

Kevin
Guest
Kevin

I am for the tax because it gives cyclists more leverage. It would be nice if the tax revenue could only go to bike infrastructure projects and education.

I think the tax should be on adult bikes as well as parts that would be used on such bikes. For example 26″ tires get taxed not 12″.

At this point, its either taxing bikes and supplies or The Chris King Willamette Greenway brought to you by Yakima.

RyNO Dan
Guest
RyNO Dan

Say NO to selective sales tax.
Are we gonna place
a sales tax on trees because the city
puts trees in public places ?
Why cow to a “mistaken” premise ?
It’s not gonna silence the critics.

mmann
Guest

I’m opposed to the tax IF we’re just doing it to silence a “mistaken” belief that cyclists don’t pay their own way. That’s just dumb. We’re either already paying our share or we’re not. I’m afraid that the BTA is on board because they know their programs will get part of the money – good as those programs may be, the BTA is not an unbiased voice in this discussion.

What I’m more afraid of is that this opens the door to licensing (with a fee) cyclists or, worse, requiring all bikes to be registered (for a fee). Not only is that a bad idea, but I’d be forced to thin the stable!

beth h
Guest

Licensing bicyclists and requiring them to take “bike safety” courses is a joke as long as we have roads designed for and favoring automobiles. Also, licensing bicyclists will likely be about as successful as licensing bicycles — and we know how few municipalities are doing that these days.

As for how many people who own only bicycles (and not cars) do so out of choice, we simply can’t know, or even assume that we know. I sold my car in 1990 strictly for economic reasons (I couldn’t afford to insure and fuel it anymore); the environmental and social reasons didn’t become apparent to me until much later.

Taxing folks who ride because they’re too broke to afford a car seems harsh as well as pointless.

Further, many used bikes are sold, traded, stolen and/or otherwise procured in a large and vaguely “underground” (read: unregulated) marketplace that the federal government has little control over. If they could exercise more control over the used bike scene the revenues would be ten times as great as those from new bikes.

Until we can truly change the transportation paradigm to favor people and not automobiles, I am in favor of less regulation for bicycles and bicycle riders, not more.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

This is a retarded idea. Whats next? Taxing shoes for building sidewalks?

Cars are the problem with the transportation system. Tax them MORE.

Why do we need a ‘safe routes to school program’? Because of people who don’t responsibly drive cars.

Why do we need bike paths? Because of people who do not responsibly drive cars.

How much wear and tear on infrastructure do bikes cause. None to minimal.

Politicians… Listen up. This is easy. Incent desired behavior, i.e. bike riding. Dis-incent the undesired behavior, i.e. bad driving. Got it?

red hippie
Guest
red hippie

I pay BTA $50/year. If I pay for $1 of a bicycle tax that BTA supported, then I pay BTA $0/year. Plain and simple.

We pay for a ton of roads and infrastructure through out general taxes. The whole “Safe kids,/schools” thing is just a red herring, just like all tax hikes are advertised for cops and schools.

This really reminds me of the Northwest Forest Pass Fees. Only a fraction of those actually went to the trails and was the excuse to further de-fund trail maintenance. The result 5 years later is closed trails, less maintenance, and less of a wilderness experience. I left the Sierra Club when they supported (overtly and through lack of action) the passes.

bahueh
Guest
bahueh

I think the BTA has a big reality kick to the head if they actually try to support something like this…

Makes me even more glad I get factory direct pro orders on gear now…and do all my own wrenching.

Seems like a very misplaced and misdirected idea…

Opus the Poet
Guest

I just posted on this very subject on the Yehuda Moon comics comments section.

Here in TX it has been revealed that our gas taxes only pay for 40% of the state highways, and 0% for all other non-Federal roads. In other words everybody pays for state highways, and everybody in the community pays for those streets, and car taxes, well they barely pay for the cost of collecting them in TX. I have proposed a weight based registration fee that will include bicycles to my state rep as a means to fund road repair and maintenance but not new construction. I stated that repair and maintaining the roads was of such high priority that it demanded a separate tax, and that tax should be in proportion to the amount of repair work a single vehicle (or group of that class of vehicle) was capable of causing. From my days studying civil engineering damage caused by motor vehicles can be estimated by a product of weight and speed. The heavier and faster a vehicle, the more damage they would cause to a road. Therefore to reduce costs of repair Gov’t can tax vehicles by weight and reduce the speed limits.

To make this a fair assessment I proposed that bicycles pay only a token tax to cover the costs of mailing the registration plate. I also proposed that registered bicycles be returned to the registered owner when recovered as an additional incentive to register a bike. To reduce the costs I also suggested that registration only be done at the purchase of a bicycle and once every 5 years after, as the amount of damage caused even by heavy bicycle traffic was indistinguishable from the damage caused by normal weathering without traffic, as verified by repeated long-term studies performed in the late 1940s and early 50s.

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

“he feels like it will be an important political tool to counter arguments that bikes dont pay their share to maintain and build roads.”

Except isn’t this just factually wrong? The idea that bikes get a “free ride” on roads is a huge misconception. From what I understand, general taxes “subsidize” roads because it’s a public good.

A bike tax is a step in the wrong direction, towards the ridiculous “pay for what you use” attitude of neoliberals. If more funding is needed for roads, other taxes should be imposed that affects everyone, since roads are (again) public good.

Someone really needs to come up with the figures for how roads are funded to clear up this misconception.

BURR
Guest
BURR

just one more reason the BTA is becoming increasingly irrelevant

c
Guest
c

How about an optional tax – a check box on state tax forms that says “$10 for better bike paths?” Judging from these comments, many people would be happy to pay. Best of all, it would not discourage ridership or bike retail in the area. Taxing bike sales seems pointless; I’m not planning to buy a bike from a store anytime soon. I’m more intrigued by the idea of taxing tubes and tires at a low $0.10 level. A high tax on anything would just drive sales out of the area.

A bike/rider registration tax seems like the worst possible way to increase ridership, especially amongst occasional an nascent riders. Who would go through the trouble of registering for a spontaneous trip to the grocery? Biking is not like driving; it is more like walking. The comparison to taxing shoes is great.

If we were to pay a bike tax, could we kick runners, walkers, and standers off our bike paths? I’d say yes, unless shoes are taxed too. Tax parity!

PdxMark
Guest
PdxMark

I’m fine with a reasonable tax/fee, but a small-scale sales tax on a tiny tax base with a resulting tiny amount of revenue seems pointless. Maybe a voluntary(?) per-person user fee – not licensing – that provides some benefit… maybe statewide registration of the owner’s one or more bikes (up to 5?) in case of theft or some other benefit like a bumper sticker for our cars or something…. New bikes is just too small a taxing base.

(Please delete the duplicate posting in the wet riding thread.)

John Peterson
Guest
John Peterson

As a biker who already pays property taxes, income taxes, and vehicle related taxes, I think a new bike tax is a bad idea. The taxes I already pay that are directed towards transportation should be funding bike infrastructure.

No bike tax
No bike license
No mandatory helmet law

All of these proposals (which for some reason keep coming from many in the bike advocacy establishment) will discourage people from biking.

ValkRaider
Guest
ValkRaider

Any tax on new bicycles needs to be less than sales tax in neighboring states, otherwise our local retailers will see a decline in business.

I oppose the tax, for all of the good reasons people have mentioned.

joe
Guest
joe

how stupid.

I cannot imagine two worse reasons for supporting an idea. Glad to know that we have such bright bulbs arguing for our side.

Our recent experience with higher gasoline prices proved that
1. you can make a small dent in driving demand by raising prices and
2. people are willing to pay alot more than $2 for gas.

If we need more money for local infrastructure projects, this would be a much more efficient way of raising it than a myriad of small rev. generating fees.

lothar
Guest
lothar

#20 mman

You took the words right out of my mouth. To create a tax just to change a “perception” is ridiculous . Other than gas, I can’t think of any other point of sale tax in this state and they want to start with bikes ?

Tony Fuentes
Guest

At this point in the game I don’t see how this excise tax as currently envisioned effectively meets the goals being outlined.

“Silencing the Critics”

1) The excise tax will collect $1.5 million per year STATEWIDE.

2) This $1.5 million per year is part of a $1 BILLION transportation funding package.

I can’t imagine folks who currently and incorrectly believe that bikers are free-riders will “pipe down” because of this paltry tax.

Additionally, this tax will have public administrative costs that cut into the level of realized funding – especially since it is a new tax entity. Not to mention that retailers are envisioned as the tax collectors in this case, which means additional administrative costs will be assumed by these private parties.

“Reliable Funding Source for Bike Infrastructure”

This has some merit but there is a rather ambiguous view on the part of public authorities on what bike infrastructure actually is.

Given the role local funding matches and the like has in terms of leveraging transportation funds, this $1.5 million is as likely to supplant existing funding used for “bike infrastructure” as complement it.

Ultimately, $1.5 million statewide is not much to rely on and not much to leverage.

Werner
Guest
Werner

Forget a $20 tax/fee on each bike sold retail. How much revenue will that raise, what will it cost to administer, how much pavement will be laid for bikes to ride on and peds to walk on? No one has told me the answers to these simple questions.

Tax me more so I can have a say? I already earned a say when I got triple-tapped by the income tax, property tax, and auto-related fees/taxes I pay.

Tax the hell out of gas. .25-.50 per gallon.

Tax the *hell* out of studded tires.

Graduated tax increases on large vehicles, SUVs, pickups, etc., the heavier you are, the more your registration fees are.

Increase the tax on cigs even more.

(I would suggest taxing booze more, but that is when I start to feel the hurt…please do not tax my booze more. 🙂

bahueh
Guest
bahueh

I think if anyone really stopped to do the math on this, it would be a fairly irrelevant amount of income….
a few million bucks at most, which when put to the pavement, really wouldn’t go that far to maintain or build new biking infrastructure…

lets call it “No Bike Left Behind”…underfunded, undersupported, and destined to fail…

a.O
Guest
a.O

I am outraged that BTA would consider supporting this. My membership and future contributions are on the line, and I don’t say that lightly. BTA and everyone who supports a sustainable transportation system should oppose this ludicrous idea. Tax the users who cause the problems, not the ones who solve them!

PdxMark
Guest
PdxMark

As a True Blue Tax and Spend Portland Liberal, I don’t understand the absolute opposition to cyclists paying something toward the transportation infrastructure. A recent article here points out that Portland has spent about $55 million on cycling infrastructure over about the past 30 years. A recent grant request sought $24 million to dramatically extend the bike road network in Portland.

If there are, I dunno, 50,000 cyclists in Portland, we could raise $1 million every one or two two years with an annual or bi-annual $20 registration fee (per person rather than per bike). That amount could greatly help cover the rate of extending bike infrastructure in Portland at a time that road maintenance is falling further & further behind. What’s bad about that? It seems like a minimal fee, quite reasonably proportional to the potentially new car registration fee, and it offsets the issue that riding rather than driving generates no gas tax revenue.

red hippie
Guest
red hippie

In #27, Burr raised an interesting point.

“just one more reason the BTA is becoming increasingly irrelevant”

This happened to the Sierra Club. An organization that was originally orientated at preserving wild lands and promoting their recreation. Now they are far from this original mission to the point of sequestering wild lands and minimizing recreation.

Case in point is the proposed Mt. Hood Wilderness and exclusion of all vehicles, including mountain bikes. All this does is lock up the land to preserve non-anthropogenic uses and prevent recreation.

Is BTA getting away from their core mission. Is it time to lend support to other organizations, such as No Po Greenway that is promoting the development of tangible bike infrastructure, and not just vanity projects such as the 405/Sauvies Island Bridge.

Cheers

Ron
Guest
Ron

Yeah, I have to say, even leaving aside that I own a registered car and so already pay various taxes and fees related to that, this idea is completely misplaced.

I commute to work every day on my bike. When I do so, I:

– Remove one car from the road, reducing congestion
– Remove one car from the road, reducing pollution
– Remove one car from the road, reducing dependence on non-renewable, foreign sources of energy
– Remove one car from the road, significantly reducing wear and tear on the infrastructure
– Leave one additional parking space downtown for people who really do need to drive
– Increase my overall fitness and health, reducing the load on our health care system now and in 20 years when I am really an old fart

In fact, if you put monetary values to all of the above, regular cyclists (I won’t define regular here) should receive at least a tax deduction (wait, where have I heard that before?), if not an outright cash rebate every year.

I work hard, when on my bike, to share the road and be respectful and compromising with the drivers around me — but I could not care less about people who think I have no right to the road just because I am on my bike, and supposedly am not paying my way. Could not care less. This silly tax will not change their minds.

Come on BTA. We are already part of the solution, do not encourage monetary punishment for doing The Right Thing.

Dan
Guest
Dan

This is silly. It’s cars not bikes that don’t pay their “fair share”:

Greenhouse gases
Public health
National security
Nox, co, unburned hc

The amount of taxes are small, and won’t effect my pocketbook much. However I strongly protest any policy that makes it any more difficult to ride a bike. That is the wrong direction.

Jordan
Guest
Jordan

If passed shouldn’t the tax on adult mountain bikes go to efforts to improve off-road trails? The tax if inacted should go to the proper uses of the bikes.

maxadders
Guest
maxadders

Smells like a slippery slope towards rider licensing, mandatory bike registration, etc. In short, all those programs the uninformed bicycle opponents seem to think will fix everything. Yeah, unenforcable regulation. Fixing stuff. Great plan.

Refunk
Guest
Refunk

I say we all dress up as eighteenth century Cayuse or Multnomah Indians or as euro-honky North American rebels and steal into BTA offices and Bike Gallery showrooms and dump their bicycles out the windows into the Willamette in protest!*

*1. Colonists at the Boston Tea Party “disguised” themselves as American Indians when they boarded ship to dump tea over the side in protest of Brit tax policy, and 2. I have no idea where BTA offices are and how far the pitch to the river might be from their windows, and I know bikes would have to be bike-trailered to the Esplanade or McCall Park to chuck them from any BG.

How about some examples of an actual “legitimizing” effect from any bicycle taxation in recent history? It could only ever be a token funding source, maybe not even enough to support a change in auto driver and bicyclist education programs (yes, I have no numbers for that statement).

And what happens to that symbolic funding when huge numbers of Stumptowners move across the river Columbia to the abandoned fur trading outpost and become long-distance commuters in protest of the new bike tax?

Oh, right, like that’s ever gonna happen. Sorry, we’ve already had a cold day in Hell: a man of intelligence & grace, who happens to be black, will soon sit in the presidential palace! SO, Portland, just keep doing what you’ve been doing and continue to lead the nation in bike use. Even if Salem imposes some kinda bike tax, registration fee, licensing, etc., it’s the culture [note, I did not write: “bike culture”] here that grows bike use; a $10-20 fee is how many beers/lattes? In Portland, at least, it will just be a speed bump en route to bike equity in the transportation system, and where Portland goes, the rest of the country may follow.

maxadders
Guest
maxadders

@Jordan #42, great point. Why should a $2000 mountain bike be taxed as if it would be used on county roads? Should we tax “commuter” style bikes higher, since they’ll be using infastructure more than weekend comfort bikes? What about a fixie tax to make the posengers pay for upkeep of a velodrome they’ve never heard of?

CJ Eder
Guest

Mandatory funding of symbolic gestures isn’t taxation its tithing.

n8m
Guest
n8m

Im all for paying a tax if it will build us an actual infrastructure.

Sherwood
Guest
Sherwood

Ron (40) sums it up nicely. This is silly and the BTA support seems to be a futile attempt to placate various whiners at the Portland Tribune and other sites. It will not work. Basic economics tells you that you do not tax things that you want to encourage.

My BTA renewal is sitting on my desk. If they don’t think this through the money goes to the Oregon Food Bank.

K'Tesh
Guest
K'Tesh

I liked the suggestion “c” made in #28

Make a checkbox on your tax forms an optional feature, and I’m sure you’d have the funding you needed by all the grateful cyclists.

Don’t push this tax on us, then expect us to be happy with the incentives you are offering to hybrid cars.

They should be paying US for all the damage that we are NOT creating by driving.

Jonathan Maus (Editor)
Guest

please note: I have edited the story to clarify that the bike tax is not part of the governor’s plan at this time. it is simply an idea/concept that is supported by metro and the bta.

whether or not the bike tax is ultimately included in the bill remains to be seen.

i regret any confusion.