Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Columbian: Clark County commisioners want to look into bike license fee

Posted by on July 15th, 2009 at 4:05 pm

The Columbian newspaper is reporting that Clark County Commissioners want staff to look into a plan to create a bicycle licensing fee.

L to R: Clark County Commissioners Steve Stuart, Tom Mielke, and Marc Boldt.

Here’s a snip from reporter Michael Andersen’s story:

Saying they’re short on cash for new bike lanes and trails, Clark County’s commissioners said Wednesday that they’re willing to consider charging to license bicycles outside city limits.

“As a bicyclist, I would pay a licensing fee if I had better trail access,” Commissioner Steve Stuart said in a work session on bicycle and pedestrian routes in the county. “We license our dogs. You license your car. Why wouldn’t you license your bikes?

Commissioners Marc Boldt and Tom Mielke agreed, asking to set up a new work session on the issue.

“It’s a good funding source,” Boldt said.

After Andersen called me for comment on the story, I immediately inquired with Clark County to learn more about the context of how the idea came up.

I spoke with Laurie Nicholson, the project manager of the Clark County Bike and Pedestrian Plan. She confirmed for me that the comments reported by Andersen came up during a work session for that plan. Nicholson said it is only an idea at this point and stressed that there is no proposal on the table at this time (given this, I was surprised The Columbian would do a story on it already).

“During our discussion, Commissioner Stuart inquired about whether or not we’d looked into raising money through some sort of bike license. I said we’d look into it and report back.” Nicholson plans to take the idea to the Bicycle Advisory Committee when they meet next Tuesday (meeting details below).

This will be interesting to follow. The idea to license bicycles to raise funds came up in Salem this session and was met with vehement (some said a tad too vehement) opposition. The BTA formally opposed the idea, and ultimately legislators did not deem it a high enough priority to spend time on.

Read the Columbian article (they’re expected to publish a more thorough version of their story by tomorrow).

If you live/ride/work in Clark County and want to keep tabs on how/if this idea progresses, consider showing up to next week’s Bike Advisory Committee meeting:

    Clark County Bicycle Advisory Committee Meeting
    7/21, at 6:00 p.m.
    Conference Room 433 (Fourth Floor) at the Public Service Center (1300 Franklin Street, Vancouver, WA).

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  • Paulo July 15, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    You’ll raise a total of about 8 cents. Hmm, not worth it. Try tolling automobiles, raising fuel taxes (federally), matching Washington or California’s auto license fees, a state sales tax……

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  • Serviceburo July 15, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    Ok, let’s look at it this way. If we all decide to nut up and license at least one bike each we create a new source of political power for the cycling community. We gain the ability to post documented numbers of how significant we are both in population and economic impact on the local transportation grid.

    From this we gain new bargaining power in policy making as other factions can no longer dismiss us as a fringe group. If we as cyclists really want to be enfranchised in the political process, then we have to be willing to pay the membership fees.

    We know that we are legion, but the other groups cna easily turn a blind eye. It’s time to start using their system against them and take our rightful place at the policy table.

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  • mykle July 15, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    We license cats, we license shoes … why shouldn’t we license bikes?

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  • Paul July 15, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    So would Portland (or other Oregon) residents be required to have a license to ride in Clark County? I’m sure that would have a positive effect on the economy there.

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  • Blair July 15, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    By the time the program is paid for, there will be next to nothing left for real improvements on the streets. Just look at all the abandoned bike license programs from the ’70s all over the country.

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  • BURR July 15, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    licensing is generally reserved for things and activities that are in one way or another potentially harmful to your health and/or an extreme burden on public resources, hence the licensing of motor vehicles, domestic pets, doctors, engineers, barbers and tattoo artists.

    We’ve already established that cyclists pay more than their fair share through either general tax revenues that are used for transportation infrastructure, or other licensing and registration fees (e.g. for that motor vehicle most of us still own).

    This is just another case of a cash-strapped government body trying to squeeze a minority constituency for all the extra can get.


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  • Quentin July 15, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    I wonder why it would only be applied outside of city limits? If the funding issue also applies to “pedestrian routes” then why not also require a pedestrian license? You license your dog, so it only makes sense that you would need a pedestrian license to walk your dog! Duh!

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  • Kanga July 15, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    Snarky comments that immediately came to mind…

    I’m a cyclist who would prefer not to pay a licensing fee and if I don’t get platinum-level trail access because of it, so be it. But (if this proposal goes through) I don’t get that choice, do I?

    We’re short on cash, why not just tax everything (e.g. a sales or value-added tax)? It’s a good funding source.

    Oh, too many people don’t like that idea? Let’s just tax a minority class of users, like tobacco or alcohol or rich people or bicyclists. They might complain, but they can always stop smoking/drinking/being rich/riding a bike.

    We license cars and dogs, why not strollers, kayaks, skateboards, and shoes? Oh, and don’t forget bicycles, hang gliders, and broomsticks.

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  • fredlf July 15, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    This has nothing to do with raising revenue. This is only for raising political capital from their “bikes should pay their way”, fact-free constituents.

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  • buzz July 15, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    hhhmm, any chance they are going to license the pedestrians that walk that path as well??

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  • KJ July 15, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    I don’t live in CC but here is my opinion on the issue:

    If I had to licence my bike I would, but I am not going to go out and support it. It seems like the idea has crashed and burned wherever it’s been brought up across the nation.

    From what I understand such a program would cost more than it generates.
    It seems like there is no way that the program could actually raise revenue past, maybe, paying for itself. In addition to the mess it would create trying to make everyone licence thier bike etc.

    But we all know the real reason is so people who cycle can be as easily identified via “licence plate” as a car, to be held accountable for thier riding. (understandable but not the only solution to the problem) and to make things ‘fair'( what I feel is the bigger issue.)

    I would like to think thier idea is solely to generate revenue for bikes, but… well.

    For the record, I grew up in a town with bike cops, who pulled over bikes. (That would be Davis, CA), enforcement doesn’t have to mean licensure. But where is the money going to come from for enforcement? Education?

    I’d much rather see something like a bicycle sales tax, a one time fee for each new bike purchase (not used/resale), with that money earmarked for adding to bike infrastructure and improvements. It seems like that would have less bureaucracy and more profit for bike infrastructure that way. Bike sales are booming and are going to continue to do so.

    However I would be afraid it would also cause pulling of funding that is usually spent on bikes in other budgets away.

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  • buzz July 15, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    It would make more sense for Clark County to try to make some sort of benefit ride (like the Bridgepedal, Worst Day Ride, etc.) than to make people license a bike for a “privilege” to ride on trails or in unincorporated areas. Why would people even bother riding their bike outside of the city limits if suddenly they had to pay?

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  • Dave July 15, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    I live in Vancouver. Sounds like a great idea–as long as my bike is charged, per pound, at the same rate that my car would be under a road impact tax. This is long-term fallout from Tim Slime-Man’s Initiative #645 that destroyed our car tab funding stream a few years ago–local governments have to patch and fill any way they can.

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  • are July 15, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    the wedge here is bicycle specific infrastructure, and the implicit argument is that this stuff benefits cyclists. in actual fact, a striped bike lane — even if “well designed” — literally never benefits a cyclist, because (a) obviously the space is already there, (b) ORS 814.420 relegates you to using only that space, and (c) ORS 811.065, the safe passing distance law, expressly does not apply to a motorist passing a cyclist who it in a striped bike lane. the infrastructure benefits only motorists, by pushing cyclists to the side. there is absolutely no reason on earth I should pay for this through a licensing fee.

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  • Dominic July 15, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    historically licensing bikes is NOT a revenue source. If they are looking for funding to make bike lanes and trails, write some grants!

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  • Bjorn July 15, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    “It is a good funding source” – Boldt

    Actually it has been shown empirically time and time again that it is now a good funding source. Look at the example of Washington DC where they repealed their licensing program about a year ago due to the high cost of running the problem. Bike licensing tends to lose money not make it.

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  • m jackson July 15, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    It is a stupid idea for one reason… you the government, will have to enforce the law. Just one more office full of people making a living off of the taxpayer’s back.

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  • Hart July 15, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    You can license my bike when I can license your gun.

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  • HW July 15, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    “We license our dogs. You license your car. Why wouldn’t you license your bikes?”

    So let me get this straight. Residents are supposed to VOLUNTARILY go down and pay to put a sticker or something on their bike, which then the police would only be able to enforce by stopping every cyclist and checking for said identification?

    “Sorry little Sally, I can’t take you riding on the community trails this year, because I don’t have the money to register your little Barbie bicycle!”

    Where will it end? Mandatory helmet taxes? Yearly safety & emissions for cyclists to ensure that your panniers are up to code and you’re not dripping tri-flo, therefore negatively effecting the rivers and streams?

    Hands down, waste of money and time, and will most certainly blow up in their face.

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  • ben July 15, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    Let’s create some real cash. Legalize pot, gambling, and sex. Spineless wimps is all these people are.

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  • Andy July 15, 2009 at 7:18 pm

    This license fee would really help out the homeless too.

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  • Joe July 15, 2009 at 7:18 pm

    3 ass hats! hat trick..lol

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  • Hart July 15, 2009 at 7:48 pm

    Legalize pot, gambling, and sex.

    Sex is illegal? Where do you live, Utah?

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  • Schrauf July 15, 2009 at 8:01 pm

    Par for the course. Vancouver also has a helmet law, thanks mostly to the Vancouver Bicycle Club. I bet they support a steep license fee as well.

    Bikes are dangerous! We need helmet laws. Licensing. Requirements to check in with the police each time we ride our bike. A night riding ban. Wet weather ban. Hell – get on the sidewalk. Soon, nobody will ride anymore, and we can go back to our fat SUV’s!

    Burn baby, burn.

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  • Oh Word? July 15, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    If cyclists have to pay a fee, the county could no longer use that bike lane as the road’s dust pan…

    Also, I have a car and I pay registration. Since my bike does less damage to the roads than my car does, shouldn’t I get a partial refund for driving less??!!

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  • Joe Adamski July 15, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    For the pleasure of watching idiots stew in their own juices, sit back and let the commissioners take the next step. Currently,they are just exploring the idea of licensing. Should they move past exploration into implementation, then is the time to rise up and make a public spectacle of them. There is a far cry between having an idea and acting on it.I ezpect there is a anti government,anti tax constuancy that would suprisingly find themselves in concert with the bike people.

    So,go for a ride.Call your mom.Clean out your closet. Plenty of time to see where this goes..

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  • KWW July 15, 2009 at 8:30 pm

    “We license our dogs. You license your car. Why wouldn’t you license your bikes?”

    Gee why stop there? Let’s tax the air everyone breathes….

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  • Bret July 15, 2009 at 8:42 pm

    Our genius city planners have created a city where it is impossible to conduct many functions without an automobile. I do much by bike but there is much that still requires use of an automobile. When I am on my bike my licensed vehicle is sitting in the driveway. I have paid my transportation duties.

    Furthermore the bike lanes of Clark County and Portland are littered with rocks and debris that is rarely cleaned up. How long would the Commissioners tolerate this if their windshield was cracked everyday on their way to work. I have paid my dues and respectfully request the city to sweep the bike lanes weekly.

    I agree with earlier posting that we need to return to original weight based fee system. This was one of the best taxes that was stupidly beat back by the Eyeman idiots that dictate policy through referendum.

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  • Joe July 15, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    #24 love it… i feel the same!

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  • YOUR-INN.COM July 15, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    The freedom associated with riding is what draws many people too, once you start regulating everything that bikes are doing. Most of that freedom is gone as well as the fun in riding

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  • Hart July 15, 2009 at 10:29 pm

    Glad we’re licensing dangerous things like bikes and house cats instead of infringing upon our God given right to own license-free fire arms.

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  • BURR July 15, 2009 at 10:47 pm
  • efglez July 15, 2009 at 11:07 pm

    Sounds like a good way to get people scared not into going out for a Sunday stroll in the park with their bikes…
    My taxes pay for road work and I use a bike all the time now. I do not see why I should be penalized for using something that makes no pollution, potholes or noise!

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  • She July 16, 2009 at 12:13 am

    So go ahead, institute a “tax” on bikes for those who have no other form of transportation, what about those that REALLY can ONLY afford a bike to get to work – now you are going to force them to license or ticket them and potentially stop them from getting to work by bike. Gee, in a down economy that is really smart, what about the payroll taxes lost or the general overall contribution to the economy lost by someone restricted from commuting by bike, duh, that makes a lot of sense!

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  • She July 16, 2009 at 12:20 am

    We need someone/some people to put into eloquent organized words the explanation of why biking is good for EVERYONE, cyclists and non-cyclists alike! As it stands it is not clear to those “non-believers” that we have a clear benefit to the entire society.

    Where do our transportaion $ really come from? Are cyclists all contributing already to the road construction, maintenance and planning research for development of bikeways?

    In my heart I believe we are more than contributing but we need to come up with some clear, concise, factual evidence that this is so.

    Please do not flame me – I am trying to help organize our argument so that it is clear to those that are believing that maybe, maybe this is a good idea and even those that believe it really is a good idea (without the maybes).

    We need a good solid response to this movement now and we need to get that out there.

    One of my fears is that what drivers feels is bikes breaking the law is really their misunderstanding of the legal rights that bikes have to the roadways (this can play out in many ways). So we can all sit back and say “I do not break laws” but it is not always about breaking laws it is often about PERCEPTION. The only change I see to that is some HUGE educational campaigns about bikes and cars sharing the road.

    This is a call to all bike advocates to step up to the plate!

    Thanks for getting this far!

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  • She July 16, 2009 at 12:22 am

    Oh yeah another question – are cyclists that do not own any cars or other vehicles paying into the costs for bike infrastructure at all???

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  • Corey July 16, 2009 at 1:06 am

    @She – yes, if they pay property or income taxes.

    Since dog licensing was brought up, I know many pet owners that don’t license their pets. I once even had a vet scoff at the idea when I brought my dog in to get all the necessary shots for his license. I suspect most bike riders won’t license either and the program will be a drain on local coffers.

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  • Drew July 16, 2009 at 4:37 am

    Cyclists that don’t drive SUBSIDIZE car use for everyone else.
    If you think your gas taxes pay for road driving costs, you need to do some research on this. Not only do they fall far short of that, but health costs/environmental costs/and military expenses for securing oil supplies should be included too.
    Drivers are heavily subsidized by everybodys taxes, and future expenses that our children will bear.

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  • Atlanta rider July 16, 2009 at 6:42 am

    I remember the last round of these “let’s discourage cycling” taxes when I was a boy in Florida. They work to get everyone back in the car but are extremely expensive to taxpayers. It would be more honest to just outlaw bicycles. That’s the main goal, right?

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  • Ptld July 16, 2009 at 7:06 am

    Wait you need a licence to drive???

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  • Bob_M July 16, 2009 at 7:23 am

    They should tax stupidity. That income stream could fund platinum paved paths.

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  • neversummer July 16, 2009 at 8:25 am

    Admittedly, I don’t know the details of the situation, or conversation that led to this, but it seems that cycling infrastructure is not taken into consideration with the money that was originally allocated to transportation (Clark County is not unique in this respect). Then when it came time to consider bike lanes and paths it appears all the money is gone (or allocated elsewhere).

    My interpretation is that the commissioners do not see the proposed/suggested/requested cycle infrastructure as necessary or important enough for the dollars they do have so they need to find a new finding source. How about a new tax?

    One could argue the same root cause is what led to the decision in Tigard that allows them to ignore the requirements set out by the Bike Bill.

    It seems our challenge over the next decade is to legitimize cycling such that infrastructure planning and subsequent funding is the norm, not an after thought.

    I know I’m preaching to the choir here.

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  • redhippie July 16, 2009 at 8:51 am

    The economics of a licensing program does not make sense unless there is substantial enough return to justify the administrative overhead. Unless, people are pays $30 or more, it just won’t pencil out. Additionally, cyclist use existing infrastructure but in a way that does not really affect capacity or maintenance, and aleve capacity issues for the remaining drivers. This delays the need to increase the capacity of roads and/or decreases the travel time of the remaining drivers.

    I think what is driving this is two things. 1. Cyclists are essentially tax free. just as Oregon is trying out these GPS based taxations to address more fuel efficient cars, people on bicycles represent a loss of tax revenue to the governments. This is a big deal in suburban communities that carry a high density of roads per capita.

    2. The anti-cyclist thing is a backlash. People are using it (lars larson) to create division and garner votes or attention. Unfortunately the cyclist community help to foster this with the constant “us vs them” tone of the rhetoric.

    I wouldn’t stress this too much, even if it did pass it would fall apart under it’s own stupidity. Move on.

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  • tk. July 16, 2009 at 9:41 am

    “We license our dogs. You license your car. Why wouldn’t you license your bikes?”

    Yeah, that’s a logically sound argument. Now here’s mine:

    We don’t license rollerskates. We don’t license skateboards. Why would we license bikes?

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  • Donna July 16, 2009 at 9:50 am

    How much money is Clark County spending on the “exploration” of this? I tend to be fairly liberal, but a licensing program that would cost the government more money to institute, administer, and enforce that what is taken in is over the top for me.

    I always had the perception that Clark County was more “conservative” than Multnomah County. It seems I was mistaken. The helmet law made me reluctant to cross the river to spend money. This settles it for me.

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  • El Biciclero July 16, 2009 at 9:53 am

    It’s interesting that the proposal is for bikes “outside the city limits”. What kind of bike-specific, nay, bike-only “trail access” is being referenced here? Are we talking about trails that are available for hiking/walking/running as well? Then why not charge a usage fee at the trail entrance that everyone would pay? What kinds of “bike lanes” would be built outside city limits?

    We license dogs because they can wander off on their own and need to be identified, plus, (it’s rare, but) they can attack and kill people–again, on their own, with no owner present.

    We license cars because they cost enough to make their theft be considered “grand”. We license cars because they do extreme amounts of damage to the environment and existing roadways. Plus, they can kill people.

    As has been mentioned in earlier posts, it is interesting that (as far as I know) I can head down to the “sporting goods” store and buy a rifle with no license required. That sounds like a “good revenue stream” if you ask me (I know, “guns don’t kill people, bullets do”).

    I think earlier commenters have hit on the real issue. It is not about raising funds, it is about a warped sense of “fairness” on the part of non-cyclists. What folks (and the politicians who have to suck up to them) really want is for “cyclists” to feel some of the pain of driving. Proposals like this are only punitive. Paying a license fee won’t grant anyone better enforcement, better “trails” or a seat at any table. It would only serve to build smaller seats so more could be crammed in at the back of the bus.

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  • Oliver July 16, 2009 at 10:11 am

    “Nicholson said it is only an idea at this point and stressed that there is no proposal on the table at this time.”

    I think this is the real point, they’ve suggested to their staff that they look into the idea. (No doubt popular among their non-cycling constituents for the myriad reasons above).

    Given the facts about net revenue of any license program for bicycles they will obviously (?) come to the conclusion that it’s unworkable. Which leads us to the following quote.

    “(given this, I was surprised The Columbian would do a story on it already).”

    There has been a shortage of ‘bike rage’ incidents over there recently for them to use to sell papers.

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  • Anon. July 16, 2009 at 10:33 am

    Boldt: SHOW US THE MATH!

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  • Matt Picio July 16, 2009 at 10:35 am

    El Biciclero (#46) – it’s “outside the city limits” because that’s the county’s jurisdiction. Inside Vancouver city limits is handled by the city of Vancouver.

    Similarly, Multnomah County does not pay for infrastructure in Portland, Gresham, or Maywood Park (but does in Troutdale, Wood Village, and Fairview). Washington County does not pay for Beaverton or Hillsboro, and Clackamas County does not pay for Milwaukie, Lake Oswego, or Oregon City.

    This usually extends to emergency services as well, except for jails, which are always run by the county.

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  • patrickz July 16, 2009 at 10:38 am

    Maybe Wetbends (or whatever) could use this as their next issue to adorn MAX trains, since the bike tax question is no longer up.

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  • geoff July 16, 2009 at 10:41 am

    Doctors, engineers and massage therapists have to be licensed, perhaps we should license politicians. Like knowing a little history, economics and arithmetic.

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  • Brot July 16, 2009 at 10:42 am

    They should tax irrelevant blog comments.

    Also, is now the time for us to send extremely hate-filled letters to the Clark County Council members to demonstrate what a class-act we are?

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  • Dennis July 16, 2009 at 10:45 am

    It seems as though Clark County is earning it’s reputation, for sprawl, and auto-dependent transportation once again.

    It’s frustrating, that Clark County has missed so many great opportunities to improve the culture there (voting out MAX), and continues to act like it’s the 90’s.

    as for a bicycle fee, I have three bikes, that I use regularly, along with my son’s two bikes, and four frames in the garage that are in different stages of assembly. Do I have to pay for each one? Do guests of Clark County need to pay this fee? This whole thing smacks of ignorance, and short-sightedness. They want revenue? try parking a police car on St. Johns Road, and ticketing drivers that are speeding. that would fund lots of infrastructure!

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  • Miss Ena July 16, 2009 at 11:00 am

    You have to give people a reason to want to bike in Clark Co. It’s miserable riding up here, so I’m not paying anything until the roads are up to my f*ing standards.

    I’m making a couple phone calls.

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  • bicycletothesun July 16, 2009 at 11:25 am

    I will NEVER pay a bike licensing fee, insurance, etc. I will be riding ‘dirty’ 24/7/365 if such laws are passed. One of the reasons I use a bicycle for all of my transportation needs is because I don’t have to pay out my ass.

    This is just an attempt for pissed off drivers to have another tool at their disposal to ID cyclists. “Hi, 911? Yes, yellow Cannondale with license plate #4848j just ran a red light on NE Broadway. Please capture him”.

    No thanks.

    This government is going down the shitter for everyday that passes. I refuse to pay $$$ to crutch-up-an-already-doomed-society. Thanks!

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  • Mike July 16, 2009 at 11:47 am

    This is going to lead to less bicycle funding, not more. Bicycle transportation needs to be funded by the big pot, if we create some minimal amount from bicycle licensing, anti-bicycle politicians and advocates will use that as an excuse to cut us out from all the rest.

    And no, this will not give us an extra bargaining chip. Do you really think anti-bicycle sentiment will be affected if we start paying more taxes? We already pay for the roads we use. People still deny it because they don’t like bicycles “getting in the way” of their driving.

    Some people are trying to get us to believe that if we register we’ll get more political respect. That is 100% BS. Don’t you believe it. A registration will change nothing. Criticism of cyclists will simply move to something else.

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  • Mike July 16, 2009 at 11:50 am

    Hey Johnathan, the links to the Columbian article are down, FYI.

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  • El Biciclero July 16, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    “it’s ‘outside the city limits’ because that’s the county’s jurisdiction. Inside Vancouver city limits is handled by the city of Vancouver.”

    Right. I figured that was the reason, but I guess what I really thought was “interesting” was the question about what types of “infrastructure” would be funded outside of an urban environment. It seems more likely that the kinds of things that would purportedly be built or improved would be trails and such for use by multiple types of users, i.e., NOT bike lanes, which are the only kind of infrastructure specifically dedicated to bike travel. If it is the case that extra-roadular (I just made that word up!), multi-use–and mostly recreation-focused–projects would be the ones touted as funded by bike licensing, then I thought it would be more “fair” if there was a user fee for the specific trail rather than a bike-only fee.

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  • She July 16, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    Drew said:

    Cyclists that don’t drive SUBSIDIZE car use for everyone else.
    If you think your gas taxes pay for road driving costs, you need to do some research on this. Not only do they fall far short of that, but health costs/environmental costs/and military expenses for securing oil supplies should be included too.
    Drivers are heavily subsidized by everybodys taxes, and future expenses that our children will bear.

    Drew that was really my point and my question was sort of rhetorical and sort of seriouse where would you go to get the numbers? Do you have numbers? That is really what I was getting at.

    I do not disagree with you, however I do not think that is clear enough for those that are supportive of an idea like this.

    Show me the numbers.


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  • Mike July 16, 2009 at 12:28 pm


    The numbers are there for anyone who looks for them. These debate has been going on for years and anyone interested in educating themselves can do so, so just do it. Can you use a search engine?

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  • Mike July 16, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    Here we go. This was the first google serach result for “do bicycles pay for roads?”


    It’s about Canada, but it’s the same system in the US and it has a bunch links at the bottom if you’re interested in educating yourself. Sorry about the snarky comment in the last post about search engines.

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  • SAG July 16, 2009 at 1:01 pm


    Thanks for the apology, accepted!

    Now, my point is as this debate continues and is constantly revisited the numbers should be also revisited and displayed so they can be seen.

    Fortunately for me I am employed, have a family, spend as much time as I can volunteering, biking, walking, playing with my pooch, maintianing my home and bikes and really do not have a lot of time to research the numbers myself. I am interested and may do some research to find them but they are NOT as accessible as you seem to think.

    Thanks for the point to the abstract to a research paper, I would like to read the entire paper and will look into that. I would like to research this a bit more but the assertion that the numbers are there and the insinuation that it is easy to find the numbers is not so accurate. If I find numbers to back the theory that bike commuters are subsidizing auto usage I will post what I find.

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  • SteveD July 16, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    El Biciclero #58

    “…what types of “infrastructure” would be funded outside of an urban environment. ”
    There is quite a lot of urban infrastructure outside of the City limits that falls under the County. Within the urban growth boundaries (just outside the cities) it’s hard to tell the difference. So, yes, they are talking bike lanes AND bike trails funding. This whole issue came up while talking about the Bike/Ped Plan, and the Chelatchie Prairie Rail with Trail project (with phase 1) currently being designed near Battle Ground.



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  • SteveD July 16, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    Here is another resource for road funding information. Particularly the section titled “Autos on Welfare”


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  • Mike July 16, 2009 at 1:36 pm


    The abstract is at the beginning of the paper – the entire paper is there below it. It’s 15 pages – that would be quite a long abstract.

    If you don’t have time to scroll down, I don’t know if can help you 😉

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  • Robert Dobbs July 16, 2009 at 2:30 pm


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  • Miss Ena July 16, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    so, I think we should all show up at this meeting on our bikes and let them know who we are and how we feel….cuz they won’t take the time to read our opinions.

    the fat-asses are just upset because they are losing control of people. I’m sure in my lifetime (I’m 36), they will propose putting a barcode on my arm.

    We’re eventually going to pay for our heartbeat. And of course, they will want us to be fat and unhealthy so they can continue to take ownership of the people.

    Oh, and my cat are NOT licensed and neither are my rats.

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  • She July 16, 2009 at 3:13 pm


    Read a chunk of it already and some of the tables have great information and good layout of numbers and I would like to try and find this information for Oregon and Washington, or even possible some county by county numbers for Washington, Multnomah, Clackamas, and Clark Counties.

    Sorry about thinking it was just the abstract, the four hours of sleep from last night are just not cutting it.

    Off to run a bikey errand.


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  • Michael Andersen July 16, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    Here’s a new, working link for the Columbian coverage.

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  • Q`ztal July 16, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    #66 Robert Dobbs
    I think this is the point. As #35 “She” mentions we need a believable, high visibility public figure to show the Public why cycling is good for all road users. I add that this topic is merely a subset of the “where does road money come from?” argument.

    Once the Conservatives see that road maintenance is a major revenue drain they will want to make major road wear causers pay more. This will lead to a push for turning all major roads into toll roads followed by a backlash once they realize that they have severely hobbled commerce and thus business tax revenue in general.

    As long as I’m paying for everyone’s use of roads and subsidizing the commercial use of inefficient heavy trucks that destroy said roads I’d like the choice to determine that said funds are spent wisely.

    Why do we trust an asphalt enamored DOT to make large scale choices which are obviously inefficient and ultimately destructive?

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  • Aneurin July 16, 2009 at 10:26 pm


    Thanks for the update. Looks like Steve Stuart is doing some furious backpedaling here.

    I’d encourage all those in Clark County who reject this nonsense to show up at next Tuesday’s county commissioner board meeting, 10 AM, at the Public Service Center.

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  • Evan July 16, 2009 at 10:38 pm

    Weight-mile tax for all vehicles, with multipliers based on emissions.
    Shoes weigh next to nothing, and don’t pollute, so the tax would be minimal.
    Bikes weigh a little more, and typically cover more ground, and also don’t pollute, so the tax would be higher.
    Next comes motorized scooters. 50cc bikes don’t weigh too much, but they have no emissions controls.
    Bigger scooters weigh more, and have no emission controls.
    Motorcycles, yep, heavier. And still no emissions.
    Honda Civic, weighs even more, but has emissions.
    Harley Davidson, weighs a ton, has no emissions. Bonus tax for no mufflers.
    Toyota Camry, weighs more, low emissions.

    Of course, the amount you drive should be factored in, regardless of mode. A flat tax on a bike that gets ridden by a child in the cul-de-sac is about as regressive as you can get.
    Since gas taxes are not based on weight or emissions, they are also not effective at controlling use.
    Don’t even get me started on that jerk in the Planet-killer Hummer.

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  • Evan July 16, 2009 at 10:49 pm

    Wow, if I had anything intelligent to add to the conversation in the paper I would. But since there is no intelligence in the argument posed by the commissioners, why bother?

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  • Drew July 17, 2009 at 12:58 am

    She asked for the numbers.

    Here are some links that ask the question about who pays for roads:

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  • Joe Adamski July 17, 2009 at 7:51 am

    I do not believe the Clark Co. Commissioners have a clue about how roads work. Their statements in the Columbian mention the need for more money to pay for bike lanes and trails,but ( as we know) bike lanes use the existing shoulder, and only require a little paint to make them happen. The Columbian quotes $232,000 for one mile of bike lane,presuming they had to built/paved, not using existing shoulders required by federal warrants.

    Its no wonder Clark Co is a cycling dead zone. ( I exclude Vancouver in this statement, as they actually have worked to improve facilities in recent years). The Commission is woefully prepared to make any decision on a logical progression toward anything but more of the same. The local paper feeds the car v bike frenzy.

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  • Dave July 17, 2009 at 8:25 am

    The Columbian editorialized against the bike fee in this morning’s (Friday) paper.

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  • chelsea July 17, 2009 at 10:43 am

    Why, oh why, would anyone in their right mind do something that DISCOURAGES the riding of bicycles? I probably already know the answer, but it is really annoying. Why don’t all of these yahoos put their brains together and find out how to discourage excessive motor vehicle use. That would really save us all some $$, as well as physical and environmental health. Sheesh!

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