Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on March 10th, 2009 at 11:09 am
“The costs of providing facilities to accommodate and encourage bicycling are minimal in comparison to the value derived by reducing the impacts of our present reliance on motor vehicles for transportation.”
— from the BTA’s statement
The Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) issued a press release today stating their formal opposition to a proposal that would require all bicycle owners in the state of Oregon (over the age of 18) to register their bicycles.
During that interview, I asked how he thought bike advocacy groups would respond. Now we know. To find out where the BTA stands on this issue, read their full statement below (emphasis mine):
The Bicycle Transportation Alliance opposes bicycle registration and other annual fees on bicycle ownership because:
• The net revenue realized would not contribute significantly to the construction and maintenance of roads and the ancillary facilities necessary for complete streets,
• The cost of registration would discourage bicycling – a clean, healthy and sustainable transportation alternative, and
• Bicyclists already pay more than their share of road costs through other taxes.
Past efforts to require bicycle registration and the experience of other communities have demonstrated that the net proceeds, after deducting the administrative costs, of bicycle registration programs are minimal. Discussions of these proposals during prior legislative sessions have demonstrated that bicycle registration is not a viable method for funding transportation facilities. Most other states and communities with registration programs have discontinued them for this reason.
Bicycling provides a clean, healthy and sustainable alternative mode of transportation. The costs of providing facilities to accommodate and encourage bicycling are minimal in comparison to the value derived by reducing the impacts of our present reliance on motor vehicles for transportation. Rather than discouraging bicycling by requiring cyclists to pay even more of the costs imposed by motor vehicle operation, policy makers should be exploring ways to make bicycling safer, more convenient, and accessible for all citizens.
Many proponents of bicycle registration hold the erroneous perception that motor vehicle operators pay the costs of their use of the transportation system through gas taxes and that bicyclists do not pay their fair share of road construction and maintenance costs. In fact, the gas taxes paid by motorists are not sufficient to pay these costs. Property taxes and a variety of other fees that are levied without respect to the mode of transportation used by the taxpayer provide the balance of the road construction and maintenance funds. Bicyclists actually contribute more through these fees than the costs attributable to their use of the transportation system.
Reaction to Krieger’s bill has been very negative, and the criticisms are coming from both sides of the aisle. The Oregonian’s “just right of center” opinion columnist Elizabeth Hovde wrote a piece yesterday titled, Cyclists already contribute their fair share.
To see how a local television station has covered this story, check out the report just published by KGW-TV (Portland’s NBC affiliate).
Opposing this bill was a must for the BTA. When Krieger mentioned the bill to BTA lobbyist Karl Rohde last week (Rohde hadn’t seen the bill yet), Krieger told me that Rohde “did not think it was totally unreasonable.”
Rohde has made it clear that he has a productive, working relationship with Krieger and in comments made on this site, Rohde has said that he expects Krieger to support the BTA’s push for a vehicular homicide bill this session. Even so, I would love to be in the room when Krieger and Rohde next meet.