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It’s official: Oregon now has a $15 bike tax

Posted by on July 6th, 2017 at 3:54 pm

Read it and weep. Or rejoice, if you think it’s a great idea.

With passage in the Senate today, Oregon’s transportation bill is headed to the Governor’s desk for signing.

We’ve got lots more coverage planned, but there’s one thing that I felt should be singled out. Take a deep breath and consider this: Oregon is now the only state in America with a bicycle excise tax.

The tax was opposed by small business owners, advocacy groups, and by many voters; but the political winds were simply too much to overcome. I have some thoughts about how we got to this point that I’ll share in a future post. For now, here are the final details of the bike tax:

  • It’s a $15 flat tax instead of the 4-5% tax initially proposed.
  • Applies to new bicycles with a wheel diameter of 26-inches or larger and a retail price of $200 or more.
  • Expected to raise $1.2 million per year and cost $100,000 per year to administer.


  • Funds will go into the Connect Oregon program and be set aside specifically, “for the purposes of grants for bicycle and pedestrian transportation projects… that expand and improve commuter routes for nonmotorized vehicles and pedestrians, including bicycle trails, footpaths and multiuse trails.”
  • Tax will be collected by bicycle retailers and they’ll be required to file quarterly returns with the Department of Revenue.
  • Bicycle retailers are required to keep receipts and records pertaining the collection of the tax for a minimum of five years.
  • The tax will go into effect 91 days after the legislative session ends (that’d be October 8th if it ends on July 10th as scheduled).

So there you have it. We are taxing the healthiest, most inexpensive, most environmentally friendly, most efficient, and most economically sustainable form of transportation ever devised by the human species.

Oregon’s ranking as a bike-friendly state has slipped in recent years in part because we have a law that mandates use of a “sidepath” if no bike lane is present. I wonder what the League of American Bicyclists will do to our ranking when they hear about this?

The only way to like this tax is to think 1) it will quell the anger from people who think, “Those bicyclists don’t pay their fair share!” (it won’t) or 2) you think the money it raises for infrastructure outweighs the potential disincentive to new bike buyers, the erosion of profits from bike retailers, and the absurdity of it on principle alone.

Time will tell I suppose.

Stay tuned.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and

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291 thoughts on “It’s official: Oregon now has a $15 bike tax”

  1. Avatar Cody says:

    Reading through this text…

    “(1)(a) ‘Bicycle’ means a vehicle that is designed to be operated on the ground on wheels and is propelled exclusively by human power.” — Ebikes are exempt.

    “(5) ‘Taxable bicycle’ means a new bicycle that has wheels of at least 26 inches in diameter and a retail sales price of $200 or more.” — Since this only seems to apply to complete bikes (not parts), you could sell a bike frame + components, and separately purchase a wheel-set and it would be exempt from this tax. I predict we may see more of that…

    1. Avatar Cody says:

      Missed the part below…ebikes are taxed at the 0.5%

      “(g) An electric assisted bicycle as defined in ORS 801.258;

      1. just to clarify. E-bikes are only taxed when they are sold at motor vehicle dealers. E-bikes sold at bicycle shops are exempt.

        1. Avatar q says:

          Weird. I wonder what the tax is if a bike shop sells cigarettes?

          1. Avatar 9watts says:

            e-cigarettes? 😉

    2. Avatar Patrick says:

      Expounding upon that, given the reference to “wheels of at least 26″ in diameter” it seems like you could even sell a fully assembled one-wheeled bike and just sell a single wheel as a separate transaction. Dirty move? Not as dirty as passing a $5.3b package, 80% of that going to cars, and calling it a balanced package.

      Between this and the EV vehicle registration tax that is six (six!) times greater than their gas counterparts, it’s a one-step forward two-steps back situation for sure.


      1. Avatar OregonJelly says:

        80% is still below the statewide mode share right?

        1. Avatar eawrist says:

          If we had only sidewalks and no roads, what would the mode share for cars be?

      2. Avatar Warren S Anderson says:

        Since the most damage to transportation infrastructure is weight, $15 for a 15# bike should translate into $600 for a Harley, $2,000 for a Smart car, $5,600 for a GMC Yukon, etc. I doubt a Yukon pays that much in gas tax. If we’re talking fair share!

    3. Avatar David Hampsten says:

      As a person who lives in a state with a 6.75% sales tax, which works out to a $67.50 tax on a $1,000 bike, I dare say most people in Oregon will happily “suck it up” and pay the tax, and continue to find that Oregon is still a bike-purchaser paradise.

      1. Avatar psyfalcon says:

        Sure, but I am pretty sure Oregon still does not tax cars at all. Or pretty much anything else, except bikes.

        1. Avatar wsbob says:

          “Sure, but I am pretty sure Oregon still does not tax cars at all. Or pretty much anything else, except bikes.” psyfalcon

          Across the U.S. including Oregon, cars, trucks, motor vehicles, all are taxed via their use through taxes on gasoline, diesel, etc. Bikes aren’t fueled on gasoline, etc, which is a key point of the effort to create a law in Oregon to derive tax revenue from the use of bikes for travel.

          I think the possibly worst outcome of this bill becoming law, is that maybe more of the people having a grudge against use of their money to provide infrastructure for biking, will feel even more unjustified in having that feeling than they were before. Maybe that won’t happen though.

          More people are riding, slowly but surely, I’m fairly sure about that, just a guess, but seems logical and visibly apparent. Gradually, they’re helping to make the case for better and more extensive infrastructure for biking. The fifteen bucks isn’t that big a deal if the money is used well. The need for viable opportunities to use the road by means other than motor vehicles, far outweighs the petty ‘paying their fair share’ squabbles some people seem determined to persist with, towards driving and biking.

          1. >>>Across the U.S. including Oregon, cars, trucks, motor vehicles, all are taxed via their use through taxes on gasoline, diesel, etc. Bikes aren’t fueled on gasoline, etc, which is a key point of the effort to create a law in Oregon to derive tax revenue from the use of bikes for travel. <<<

            This isn't meant as a criticism to you or your post, and I am opting to avoid posting a position on whether or not this tax is fair or unfair.

            I wanted to comment, as a cyclist AND a motorist (and a non-resident of your beautiful state but as someone with cycling friends who do live there), to provide the factual information regarding this frequently presented BUT erroneous argument (quoted above) that motorists not cyclists cover road costs through fuel taxes. If this is the reason for the passage of the new bike tax law, it is a shame since it is based on incorrect information.

            Of course, the first part that makes this assumption spurious is the fact that most, close to all, cyclists (or at least those over the age of 16) are also probably motorists who do pay usage taxes. While motorists who cycle may use less gasoline and pay less in gas taxes when riding more than driving, the difference between a 2500-lb (or more) car and a 25-lb bicycle also means far less of an impact on the roads themselves which are being shared.

            Another big issue is that federal gas taxes simply aren't that high and haven't been increased in going on 20 years. They are not sufficient as a single, stand-alone funding source; money for building, repair and maintenance of roads (and sidewalks) has to come from a variety of (tax) revenues.

            Thanks for reading my opinion. To learn more about this topic, including actual statistics regarding taxes used for transportation infrastructure, visit

        2. Avatar Adam says:

          They added a 0.5% new car tax

        3. Avatar David Hampsten says:

          Technically, the $15 “tax” is actually a fee. It’s no more a sales tax than the highly regressive $35 Portland Arts tax is an income tax (it’s more like a poll tax.) And of course hotel stays are also taxed, at a rate that varies city to city.

      2. Avatar OregonJelly says:

        Want to compare your NC income tax? How about your property tax?

        1. Avatar SE Rider says:

          Looks like overall tax burden is a bit higher in NC:

          I know the narrative is that OR has this crazy high property tax rate, but in reality we’re pretty average for the US (#24):

        2. Avatar David Hampsten says:

          Quite frankly, living in NC sucks! As a low-income earner, I’d much rather be living in Oregon without sales tax than living here in NC, with our 6.75% sales tax on general merchandise and a 2% local sales tax on food, the latter to pay for highways here in Greensboro. However, I lived in Oregon for 23 years, 18 of them in Portland, as long as I could afford to, but was finally “priced out” two years ago. Your cost of living is so much higher than here, especially for rent – my rental cost was cut in half by moving out here.

          1. Avatar Pete says:

            I moved from Oregon to California and my income tax rate actually went down .5%. I still spend my hard-earned cash in Oregon though (even if they had a sales tax). Food costs are typically a little higher; not sure about Portland but definitely in Hood River. A night out at our favorite restaurant (Celilo) is on par with San Francisco. I often joke that I can buy a case of Full Sail cheaper at the Safeway in Santa Clara than anywhere in Hood River – including at Full Sail. (I’m told the alcohol taxes are higher in Oregon, but I’m too busy drinking to look them up…).

    4. Avatar Dan A says:

      As pointed out by Kyle in a previous thread, all you have to do is remove the seat and it’s no longer a bike.

      1. Avatar David Hampsten says:

        We need a marketing term for seatless bikes. Maybe “Chop-Shop Cruisers”?

    5. Avatar Matt S. says:

      I can easily spend $15 at a coffee shop before a Saturday ride…

      Seems like a lot of work to save three cups of coffee and a scone worth of cash, oh plus tip 🙂

      1. Avatar Dan A says:

        I don’t own a single bike with the stock saddle on it. It’d be no work at all to get a bike without a saddle and put one on when I get it home :). I prefer old Selle Italias anyway.

        1. Avatar q says:

          Another alternative to avoid the tax would be to buy a bike without a kickstand, but it probably wouldn’t stand up in court.

      2. Avatar Anonymous says:

        If Cascadia becomes its own country someday…….. prices there will go way higher than any of the US.

        1. Avatar Pete says:

          Not if the subduction zone has a say.

      3. Avatar Belynda says:

        How very, very nice for you. For many of us, poverty is a major reason for riding a bike. The only reason I have any savings for my landlord to bleed from me is that I have not owned a car for 20 years, because of living in a city where I can literally bike to everywhere I need to go. The last news I heard about this tax (just a “fee” lol,) it was only going to apply to expensive bikes. At least for adults, the reason for buying a cheaper bike is affordability. This will screw the poorest cyclists who can’t throw around more than an hour’s pay on crapuccinoes.

    6. Avatar bill says:

      i have said all along that if you demand to be a form of transportation and demand to be given fair share of the road, you should also 1) register 2) license 3) insurance 4) tickets……………you damn well make it hell and are beligerant enough to think you are exempt from the road rules. this is about time they did something and its a good must pay your fair share that every other “vehicle” pays in Oregon.

      1. Avatar q says:

        As a driver, the last thing I want are impediments to people choosing to bike instead of drive. The more other people don’t drive, the better off I am when I drive. Registration, insurance, and licenses for bikes accomplish nothing positive for me as a driver. I don’t know what you’re talking about for “tickets”, since people riding bikes already can be ticketed.

      2. Avatar 9watts says:

        Hilarious. I somehow missed this rant. Oh my.

        “demand to be a form of transportation ”

        Walking and biking don’t actually involve any demanding. No one needs to give us permission to do those things. Where permission and licensing come in is with cars (the world over I might add) because everyone recognizes that those machines-with-four-wheels represent unique dangers when someone is behind he wheel, that people aren’t actually innately good at operating them, so without some system of regulating them we’d be in even worse shape.

      3. Avatar q says:

        bill–what’s your view of people who walk? It’s a form of transportation. Facilities for people who walk (sidewalks, crosswalks, signals…) take up lots of right-of-way space and transportation dollars. Yet those people aren’t registered or licensed, and don’t have insurance for walking. Shouldn’t they be required to do all those things, and be taxed for walking so that they pay their fair share?

    7. Avatar Gavin H says:

      Nah. A custom built bicycle costs more than $15 over a mass-produced one. This scenario will not happen. Even if you disassembled a mass-produced bicycle, sold the parts, reassembled, the bike shop isn’t going to front that labor for free. The labor would cost more than $15. Bike shops don’t like this new tax, but I don’t think you’re gonna find them trying to get crafty with scenarios to avoid having to charge the tax. I understand Oregon’s income tax is the highest, or at least one of the highest in the country. But isn’t this because there is no sales tax charged in Oregon? My local sales tax rate here in Poverty, Oz just was increased to 9.5%. On a $600 bicycle (nothing awesome, but not junk either) the tax would work out to $57.00!! The interesting thing about sales tax is the majority of people don’t even take account what the sales tax will work out to be in making a purchase, they just pay it. I suspect the same for the $15 bicycle tax. It’s just that no one likes taxes…

  2. TonyT TonyT says:

    A gobsmacking lack of leadership and reasoning. Terrible. Yeah, that’ll help combat our traffic and global warming.

  3. Avatar Alain says:

    I am against this tax on principle. It is a punitive tax. Bad move Oregon.

    1. Avatar jeff says:

      your principle doesn’t help pay for anything, so it hardly matters.

      1. Avatar q says:

        Of course principle matters. It’s THE key issue in taxation. The belief that principle is important in taxation (“No taxation without representation”…) was a key reason for the founding of our country.

        1. Avatar David Hampsten says:

          Mind you, it’s disputable whether out British cousins were really being represented in Parliament in 1776, since women couldn’t vote and only men who made more than 100 Pounds per year were allowed to vote (less than 1% of the population.) Of course, it’s also disputable if any of us are being properly represented now…

  4. Avatar Kevin says:

    As you point out, this state (and city) like to think they’re progressive.

  5. Avatar Alan 1.0 says:

    Any chance of a line item veto on that?

    1. Avatar Alan 1.0 says:

      Sure, but that was a half hour after my question, and also, signing doesn’t preclude line-item veto, but yeah, pretty much a wishful question.

      Imagine that…a sin tax for bikes.

      1. Avatar q says:

        And it’s important to avoid sin tax errors.

        1. Avatar Alan 1.0 says:

          Spieling counts.

  6. Avatar Big Knobbies says:

    item 5: Keep your receipt or you may be accused of tax evasion!

    Not only are they taxing bikes, I think the greater the fuel efficiency of your car, the higher the tax you pay! Isn’t that great? NOT!

    This is what you get with a 100% D government that is not willing to tackle the PERS problem. Illinois is bankrupt for the same reason – we’ll be following them soon. All these taxes are due only to PERS and nothing else.


    1. Avatar oliver says:

      “I think the greater the fuel efficiency of your car, the higher the tax you pay!”

      I’m livid</i about this. Not only am I already paying twice for the roads via vehicle registration for the roads for not one, but two, motor vehicles that sit in the garage while I ride my bicycle to work. Now I get to pay twice as much for making the sacrifice to own smaller, fuel efficient vehicles, while subsidizing people to use drive alone in giant pickup trucks or 8 passenger SUV's on billions of dollars worth of new freeway infrastructure.

      1. Avatar oliver says:

        missed my tag 🙁

    2. Avatar Jason Skelton says:

      I am sure you followed this issue closely but the legislature tried to remove workers PERS rights but the Oregon Supreme court rightfully ruled one cannot retroactively remove contract rights. What else do you suggest they do on PERS?

      1. Avatar Big Knobbies says:

        Replace the Supreme Court with people who agree that there is no alternative BUT to reduce their benefits. OR, declare bankruptcy, and default on PERS.

        1. Avatar 9watts says:

          You’re still here?

        2. Avatar Belynda says:

          Yeah because a contract is a contract doesn’t apply to people who work for a living.

  7. Avatar J_R says:

    The Connect Oregon program has made $382 million available since the beginning. Of that, a little under $5 million has gone to bicycle and pedestrian projects.

    Does anyone want to bet that the ONLY funds used in future Connect Oregon allocations will be the $1 million collected from the bike tax?

    Does anyone want to bet on whether the administrative fees will be only $100,000?

  8. Avatar Babygorilla says:

    Cynically, I’d say the lobbyists for Kroger, Wal-Mart and Target really earned their paychecks getting that $200 threshold in place.

    1. Avatar paikiala says:

      Or, just maybe, lower income persons get the benefit, and bikes for kids.
      Brompton tires are 16 inches, yes?

      1. Avatar Richard Hughes says:

        Bike Fridays too.

  9. Avatar Mike says:

    “Oregon is now the only state in America with a tax on the sale of new bicycles.”

    That’s not an accurate statement. Perhaps you mean as an excise tax? Any state that has a sales tax (most of them) is already taxing bikes.

    Also, while I understand the desire to zero in on this, it’s disappointing that the immediate reaction of Bike Portland is to first focus on the worst aspect of the bill. I understand that controversy drives website clicks, but I hope future coverage will highlight the many positive non-car elements of the bill.

    1. thanks. i’ll correct that sentence.

      As for this being the first coverage. I’ve published many stories about the bill already. I am working on more comprehensive posts about the bill now. This one was quick and easy to write. Has ZERO to do with clicks. I was on vacation when the bill was released and just got back to the office yesterday. BikePortland is a one-person operation. Thanks for understanding.

      1. Avatar Mike says:

        Understood — have read and appreciated the previous coverage during the legislative session. My critique is that this is your first reaction after the bill has passed the legislature and (pending Gov. signature) is now actual law, and it’s very narrow in scope.

        The journalistic decisions you make in your coverage set the tone for the comments and wider community discussion. I know incremental improvements are unsexy, but this bill seems full of them, and it’s important to celebrate every step toward progress — more $$ for biking, transit, peds; more money for safety around schools; gas tax increases; tolling inching closer to reality, etc.

        Keep up the good work, thanks for reading my feedback.

    2. Avatar B. Carfree says:

      I don’t find the bike tax to be the worst aspect of the bill. It’s annoying, but I would accept it if the rest of the bill wasn’t so horrid. This bill continues to ignore induced demand, continues to ignore travel safety, continues to ignore climate change, continues to over-fund cars at the expense of more rational means of moving people (which would incidentally clear highways for freight). Speaking of freight, even if only parenthetically, the bill continues to ignore our horrid rail system that could and should move much, much more of our freight.

      All that said, the bike tax is a prime example of the 1960’s era windshield perspective of our wayward legislators. It’s not surprising in any way. Seriously, how many of our legislators got to work this week by any means other than a single occupant car? Not being surprising doesn’t make it any less disappointing.

      1. Avatar 9watts says:

        Well put.

      2. Avatar Matt Pennington says:

        The bill also includes money for rail and improvements to ports as well, it just isn’t ‘sexy’ enough for newspaper coverage.

      3. Avatar J_R says:

        I think you overestimate the ability of the rail system to accommodate additional freight traffic. Besides that, it seems logical that the transportation bill “ignores” rail since most of the rail system is under private ownership; maintenance and upgrades are the responsibility of the railroads.

        A few sentences from the Oregon State Rail Plan:

        “Today’s Class I rail network in Oregon is arguably in the best condition since the dawn of the highway era. The freight rail lines can keep up with current demand but there is limited ability for growth to keep up with future demand. Both BNSF and UP have very robust investment programs to maintain and improve their infrastructure throughout the state. However, as demand for rail services grows in the future, the freight rail system will require further investments to accommodate that growth.”

      4. Avatar Joke says:

        Seriously, how many of our legislators got to work this week by any means other than a single occupant car?

        Of course there was more than one occupant…Private security and the chauffeur are still people too.

  10. Avatar Peter Higbee says:

    You forget about sales tax. Almost every state except Oregon does tax new bikes.

    1. Avatar David Hampsten says:

      No State Sales Tax: Oregon, Montana, Delaware, Alaska, & New Hampshire.
      Oregon & Alaska allow municipal sales taxes, as do most states with statewide sales taxes. California has the highest base state rate of 7.25%; Louisiana has the highest combined (local & state) rate of 10%.

  11. Avatar Jon says:

    Don’t forget that the Oregon government is also giving an incentive for people to buy larger less fuel efficient vehicles by charging more to register higher mpg and electric vehicles. The lower the carbon intensity of your transportation choice in Oregon the more you will pay.

    1. Avatar SilkySlim says:

      That is some short-sighted math…. While they get efficient vehicles at registration, they get them only half as often at the pump via the gas tax. And while they tend to be a bit smaller vehicles, efficient ones still take up almost as much road and cause almost as much wear and tear. So that’s the theory behind it.

      Not saying I agree with this scheme, but you have to think beyond moment of purchase here.

      1. Avatar J_R says:

        But big vehicles are more deadly for those outside of them who are hit and they cause more damage when they leave the road. Besides that, big vehicles take more energy to produce.

      2. Avatar Big Knobbies says:

        Not true. You cannot say that small vehicles cause almost as much damage because each vehicle travels a different number of miles. The gas tax penalizes those who drive the most miles, thus causing the most damage. AND higher fees on heavier, less fuel efficient vehicles is fair because heavier vehicles cause more damage per mile traveled – look at the truck lanes. This fuel efficiency tax is nothing but pork to get more money and it penalizes people who do the right thing and buy a fuel efficient vehicle. If Kate signs it, remember that in the next election.

        1. Avatar Middle of the Road Guy says:

          Remember that in the next election…so your probably still going to vote for a Democrat regardless, right?

          1. Avatar Big Knobbies says:

            Under no circumstances. D government is a total failure.

      3. Avatar B. Carfree says:

        Road damage is proportional to about the fourth power of weight. Considering that those behemoths that will not pay the increased registration fees weigh more, they are doing more road damage, lots more in some cases. Let’s take a typical car vs SUV as being about a 1.5-fold weight difference. That would mean the SUV does five times as much road damage per mile traveled as the car.

        I’d say five-fold is significant, but I suppose that’s a judgment call. I’m so anti-SUV that I’d probably call a mere four-fold increase significant. 🙂

  12. What about
    “3) Sometimes stupid compromises are necessary to get things we want and this stupid compromise was part of a generally pretty good bill that will allocate $20 million a year to new biking and walking infrastructure, plus $100 million a year for mass transit, and will raise statewide gas taxes without funding expansion of urban freeways?”

    1. Avatar A says:

      Michael, I wish you were still blogging for this site.

    2. yes there’s that.

      keep in mind though the bill still funds plenty of urban highway projects – including I-5 rose quarter. Just not at the audaciously greedy levels the initial proposal did.

      1. Avatar Michael Andersen says:

        Thanks- I’ve heard different reports but not seen details yet. Eager to read that next post.

    3. Avatar SD says:

      I need more convincing that this “stupid compromise” was “necessary.” I think it is more likely that the legislators smart enough to know that this is ridiculous were too fearful or overwhelmed to stop bicycles from being thrown under the bus.

      1. Avatar Belynda says:

        I think the words you are looking for are cowardly and hypocritical.

    4. Avatar Christopher Jones says:

      Michael, can we expect some analysis of the bill from you? I hope so! Your takes are excellent.

      1. Avatar Michael Andersen says:

        That’s so nice of you to say! And me too sometimes. But nope, I’m a civilian on this. The only thing I’m sure of is that the final version of this bill is substantially better than the initial version I did a guest post about in early spring.

  13. Avatar Charley says:

    Ah, $#%&. This state has so much potential, but I find it hamstrung by persistent, self-inflicted mediocrity.

    1. Avatar B. Carfree says:

      You’ve got me laughing. I constantly remind myself of just how awesome Oregon and the city I live in could be. It’s what keeps me engaged with my community. Unfortunately, the distance between our potential and our reality are an even more awesome Grand Canyon sized chasm. That last part keeps my flitting between so-so and grumpy.

  14. Avatar Mike says:

    As someone who has 10 bikes in the garage (mountain, road, other, etc) – I have no issue with this tax. $15 per new bike bought around town is not going to make a difference in my purchasing decision, and I’m happy to see the funds go to something that benefits me directly.

    A 3-4% tax on a $7k mountain bike would of caused me to abandon any local purchase options.

    Maybe the state will get wise and use this program to identify and register specific bikes and use serial numbers and bike shop participation to reduce theft.

  15. Does Oregon have any mechanism to collect from online retailers?

  16. Avatar John Stephens says:

    I would delay describing this as an official piece of law until it’s signed by the Gov…..

    1. she just tweeted that she plans to sign it.

      1. Avatar Middle of the Road Guy says:

        We can bitch and moan about it, but at the end of the day are you going to vote for a Republican opponent or Governor Brown, who is exceedingly progressive and liberal?

        1. Avatar 9watts says:

          “…Governor Brown, who is exceedingly progressive and liberal?”

          Whoa there. Let’s not get carried away.

          1. Avatar Jeff says:

            Only in Oregon could someone consider Brown anything other than liberal. It’s yet another case of the perfect being the enemy of the good. I understand the commenter group here was particularly progressive, but while no fan of Brown personally, she does have to deal with a wider group of viewpoints than is present here.

            1. Avatar 9watts says:

              The phrase included ‘exceedingly progressive.’ There is such a thing, and although at this point in time in this state we may not elect someone with those credentials, it serves no purpose to water them down, grade on a curve. Also worth thinking about whether Seattle’s Kshama Sawant might be someone who fits those terms.

        2. Avatar David Hampsten says:

          Ah, yes, Oregon politics, where Democrats are more conservative than Republicans; quite the opposite of NC, where the Republicans are split between the tea-party and the fascists, while the Democrats still feel guilty about the 60s, when they were the main supporters of segregation and Jim Crow laws.

  17. Avatar Jason Skelton says:

    Next legislative cycle, this tax should apply to motor vehicles. Maybe in 10 years we have a sales tax.

    1. Avatar OregonJelly says:

      So, you’re calling for a tax, for what reason? Just to be punitive? It’s this backwards thinking that got us the bike tax in the first place.

      1. Avatar Jason Skelton says:

        First, Oregon needs revenue. Civilization is not free. Second, cars should cost more to operate because currently they receive a strong subsidy from all of us. Reg fees should be based on value and MPG of vehicle.

      2. Avatar Dan A says:

        It’s only a punitive tax if it goes beyond covering the external costs of cars. Not to worry, we are a long ways from that.

    2. Avatar Brad says:

      The bill also includes a 0.5% tax on all new motor vehicle purchases.

  18. Avatar Eric Leifsdad says:

    Don’t forget e-bikes paying extra $10 because more efficient than bike so we must discourage it harder.

    1. Avatar 9watts says:

      more efficient than bike? I’m not following.

      Can you explain?

      1. Avatar Big Knobbies says:

        Probably meant e-bikes more efficient than cars. So, yup, should tax the poo out of them. Same with shoes and socks – tax the poo out of them. 🙂

        1. Avatar USbike says:

          Actually, I was reading a few years back that there is quite a high tariff on foreign-made shoes that are sold in the US, which would account for the vast majority of them. The percentage varies by type, but can be as high as 67.5. Unfortunately, this has long ceased to serve the original purpose of protecting the domestic production of shoes back in the 30’s. Yet, the tariffs are still in place despite most of the manufacturing now being done in developing countries. I’m not sure if this has since changed in recent years…

          1. Avatar Dan A says:

            That’s not right. What about people who don’t wear shoes and still benefit from sidewalks?? Or people who buy shoes made in the US?? It’s time to start collecting from those freeloaders.

      2. Avatar George Dorn says:

        This comes from a term paper from a 200-level college course by a Canadian college student in 2004. So take it with a pile of salt:

        The gist is that the energy (food) input for regular biking exceeds the energy (food plus electricity) inputs for e-biking the same distance. That’s including the production costs of a bicycle vs an e-bike.

        It’s probably not wrong, mainly because direct-drive electrical motors are extremely efficient compared to any form of mechanical energy requiring transmission (fossil fuel explosions, human legs).

        But both forms of biking are so drastically more efficient than dragging several tons of metal around with you that it’s mostly an exercise in pedantry.

        1. Avatar 9watts says:

          Well, that was a nice, though misleading, first stab at the question.

          Let’s try this:
          see slides 22-30 for an unbelievably thorough assessment.

          1. Avatar George Dorn says:

            The EMPA study doesn’t include the food calories to power regular bikes.

            It’s still an exercise in pedantry; the efficiency difference between bikes and e-bikes is orders of magnitude lower than the costs of cars, especially once you account for environmental externalities, carbon footprint and the improved tax base of bike/e-bike commuters (who have more and healthier years of economic productivity). Bikes and e-bikes should be incentivized, not taxed.

            1. Avatar 9watts says:

              “The EMPA study doesn’t include the food calories to power regular bikes.”

              Given how thorough they were, perhaps they didn’t think the difference in calories merited consideration?

              1. Avatar VRU says:

                “perhaps they didn’t think the difference in calories merited consideration?”

                i guess all that food we eat (esp dairy and meet) is being grown with unicorn sparkles and fairie dust.


              2. Avatar 9watts says:

                Um, your hashtag is hilarious, but please note that at issue is merely the difference between the calories eaten by the putative average regular bike rider and the calories eaten by the putative average E-bike rider.

            2. Avatar B. Carfree says:

              None of these sort of studies adequately account for the human need to exercise on a daily basis. Using a bike in most settings for all of one’s transportation needs barely even meets the required amount of exercise for good health (not to be mistaken for the typical health of an American).

              There’s more going on than just moving oneself/things from A to B.

              1. Avatar George Dorn says:

                None of these are studies, period.

      3. Avatar Eric Leifsdad says:

        If you want to haul more weight over more distance, should you add a second rider, or a motor and battery? 200lb for 100W vs 20lb for 1000W. Even if you just eat more food, can you grow it in less area than the 2ft x 4ft solar panel needed to charge the battery?

        Remember, it’s a hybrid system. A small motor and battery (even 1kW motor, 1kWh battery) isn’t as effective without your legs to provide quick bursts of power and your legs aren’t as effective at sustaining much over 100W output. Such a 1kWh battery (with motor, adding about 20lb a pushbike) would run for 10hrs at 100W on one charge. For comparison, that is about 1hr of the average annual heating/cooling load in Oregon for a well-insulated medium-sized house (where electric cars’ batteries hold more like 24kWh.) Most e-bikes are sold with more like 0.5kWh packs, which is good for 10-20 miles of commuting and errands.

        Even when looking at the life-cycle costs of batteries &c, you still need to account for extra water and time pedaling and gardening. You might not be considering making a trip with a car, but if you spend the extra time convincing one friend to switch some trips from their car to an e-bike, it would easily offset the entire environmental footprint of your motor and battery.

  19. Avatar Todd Boulanger says:

    New trend:
    – Portland frame builders shift to making frame sets for 650 wheels (25.6 inches). ;-0
    – Brompton & Bike Friday Sales jump

    1. Avatar Zimmerman says:

      Except that 650 is actually 27.5″

      1. Avatar Big Knobbies says:

        650 mm divided by 25.4 mm/inch = 25.6 inches. Assuming that the 650 is mm.

        1. Avatar mark says:

          It’s not.

        2. Avatar Justin M says:

          Nope. The world of bike wheel sizes is the realm of the confounding and stupid. Take 700c. You’d imagine it’s 700mm but no, it’s 622. So is 28″ (except when 28″ is 635) and 29er. All are 622. It’s ridiculous. And there’s several different sizes that are called 20″ or 16″. Nominal sizing really sucks for consumers when they think they’re getting the right size but instead they just get a tire whose size is the same name as the one they meant to get.

        3. Avatar jeff says:

          your math is off….by a LOT.

        4. Avatar GlowBoy says:

          Generally what people commonly think of as wheel size is a marketing label approximating the overall tire diameter. The late, great Sheldon Brown covered this comprehensively:

          “29 inch” and “29-plus” mountain bikes, “700c” road bikes and most “28 inch” trekking bikes all use 622mm rims.
          Some “28 inch” as well as “700b” bikes use 635mm rims.
          “27.5”,”27 plus” mountain bikes and “650b” touring bikes all use 584mm rims.
          “650c” road bikes (smaller frame sizes) and some “26 inch” bikes are 571mm.
          Most “26 inch” bikes (cruisers, mountain bikes, fatbikes) are 559mm.
          “24 inch” is a 507mm rim on my kid’s mountain bike, but 520mm on a Terry road bike; it can also mean 540mm (also called “600a!”) or 547mm.
          “20 inch” is usually a 406mm rim (most BMX, folding, recumbent and mini-velo bikes with 20″ wheels) but is also commonly a 451mm rim on higher-performance models.
          “16 inch” can mean 305mm or 349mm, and both are in common use on kids’, folding, recumbent bikes and trailers.

          And all of these are less than 26 inches.

          1. Avatar David Hampsten says:

            My Rynolite 622 rims are actually 640mm/25.25″ on the outside diameter; my 559 Rynolites are actually 570mm/22.5″, as is my Mavic 729ex. I suggest you measure with a tape rather than rely on manufacturer dimensions. Moreover, my 622 road wheels with tires tend to be 27″, but my 559 mountain bike wheels with 1.95 tires are still under 26″. Essentially, this is a tax on 700c road bikes and big tire mountain bikes.

            1. Avatar GlowBoy says:

              Actually, the manufacturer dimensions are quite reliable. You are right, however, that the diameters quoted above are the bead seat diameter (which, again, must be precise or you’d have lots of problems with tires not fitting the rims they were bought for). It is not actual overall wheel diameter, which would be a few mm more.

      2. Avatar Todd Boulanger says:

        Ssshhhh…I was trying to start and urban bike myth…that perhaps the folks in Salem might believe when it comes to writing up the tax rules…remember its that metric thingy…;-)

      3. Avatar B. Carfree says:

        A 650B rim with a tire less than 40mm will be under 26″ in diameter. I suppose determined retailers will have other ways around this silly tax, but that’s a straight-forward way of defeating it for a type of bike that is growing in popularity. Of course many (most?) folks who purchase such a bike will want to immediately trade in the “skinny” tires for something in the mid to upper 40’s.

    2. Avatar Todd Boulanger says:

      ..and Oregon drops to #10 (from #6) in the annual Bike Friendly State ranking by the League [Washington State stays at #1]…due to the new bike tax

  20. Avatar Alex Hirsch says:

    Luckily, this tax applies to essentially no bicycles on the market: “26-inch” wheels are in fact 559mm = 22” in diameter, and even 700c wheels (the same as “29er” wheels) are only 622mm = 24.5” in diameter.

    The wheel sizes are so named because they are meant to include the tire. The law, as written, applies to, “a new bicycle that has wheels of at least 26 inches in diameter…” (Section 89.5)

    1. Avatar David Hampsten says:

      Penny Farthings?

    2. Avatar J_R says:

      Great observation! I hope that bike retailers enforce the law as written!

    3. Avatar Dan A says:

      Well, that’s what you get when drivers write a law that affects bicycles.

    4. Avatar Kate says:

      Gotta say this leg provision and the resulting thread here is teaching me a lot of about wheel size I didn’t know. So I guess that’s an unintended benefit?!

  21. Avatar nc says:

    Except that 650 is actually 27.5″
    Recommended 1

    Did they say wheel-size, our outside tyre diameter? 650mm is indeed 25.5906 inches.

    1. Avatar nc says:

      I put a link in below. The text defines a Taxable Bicycle as such:

      (5) “Taxable bicycle” means a new bicycle that has wheels of at least 26 inches in diameter
      and a retail sales price of $200 or more.

      This is important since has the text said “wheel size of 26 inches”, the term ‘size’ can be regarded as a category/label and not necessarily directly related to wheel diameter, in the same way as a size 12 dress doesn’t really mean anything specific about the dimensions of the cut. I think a wheel size of 26 inches CAN mean a wheel and tyre diameter of around 26″ as per common usage and Bicycle Brand and Retail marketing materials.

      However the text in measure specifically says “wheels of at least 26 inches in diameter”, this is quite precise and I believe that most bikes as pointed out above do not fall under this definition.

  22. Avatar nc says:

    Where is the text of the bill?

  23. Avatar Andrew N says:

    Thanks Democrats! Don’t forget, many of these same D’s were CRC pushers back in the day. It can’t be said loud enough: we desperately need new political leadership, especially locally –to push back against the State, which none of our city councilors did, including Chloe– but also at the state level. Portland has a ton of political muscle in OR that is rarely flexed effectively. In this case, unlike the CRC, we didn’t have even-more-regressive Republicans in WA to save us.

    1. Avatar Todd Hudson says:

      Portland’s political muscle really isn’t much when it requires a “supermajority” of legislative votes to pass any tax increase. Thus, the bike tax to appease the opposition’s want of a pretty useless tax….

  24. Avatar Glenn says:

    Well, it sucks, but now watch my famous “bright side” technique: There will now be a pot of money that’s ours. Bike projects of all sorts can be funded. Funded how? By us. No more waiting for other taxpayers to throw us a bone. Matter of fact I’m wondering if maybe we should’ve done this a long time ago. A big pot of money that’s ours is better than a bunch of us individually having $15 (not that I’m planning on buying any bikes though).

    Story time: Back in the day if you were at a show by the band Fugazi and you started messing with people or otherwise misbehaving, you’d be politely escorted out and handed an envelope with $5 in it – the price of your admission. Do you think the band was like “aww man, we had to give up 5 bucks?” No, they were using that money to buy a clean break from the troublemaker, making it impossible for that person to complain of being ripped off, and making it clear that the “contract” between them had been nullified. Moral of the story: having money and giving it away is a sign of strength, and a way to buy power and freedom. Especially when it’s collected in small pieces from a large number of people who agree with you! Think about it.

    1. Avatar 9watts says:

      “A big pot of money that’s ours”

      I think we’re reading different statistics. A million bucks hardly buys anything these days.

      1. Avatar Big Knobbies says:

        Gimme a million and I’ll show you what it can buy. 🙂

        1. Avatar eawrist says:

          20k steel bollards at $50 a pop-> approximately 40 miles of PBL

      2. Avatar Todd Boulanger says:

        lots of paint!

  25. Avatar John says:

    Expounding upon that, given the reference to “wheels of at least 26″ in diameter” it seems like you could even sell a fully assembled one-wheeled bike and just sell a single wheel as a separate transaction. Dirty move? Not as dirty as passing a $5.3b package, 80% of that going to cars, and calling it a balanced package.
    Between this and the EV vehicle registration tax that is six (six!) times greater than their gas counterparts, it’s a one-step forward two-steps back situation for sure.
    Recommended 2

    I’m trying to do the math here… from what I read, registration = $56 + mileage fee.

    Mileage fee for EV = $110. Lowest cost combustion engine fee = $18.

    56 + 110 does not equal 6 x (56 + 18).

    The fees are backwards for sure but don’t seem as bad a 6x… am I missing something?

    1. Avatar Big Knobbies says:

      110/18 = 6.11
      Looks like the mileage tax is 6 times greater.

  26. Avatar Buzz says:

    FTS, good thing I don’t buy my bikes new anymore.

  27. Avatar Tom Hardy says:

    The last time I bought a complete bike was Schwinn Varsity from GoodWill in about 1973 for $15. Since then all I have bought is frame, forks, components from various shops, wheels and hubs from different shops, spokes, seats and tires all from different shops.
    The reason? No shop had the collection of components I wanted or needed.

  28. Avatar Michael Rubenstein says:

    RE the reference to the Oregon ‘Sidepath’ law (AKA ORS 814.420), do any cities or counties actually enforce ‘violations’? It seems to me that section 2 of the Reg is our literal get out of jail card in that a public hearing is required to prove that the bicyclist is in the wrong to be riding on the roadway. Just curious what experiences folks have had with law enforcement in this context.

    1. Avatar 9watts says:

      Ashland, for starters.

    2. I have never had this enforced on me nor have I had a motorist hassle me about it — I have have ridden literally thousands of miles in violation. I have also never been cited for riding without mandated CPSC reflectors. In fact I have received compliments from cops for my night setup.

      I leave bike lanes and ignore sidepaths for many reasons. If I am ever stopped and I doubt that will ever happen, I’ll simply say I was doing it to be safer because I was.

      My consistent experience is that if you look like you know what you’re doing and you’re not causing anyone problems, no one will give you grief.

      1. Avatar Dan A says:

        and if you’re white.

      2. Avatar wsbob says:

        “… I have have ridden literally thousands of miles in violation. …” banerjee

        Sorry, banerjee, but I doubt you’ve ridden in violation of 814.420 very much. This law concisely but extensively acknowledges the need and right of people riding bikes, to ride outside of the bike lane.

        By some strange persistence in incorrectly perceiving this law as an imposition on people that ride, rather than a partial guideline on using the road with a bike, which is what it is…it seems some people hearing incorrect perceptions of the law by word of mouth, have come to unquestioningly accept the wrong interpretations of this law.

      3. Avatar El Biciclero says:

        I’ve been hassled for it by motorists, but never cited. Regarding the “public hearing” clause, I believe there was some kind of ruling in Portland that all bike infrastructure that was part of the “Bike Master Plan” was covered by dint of the Master Plan being approved. Besides that clause, the parts of that law that bug me are the “adjacent to or near the roadway” language, which would seem to compel me to use a narrow MUP shared with pedestrians if one was “near” the street I was using, and the somewhat ambiguous definition of “hazard”. The definition of “hazard” is what sparked the Ashland case: rider claimed gravel/debris in bike lane was a hazard; deputy disagreed—guess who wins. There are other fine points of this law (814.420) that make dangerous operation mandatory, but that are rarely enforced:
        – Section (3)(e) should say “may” rather than “must”, similar to California’s CVC 21202, and should be updated to cover the symmetrical situation for left-side bike lanes.
        – Riding in the left lane of a one-way is prohibited if there is a bike lane on the right (again, I assume the same is true for mirror-image situations such as Williams)
        – I don’t believe as-yet-unopened car doors are viewed as a hazard by law enforcement the same way they are (or should be) by bicycle operators
        – “Reasonable rate of speed” is too ambiguous and is usually formulated in the minds of non or infrequent riders. I’d like to see it defined more clearly, e.g., “at speeds equal to the speed limit of the adjacent roadway, or 30 mph, whichever is less”. How wide would “bike paths” need to be then?

    3. Avatar wsbob says:

      This reference in this story?:

      “…Oregon’s ranking as a bike-friendly state has slipped in recent years in part because we have a law that mandates use of a “sidepath” if no bike lane is present. …” bikeportland

      Sorry, bikeportland, but that claim is so unspecific, and lacking of explanation and actual applicable situations in Oregon, as to be virtually meaningless. Michael Rubenstein and anyone else reading, here’s a link to a text of 814.420 at (note that there is absolutely no mention of ‘sidepath’ in that law’s text):

      Note that the law mentions “…bicycle lane or bicycle path is adjacent to or near the roadway. …”, but absolutely no mention of ‘sidepath’. And if someone is somehow under the impression that “…adjacent to or near the roadway….” constitutes a ‘sidepath’ just tell them to forget it, because that’s not what the law says. By the way…just how far away from a roadway can a bike lane or bike path be, and still be regarded as adjacent to or near to the roadway? Are the writers of this law thinking of inches and feet, say less than ten or twenty? Or are they thinking of tenths or quarters of miles, or more? I think the former, rather than the latter.

      bikeportland actually published a story some years back about this particular element of 814.420, in which readers questioned if there was anywhere in all of Oregon, cities and countryside, where there was such a proximity of roadway and adjacent or near the roadway bike lane or bike path that could possibly put someone riding a bike in violation of this element of the law. There was maybe…a bike lane paralleling for some distance, a highway out in I think Molalla, that people thought might meet the criteria for violation this law lists. The bike lane was reported not complete at the time, and was limited in travel functionality. I don’t recall any other examples suggested.

      Even if…there happened to be a bike lane or bike path, paralleling, let’s say 50′ to a 100′ from a roadway for some distance, road circumstances existing by which this law would oblige people to ride bikes there instead of the roadway if they had need to, would be very limited, it seems to me. The other elements of this law acknowledge a wide range of situations in which people biking may find they must leave the bike lane in order to use the road to meet their travel needs.

      Instances under which people riding bikes have been cited and found guilty of violation of this law in Oregon, since it’s inception in, I’m guessing in the early 70’s, the start of the big resurgence in biking in Portland, are very rare I think. Recently here on bikeportland associated with a guest article about a police presentation at the Beaverton Bike Advisory Committee meeting, the presenting officer reported that he had never heard of an officer issuing a citation for violation of this law.

      The citation issued and guilty charge down in Ashland sounds like it was the very rare occasion. Exactly why that citation held up continues to be somewhat of a mystery.

      There are problems with road infrastructure that can make biking in Oregon difficult at times. Passing along misinformation by innuendo rather than reason, about this law, can’t help to allow Oregon to be the great state for biking that it is. I’ll add…in part, because of the people of Oregon for the most part, being very friendly to biking.

      1. Avatar q says:

        But all that’s irrelevant to what Jonathan wrote. The ratings people see Oregon has that law, while other states don’t, so they drop Oregon in the ratings, just as he wrote.

        And if it’s true that the law would almost never come into play, then that sounds like a good argument for getting rid of it.

        1. Avatar wsbob says:

          Some other states do have bike lane use laws like Oregon’s or variations on it, simply with different language. It’s actually a good law, if people bothered to read it rather than take the misrepresented word of mouth interpretation of the law, suggesting that it’s against the law to ride outside the bike lane…as if the law was unconditional, which it’s not.

          Some so called self appointed ‘bike advocates’, seemingly would love to be able to thump their chests and say ‘Yay!! …we got rid of Oregon’s evil sidepath law!’. Which of course, Oregon doesn’t have one of, as I wrote earlier. And which does not confine people that ride bikes to bike lanes, to the degree the so called bike advocates seem to consistently and incorrectly insinuate that it does.

          I figure there’s about a zero chance ORS 814.420 ever will be challenged with a sufficiently logical and reasonable objection to have the this law repealed or taken off the books.

          1. Avatar El Biciclero says:

            “Sidepath” is a generic (not legal) term used to describe anything considered a “bicycle lane or path”. “Mandatory Sidepath Law” is just less of a mouthful than “Mandatory Bicycle Lane or Path Law”.

            I, as you know, would disagree that ORS 814.420 is a “good” law. Most of the time, if interpreted generously or enforced minimally, it doesn’t really have an impact on most bicyclists, just as speed limits have very little effect on most drivers. I think you’re misrepresenting “advocates” if you say they claim there are no exceptions to the law. There are clearly exceptions, as there must be for this law not to be considered outright unfair—the exceptions are there because the writers of the law must have known (or been told) that bicycling conditions and infrastructure are bad enough that it would be dangerous or onerous for bicyclists to always ride in bike lanes or on MUPs. However, just as drivers can mostly speed everywhere they go without getting caught and ticketed, any time police feel like sparing the resources, they can target speeders and issue citations. The same goes for bike lane violators (although I think tickets are even rarer for drivers driving in bike lanes than they are for bicyclists riding outside of them), and we have seen several bike-lane violation-related cases over the last 10 years or so. Yes, such cases are rare, but even with the listed exceptions, there are some serious deficiencies with the wording of the law that leave several situations simply unaddressed (allowances to leave the bike lane where vehicles may turn right, left-hand bike lanes in general, etc.), and leave the definition of “hazard” up to the interpretation of law enforcement.

            Could you explain why you think 814.420 is needed when we already have ORS 814.430, governing “use of lanes”?

  29. Avatar Toby Welborn says:

    For those like me who had to look up “sidepath” (like me)-

    Will this mean that other forms of funding bicycle transport will disappear since “bicycles have their own fund”? Second, can I walk in to a bike shop and randomly contribute $15? Third, what are the protections to the fund when the state hits hard economic times? Lastly, is there a provision to let a cyclist throw things when motorists yell that they pay taxes (road, house, property, sales, sin, fill in your guess) after cutting a rider off in bicycle tax create infrastructure?

  30. Avatar q says:

    “So bikers will now pay a once-in-the-lifetime-of-their-bike tax that’s less than the taxes I pay every time I fill my tank.”
    –Typical Unimpressed Taxpaying Driver

    1. Avatar GlowBoy says:

      “less than the taxes I pay every time I fill my tank.”

      You have a 30 gallon tank? Federal and Oregon gasoline taxes total 49 cents per gallon.

      1. Avatar q says:

        You know that, and you’re also right that most cars don’t have 30-gallon tanks (although Suburbans at least used to have 42-gallon tanks) but I bet plenty of drivers think they pay at least $1/gallon in taxes. Or, just change it to “every two times I fill my tank”.

        The main point is that this tax isn’t going to appease anybody who’s been complaining that bikes don’t pay their fair share.

        1. Avatar 9watts says:

          “this tax isn’t going to appease anybody who’s been complaining that bikes don’t pay their fair share.”


          1. Avatar q says:

            For those people to be appeased, this tax would have to cost every bike rider (not just purchasers) a few hundred dollars a year–whatever complaining drivers think they pay in gas taxes themselves. Even then, they can argue that’s not enough–“Yeah, so you bikes pay taxes for paths I can’t drive on. I pay taxes on roads that you still use for free. Keep off my roads and maybe then you can say it’s equal.”

            On the other hand, what this DOES do is give official proof that people who bike currently DON’T pay anything. Otherwise this tax would be redundant. I’m not saying that’s true (it’s not) but that’s the impression people who think bikers are freeloaders will take away.

            1. Avatar 9watts says:

              Yes. I’ve been pushing this angle for some time here. Without much to show for it.

  31. Avatar MP says:

    Another plus, sales of my “Yes, I did pay tax on this bike so %*¢& off!” bike jerseys will take off!

  32. Avatar Mike Sanders says:

    Not very long ago, R’s in Montana tried to raise funding for a wildlife preservation bill with a proposed law that would have imposed a toll, charged at the birder, on all bicycles coming into the state from elsewhere. The tourism industry people and pro-cycling groups helped get that proposal shot down. And then there’s the R in MO who has repeatedly tried to have bicycles banned from use in that state on the ridiculous notion that bicycles must be regarded as too dangerous to be allowed on any public street…in a state that hosts at least four national bike routes, which run mostly on trails but some segments run on low traffic county roads. Conservatives have been saying for years bicycle owners must pay for what they use. The sales tax on bikes, they say, is something that cyclists now must accept if they want a ped/bike route system in Oregon. Will it hurt tourism from inside the state? Stay tuned.

    1. Avatar 9watts says:

      “Conservatives have been saying for years bicycle owners must pay for what they use.”

      I’d like someone to ask those ‘conservatives’ to explain how the infrastructure we think of as beneficial to those biking is not derivative, is not necessitated solely by the overwhelming and dangerous presence of the ubiquitous automobile. Domestic violence shelters similarly are only required because some men can’t stop beating their wives. While the intentionality in these two examples differs, the underlying causal relationships are quite similar.

      Besides, all of us already pay for our roads, and according to Todd Litman & Co. those of us who do not drive autos typically overpay relative to the damage our mode choices represent.

  33. Avatar canuck says:

    I worked retail POS systems for bike shops for 10 years. And this is going to be a major PITA for retailers. A sales tax is easy, one number one switch flipped and away you go, but this tax requires having to determine each and every bike it may or may not apply. On top of this it’s not a simple % tax, it means having to include logic to add $15 to each transaction based on the bike being taxable or not, as well as the % on e-bikes. Going to be ugly.

    1. Avatar jeff says:

      yeah, sounds really rough…math and logic can be so hard.

    2. Avatar SE Rider says:

      Did you do POS with a computerized inventory system?

  34. Avatar Matthew in Portsmouth says:

    I worked retail POS systems for bike shops for 10 years. And this is going to be a major PITA for retailers. A sales tax is easy, one number one switch flipped and away you go, but this tax requires having to determine each and every bike it may or may not apply. On top of this it’s not a simple % tax, it means having to include logic to add $15 to each transaction based on the bike being taxable or not, as well as the % on e-bikes. Going to be ugly.
    Recommended 0

    The way I would handle this if I was a bike retailer would be to have two prices and UPCs on the tags of the taxable bikes – one for the bike, one for the tax – and train employees to ring up both when selling the bikes. This would mean the tax would be displayed separately on both the price tag and the bill of sale.

    1. Avatar canuck says:

      It is still a major PITA to tag the bikes based on wheel size and selling price. Tags and labels get lost regularly. Better to be done at the system level so that at checkout the tax is applied.

  35. Avatar Mossby Pomegranate says:

    Thanks Kate Brown!

  36. Avatar Todd Hudson says:

    Sometimes compromise sucks.

    One thing that hasn’t been mentioned is that Oregon requires a 3/5 “supermajority” to raise any taxes (thanks to a ballot initiative). So Democratic leadership couldn’t move the bill without some Republicans on board. And the bike tax, as inane as it is, was a bargaining chip to get to 60%.

    1. Avatar Eric Leifsdad says:

      Good to know that those trying to do essential work must “compromise” with irrational and counter-productive impulses.

      All we needed to do was raise the gas tax enough to fund debt and maintenance (where maintenance is defined as keeping roads safe and effective “for all road users”, as ODOT likes to “say”.) Worried about running out of gas tax revenue despite increased gas tax? Won’t happen for about a decade, so pick any time between now and then to start taxing studded tires. Conservative my foot.

      1. Avatar Todd Hudson says:

        Oregon voters put themselves into this financial straitjacket.

        The choice was to do nothing or do this. Not much else could be done. Though someone could collect signatures for a ballot initiative to repeal the tax.

  37. hmm, I took a minute to email the gov office!!! this is BS.

  38. Avatar King says:

    HAHAHAHA!! Go measure the diameter of your bike’s wheel!!! No wonder the state budget is in trouble.

    1. Avatar Paul Atkinson says:

      Remind the governor that Oregon Constitution Article V, section 15a provides line-item veto authority.

      She should use it here.

  39. Avatar maxadders says:

    The Street Trust supported this nonsense. Remember that next time they come begging for donations.

  40. Avatar Dave Sanders says:

    Curious if they have considered or should consider funding efforts to reduce bike theft in the state from some of that anticipated revenue… wondering if this would be supported by the cycling community.

    1. Avatar Matt Pennington says:

      I believe that the keeping receipts for 5 years was part of the thought process for this. Would help track down bike thieves.

  41. Avatar Sheila A Martin says:

    I fully support the bike tax and was really angry at the Street trust for opposing it. We (I own two bikes and commute to work nearly every day) can’t call for new bicycle infrastructure without being willing to pay for it. yes, yes, I know, most of you also have cars and homes and pay the other taxes along with everyone else. But we are hypocrites if we are unwilling to make an investment toward improving the bike infrastructure in our city.

    1. Avatar 9watts says:

      “But we are hypocrites”

      No, actually we are not. Lots to be said about this.

      1. Avatar Mossby Pomegranate says:

        Like what for example?

        1. Avatar 9watts says:

          I figured I didn’t need to repeat what I’ve said it dozens of times in comments here.

          (1) the fees and taxes those in cars currently pay in Oregon don’t come close to covering the direct (never mind indirect) costs of automobility
          (2) the balance is paid by tax payers, a fair number of whom don’t drive or own cars.
          (3) bike infrastructure is derivative; makes no sense without the overwhelming and dangerous presence of the auto everywhere, which said infrastructure is designed to protect those on two wheels from. Ergo, saying that we should pay for it is like saying battered women should pay for shelters, and immigrants should pay for detention centers, if you get my drift.

    2. Avatar Dan A says:

      I am willing to send my car tax dollars to support walk/bike infrastructure, and to be taxed more when I drive.

    3. Avatar maxadders says:

      This is a simplistic and mostly incorrect way of looking at the problem. Bike infrastructure benefits everyone. The idea that it “only” helps those that use it the most is facepalm-worthy propaganda pushed on us by the fossil fuel lobby. I kindly suggest reading between the lines.

      1. Avatar SE Rider says:

        “The idea that it “only” helps those that use it”

        Except we consistently seem to hear this logic applied to auto lanes and roads on this site. Despite roads uses for freight, public transit, and emergency vehicles.
        Can we all just agree that pretty much all transportation issues cannot be broken down into simple, black and white issues?

        1. Avatar 9watts says:

          You are or seem to be overlooking a profound asymmetry here. Auto lanes don’t actually help me on my bike at all; they suck funds from the kinds of investments that shift things away from the autos-only infrastructure. Infrastructure that is designed to make walking and biking easier, less dangerous, etc. is part of a shift in investment that has a future. Autos-only infrastructure is at this stage of our history just a way to create stranded assets.

    4. Avatar Eric Leifsdad says:

      The biggest thing you’ve overlooked is that none of this money is going toward transportation infrastructure for biking. It’s only for recreational trails, because in the view of our legislators, bikes are toys you carry on your car to the place where you’ll ride them.

      1. Avatar 9watts says:

        Yeah. Let’s talk about that some time.

      2. Avatar Dan A says:

        The wording is:

        “for the purposes of grants for bicycle and pedestrian transportation projects… that expand and improve commuter routes for nonmotorized vehicles and pedestrians, including bicycle trails, footpaths and multiuse trails”

      3. Avatar Middle of the Road Guy says:

        That’s one way to look at it and a logical view from a commuter. I think recreational trails are more likely to grow the population of cyclists in the long term. People start for fun and go from there.

        Most people buying new bikes…are they going to be recreational or serious riders?

        1. Avatar 9watts says:

          “I think recreational trails are more likely to grow the population of cyclists in the long term. People start for fun and go from there.”

          I read this assertion here fairly frequently. I’m curious, does anyone have any data to back this up, or is it a hunch?

          1. Avatar Dan A says:

            Personally, I don’t know if I would have ever started biking to work without the Hwy 26 bike path.

            1. Avatar Eric Leifsdad says:

              But any bikeway designed as a transportation route qualifies as a highway project, so it is not blocked from gas tax funds by the constitutional restriction, so we don’t need a bike tax to pay for it. That was the argument about why we needed the bike tax, wasn’t it? Or was that only the convenient excuse given to constituents who aren’t buying the “skin in the game” nonsense? I guess you can have it both ways now.

              1. Avatar Dan A says:

                “any bikeway designed as a transportation route qualifies as a highway project”

                Really? If this is true, we should have no trouble building bikeways all over the place using the highway honey pot.

    5. Avatar Belynda says:

      We already pay through income taxes.

  42. Avatar Dave says:

    Two thoughts: One, as a Vancouver resident I’m dumbfounded by OR’s bike tax–something that’s been a wet dream of a few dozen far-right hick legislators in red states for years gets passed in–Oregon???? Two: Good time to buy a Bike Friday or a Brompton if you’ve been thinking of one!

  43. Avatar rick says:

    Tax the metal-studded car tires ! Washington has a new $40 fee.

    1. Avatar Todd Boulanger says:

      Thanks goodness…as my neighbour is still driving her car with studded true this summer…I know it was a late hard winter but this is crazy…

    2. Avatar Bankerman says:

      A fee on new studded tires may help, but it takes years to wear them out. My wife bought studded tires for her car 6 years ago and they still show little wear. Nest time we would buy the newer snow tires now available, but I am not going to throw away hundreds of dollars worth of tires if they are still in good shape. Studded tires last a very long time if you only use them 4 months out of the year.

  44. Avatar GlowBoy says:

    Terrible, stupid idea. The state should be paying all bicycle buyers $15 each.

    Of course, as was pointed about above, technically this tax applies to almost zero bicycles on the market (only those rare 36″ers), since almost all bicycle wheels are under 26″. Hopefully some bike shop will bring a case. Will courts rule that legislative intent was to tax tire diameter and not wheel diameter? Or will the lege have to come back around and fix the law so they can collect their tax. Can’t wait for this one to hit the courts.

    1. Avatar jeff says:

      you have an overblown sense of worth…you’re not saving the world by riding a bike.

      1. Avatar q says:

        Who’s claiming they’re saving the world? There’s a logical economic argument behind saying that people who ride bikes should be paid $15. The tax system has hundreds or thousands of similar (and often much greater) incentives to encourage behavior that has been determined to have public benefit.

        1. Avatar Middle of the Road Guy says:

          Just because one has a bike does not mean they use it. It’s silly to pay an incentive for a behavior that one cannot monitor. I could tell the state “I have 6 bikes”, cash $90 and still continue to telecommute.

          1. Avatar 9watts says:

            You love to come up with convoluted scenarios but somehow other jurisdictions manage to reward those who bike financially without fretting over your hypotheticals. We read about one that was in Norway here some time back. They paid people who walked and biked to communicate the public benefits of folks doing that/not driving.

          2. Avatar q says:

            Well, maybe that’s why I wrote “RIDE bikes”, not “OWN bikes”.

            Plus, I wasn’t pushing for paying people, anyway. I was saying exactly what I wrote–that there’s a logical argument for paying them for riding bikes. The point is that when you can make logical arguments for the OPPOSITE approach to the tax, then that calls into question the tax’s logic.

            Plus, at 9watts pointed out, other places have come up with ways to give incentives to people who ride bikes. Your extreme example of having the government send you a check for each of six bikes that you own but don’t ride, is pretty much beside the point.

          3. Avatar Dan A says:

            I’ve been thinking about this a bit. There ARE some possibilities for tracking mileage to give out credits and whatnot, but all of the ones I come up with are too convoluted. It’s way more practical to just raise the taxes on driving and use that money to support the cost of VRU infrastructure.

            1. Avatar q says:

              Yes, or more general funding sources. I’d guess that unless credits are quite high, a lot of tax incentives go to people for whom doing the activity already makes sense. Plus a portion of the collected money is burned up in administrative costs.

              Also, say an incentive is created to bike commute. You bike commute and get the incentive. You work at home and get nothing. Is the idea to encourage cycling, or to discourage driving? Based on the incentive, it’s to encourage cycling.

              In fact, if you worked at home, you could instead rent an office, bike to it, and get the credit. Of course not a lot of people are going to distort their behavior like that for a small incentive. But that goes back to the fact that incentives have to be pretty high to make people change behavior. Better to just spend the money on making the activity more attractive.

      2. Avatar bikeninja says:

        True, You are actually saving the world by not driving a car.

        1. Avatar Mossby Pomegranate says:

          No…not really. Ever travel outside the United States?

      3. Avatar Dan A says:

        You’re probably saving $15 worth of the world, though I’ll have to double-check my math.

      4. Avatar GlowBoy says:

        Definitely saving the world $15 compared to driving, though.

      5. Avatar Eric Leifsdad says:

        What’s it do for your sense of worth to give your money to oilmen while surrendering our public space to the status quo? bigly

  45. Avatar Steve says:

    This is just silly political posturing. I’m kind of OK with paying for the resources I use as a cyclist. But at the same time, when Portland/Oregon is encouraging alternative transportation to “reduce infrastructure” this effort seems contradictory. The ADU tax messup in Multnomah County last year seems to parallel this $15 tax. Provide a solution to a problem – Does it work? Great! Now we can tax it since residents see it as worthwhile.

    If this tax really bothers consumers there are plenty of bike shops out of state and online. I don’t understand how this will be enforced in Vancouver, WA where I can show my Oregon ID and avoid the WA sales tax.

    At best, I see the cost/benefit of this bike tax effort a wash. Next Oregon will be charging Nike for each shoe sold, Solar companies for every cloudless day (which I would totally pay for come February if it helped get rid of the grey), and tourists for each glance at “Keep Portland Weird”.

  46. Avatar idlebytes says:

    Seems like a necessary evil to pass a budget that we needed in some form or another. I don’t think it will have much impact on sales or new infrastructure but I hope I’m wrong on the latter and that the administration costs will be low. I think a tax on consumables like tires, tubes, and bar tape would be more worth the administration costs. It seems obvious that would raise more money and spread the tax to more cyclists instead of just new bike owners but here we are.

    1. Avatar Matt Pennington says:

      You’re probably right on the amount of money that would bring in but that would sound too much like a sales tax to too many people. This seems more like ‘registration’ to people so they can get away with it. It also is small enough that people will pay it but it won’t prevent purchases. It also is enough money that when those annoying people yell hey “I pay for these roads, you can nicely say back, well I paid for them too with my nice bike tax” 😛

  47. Avatar Steve says:

    The bicycle portion of this bill seems a bit poorly written:

    “(5) ‘Taxable bicycle’ means a new bicycle that has wheels of at least 26 inches in diameter and a retail sales price of $200 or more.”

    Measurement of popular wheel sizes below – not including tire.

    Road Bikes
    700 = actual wheel diameter of 24.5″
    Mountain Bikes
    26 = actual wheel diameter of 22″
    29 = actual wheel diameter of 24.5″

    One could argue that none of the bicycles offered for sale have “wheels” with a 26″ diameter. When I buy a “wheel” from a store it does not include a rim strip, tire or tube.

    1. Avatar Matt Pennington says:

      Any bill goes through a process of administration and rules being written when it is actually fleshed out. Think of how the marijuana bill was passed in a fairly basic form and over a few months the actual details were fleshed out by bureaucrats. The same will happen here where loopholes and little things will be tidied up. There may even need to be a small fixer bill passed next session fix loopholes etc.

  48. Avatar jeff says:

    can someone please make the whining here stop? Its 15$ that probably won’t affect most of you. most of you spend more on beer each week. relax. this echos of Clackamas county not wanting to spend 5$ to build a bridge they used. the selfishness is rampant in this city in the past decade.

    1. Avatar q says:

      Since as you say, the tax won’t affect most of the people criticizing it, then how can you say those people are selfish? Doesn’t that show they’re NOT selfish?

      1. Avatar jeff says:

        not when they’re still whining about it, no…

        1. Avatar q says:

          So if I see someone treating someone else in a way I think is unfair or wrong, and I object, then I’m being selfish and whining? That makes no sense.

    2. Avatar George Dorn says:

      My complaint is that it doesn’t affect me enough. Flat taxes are regressive. I’d rather it were a percent tax, so that when I buy an expensive bike I pay way more than somebody who can only scrape together $250 for a decent non-Walmart commuter bike.

      1. Avatar Alan 1.0 says:

        OK, but consumer (sales) taxes are also regressive. If one is going to go that route, why just tax one very specific consumer item rather than a spectrum of them?

        1. Avatar Matt Pennington says:

          It is regressive but I have a feeling it is also just easier for the consumer and also all the shop owners. They can just know that all bikes are going to be $15 more than the listed prices rather than 4.5% more than whatever the price says on the tag. It makes calculations and taxes a lot easier. Yes the revenues may be lower and it is regressive especially towards the bottom but I would assume it’s a lot easier on paper especially considering how low the dollar amounts are going to be coming in.

        2. Avatar SE Rider says:

          Consumer taxes on “luxury” items aren’t regressive though. And the way this is written (only affecting new bikes over $200 (would have liked the original $500 limit)), it is unlikely to have a major impact on lower income residents who are much more likely to buy a cheap or used bike. If it was on all new bikes (and used bikes) it would certainly be considered regressive.

    3. Avatar Paul Atkinson says:

      It’s not about how it affects me personally. I’m in favor of many taxes I pay in much higher amounts.

    4. Avatar Dan A says:

      Is there a difference in your mind between offering criticism and whining?

      1. Avatar 9watts says:

        jeff doesn’t realize that *he’s* whining.

  49. Avatar Dino says:

    Progressives love taxes except when they have to pay them. It’s a symbolic tax and not onerous whatsoever. Everybody needs to chip in something.

    1. Avatar Paul Atkinson says:

      When I want to know what progressives think I’ll ask one. Or I’ll just get introspective. Turns out you’re misinformed about which taxes we support and why; if you’d like to know then feel free to ask.

    2. Avatar Dan A says:

      Yes, but symbolic of what?

    3. Avatar q says:

      If you think “Everybody needs to chip in something”, why are you defending this tax that’s aimed at only bike riders, and actually at only a few percent of them?

      And who–“progressives” or otherwise–supports taxes because they’re “symbolic” and “not onerous”?

      Plus, much of the criticism of this tax here is coming from people who won’t have to pay it. So apparently those people either aren’t progressive or, more likely, your statement about them loving taxes is just wrong.

      1. Avatar Matt Pennington says:

        I think it’s a bit unfair to say it’s a tax only aimed at bike riders. It’s one tax which is a part of a tax package that helps fund transportation projects for the state for the next 8 years. Yes part of it, the smallest part of it is a bike tax.

        1. Avatar SE Rider says:

          And it’s not even aimed at “bike riders”. It’s aimed at people who buy new bikes over $200 (which I would imagine is the minority of bike riders).

          1. Avatar q says:

            Yes, hence my “only a few percent of them”.

        2. Avatar q says:

          I was replying to someone who called the bike tax a symbolic tax, so it is fair to say the bike tax is aimed at bike riders. Obviously the entire package is aimed more widely.

  50. Avatar Niall M says:

    Other countries are offering bike to work tax-incentives, not taxes ON bikes. Up to $1000 tax free allowance every 5 years in Ireland.

  51. Avatar Penny says:

    Just buy a bike out of state

    1. Avatar Matt Pennington says:

      I mean if you buy it in WA you’d be paying sales tax so you’d probably be paying more than a flat $15 so you’re still better off just buying it here. Plus you’re supporting the local bike shops.

      1. Avatar q says:

        No, Oregonians are exempt from Washington sales tax. All you have to do is show your ID and ask to have it waived.

  52. Avatar Ron K says:

    This seems like a horrible idea. We should be doing everything we can as a society to get people out of their oil-fed vehicles: i can definitely see this as a deal breaker for new bike purchases.
    This is as badly thought out as that idiotic attempt at a law about requiring bicyclists to wear reflective vests. us bikers get shit on enough. This is insulting. How about required communtiy service for motorists that try to run bikes off the road? Stupid, stupid idea. Guarantee you zero of this will go towards anything to do with biking.

  53. Avatar mark duff says:

    the old Portland is dead…the rich are taxing the working class now, at an extreme rate….i am not complaining anymore, i am moving to Montana…..good luck w/ your communist dystopia…..

    1. Avatar eawrist says:

      This wasn’t happening when we were kids?

  54. Are you kidding? Beyond stupid. Getting away from cars and providing a healthy alternative should be encouraged with incentives, not a tax. Portland, what’s up?

  55. Avatar Richard Hughes says:

    Bike Fridays too!

    1. Avatar Ted Buehler says:

      20″ tires — not taxed

  56. Avatar Matt Pennington says:

    Don’t forget that the Oregon government is also giving an incentive for people to buy larger less fuel efficient vehicles by charging more to register higher mpg and electric vehicles. The lower the carbon intensity of your transportation choice in Oregon the more you will pay.
    Recommended 14

    I believe the way the bill is written, the additional money also goes to the rebate program to continue paying the tax incentives for electric vehicles as well so there is still an incentive system built in as well.

    1. Avatar J_R says:

      Doesn’t it seem pretty stupid to provide tax credits to encourage purchase of electric vehicles but increased fees to own them?

      1. Avatar Eric Leifsdad says:

        That’s how we pay for the credits, with the fees to the people who get the credits. “You pay for what you use”, unless you’re using gasoline, of course because freedom.

  57. Avatar El Biciclero says:

    Is there truly no way “Connect Oregon” could become a checkbox on tax returns? If I just found out I was getting a refund from the state, I might be in a generous mood and be willing to “donate” some of it (probably more than $15) to this fund, if only it were possible. Isn’t that system already “administered” as well?

    Furthermore, if the “bike infrastructure” that ends up being built using these funds is a mish-mash of 8-ft-wide MUPs to nowhere and bollard-separated, two-way cattle chutes, then no, thanks. If we expect bicyclists to share the same path space with meandering groups of pedestrians and dogs on leashes, then we can certainly expect drivers to share road space with bicyclists traveling in a straight, predictable line.

  58. Avatar Ruth Duemler says:

    unbelievable! We should pay bike riders as they help reduce transit emissions—-administration of tax will take all the money—-such backward thinking

    1. Avatar Mossby Pomegranate says:

      Sorry, Kate Brown does not ride a bicycle.

  59. Avatar bill says:

    i have said all along that if you demand to be a form of transportation and demand to be given fair share of the road, you should also 1) register 2) license 3) insurance 4) tickets……………you damn well make it hell and are beligerant enough to think you are exempt from the road rules. this is about time they did something and its a good must pay your fair share that every other “vehicle” pays in Oregon.

    1. Avatar El Biciclero says:

      I don’t demand to be a form of transportation; bicycles just are a form of transportation—that’s what they were invented for, just like cars. Oregon law already declares bicycles to be vehicles. Registering a motor vehicle, obtaining a driver’s license and carrying insurance don’t grant anyone a “fair share of the road”, they grant the revocable privilege of operating a multi-ton piece of dangerous equipment with the destructive power of an IED in a space shared with other people, and attempt to mitigate the high costs of repairing the damage cars do. As for tickets, plenty are issued to bicyclists, without needing any of the preceding items. The only thing I demand is freedom from death at the hands of inattentive or belligerent motorists. If by “make it hell”, you mean, “force me to pay attention and sometimes drive more slowly”, I have to wonder what your picture of hell is like. Speaking of hell, the only reason any bicyclist “demands” special space in which they opt to confine themselves, is because drivers have created the hellish roadway conditions that literally threaten—and often take—the lives of bicyclists and pedestrians every single day. So without bad drivers, there would be no need whatsoever to spend extra money on special facilities in an attempt keep bicyclists from dying as they travel.

      One could say that intentionally creating dangerous conditions, then asking people to pay to protect themselves from said dangerous conditions is actually extortion…

    2. Avatar q says:

      Don’t you have this all backwards, bill? Bikes were here first as transportation, decades before automobiles. When those arrived and made streets hell for other users, the government decided that, due to their danger (per El Biciclero’s comment) they needed to be registered, and their drivers licensed and required to carry insurance.

      So it’s not bikers that demanded to be given a fair share of the road, it’s automobile drivers. And as you’re showing so well, some drivers aren’t happy with having got a fair share–actually far more than fair. Instead, they feel entitled to EXCLUSIVE use of the roads unless bicycles get saddled with requirements that were already determined long ago to make no sense, and still don’t.

      Your big-government, license-and-register approach makes no sense, and telling us you’ve been saying it all along–twice in fact, since you posted the same comment twice–doesn’t change that.

      1. Avatar Paul Atkinson says:

        Not everyone knows literally all the details of all the laws regarding use of our shared roadways; I’d hazard a guess that very few really do. Most folks operate from a series of shorthand rules that represent the broad conditions under which they expect to be operating most of the time, and most of the time they’re right (or at least close to it).

        One such shorthand rule is “bicycles on the road must obey the same rules as cars.” That’s not a law, but it is true most of the time. Unfortunately the times when it’s not true are frequent enough that if that statement represents your entire understanding of the law you’re going to be surprised (and, likely, have a negative reaction) when someone riding a bicycle does something perfectly legal that a car can’t do.

        Even if you’re not going to learn all the laws, bill, you’d do well to at least recognize the limits of your knowledge and withhold your hostility when you don’t understand.

        I don’t think I’m exempt from the rules. Please don’t tell me what I think again; if you want to know what someone thinks, ask.

      2. Avatar Max Frisson says:

        It is not so much that the basic requirements of licenses, permits, and insurance for bikes were ever debated and set aside in the pre-auto era, rather the wider acceptance of the car required these. The motorcycle didn’t require insurance or special operator testing until half a century after the car did.

        1. Avatar q says:

          What’s the difference? Jurisdictions all over the country decided to require licenses, registration and insurance for cars, but not for bikes. Either the requirements were debated for bikes, and a conscious decision was made (in thousands of jurisdictions) to NOT require them, or it never occurred to anyone to require them because there weren’t any significant problems being caused by bikes.

  60. Avatar Max Frisson says:

    Oregon’s small fee is really a positive move toward establishing human-powered craft as rightful roadway users. Bicycles are a valid component of the modern urban transportation mix and deserve appropriate accommodation. But they also must share responsibility. They need to be equipped with a license plate for registration and identification purposes, they need to be inspected for safety equipment and a minimum level of equipment established for street bikes [no brakeless fixed-gear bikes], the operators need a permit obtained through a skills & knowledge test, and they need liability insurance. The reason that motorized vehicle operators obey laws is that if they don’t their license to drive is revoked. That same coercive ability needs to be established for bicycle operators as well. Once these requirements have been met then the bicycle can truly say it is an equal to the motorized vehicle on the road.

    1. Avatar Dan A says:

      The bicycle will NEVER be an equal to motorized vehicles. And why would we want it to be? Surely you are aware that cars were directly responsible for the deaths of 40,000+ people in the US last year.

    2. Adam Adam says:

      Part of the appeal of bicycles are their simplicity, low-cost, and ease of access. Overbearing state regulation would only serve to degrade the bicycle’s utility and provide zero benefit to anyone but the bike detractors.

    3. Avatar 9watts says:

      “The reason that motorized vehicle operators obey laws is that if they don’t their license to drive is revoked.”

      April Fools?

    4. Avatar El Biciclero says:

      “Oregon’s small fee is really a positive move toward establishing human-powered craft as rightful roadway users. Bicycles are a valid component of the modern urban transportation mix and deserve appropriate accommodation.”

      Which is it? Are we making “positive moves” toward it, or are “bicycles…a valid component of the…transportation mix” already? I say the latter; taxing does nothing in that respect.

      “They need to be equipped with a license plate for registration and identification purposes, they need to be inspected for safety equipment and a minimum level of equipment established for street bikes [no brakeless fixed-gear bikes], the operators need a permit obtained through a skills & knowledge test, and they need liability insurance”

      Why, why, why, and why? The vast numbers of injuries and deaths being caused by bicycle use? The millions of dollars of damage bicycles do every day? The inability to issue citations to bicyclists (ask any bicyclist who’s received a $242 ticket for rolling through a STOP sign or “obstructing traffic” how hard it is)? We don’t even require safety inspections for motor vehicles (except for commercial trucks), why impose them on bicycles? None of those things make drivers much safer than they would be without them.

      “The reason that motorized vehicle operators obey laws is that if they don’t their license to drive is revoked.”

      Ahhhh…Ok, now that I’ve stopped laughing and can see clearly again: no, this is not the reason drivers obey the law. It’s actually extremely difficult to get one’s license suspended, let alone revoked. Drivers obey the law for one main reason: to avoid damaging their vehicles or themselves. A close second is to avoid getting tickets. Otherwise, if they think they can get away with it, most drivers I observe will break any law they feel will help them “win” the traffic race. Stop before making a right on red? Nope. Squeeze through that left turn after the signal is red? Yep. Speed? Constantly. Stop before entering a crosswalk? Nope. Yield to pedestrians? Nope. Come to a full and complete stop at STOP signs? Nope. Use turn signals? Nope. Look before turning across a bike lane? Maybe. Open car doors into the path of passing bicyclists? Yep. Dial/talk/text on cell phones while driving? Yep. Drive down the bike lane to sneak to the front of the line and make a right on red? Yep. Continue driving even though they have no license and no insurance? Yep. Even what drivers consider to be the most minor of infractions still presents more than 25x the danger to others if done in a two-ton motor vehicle than if done on a bike.

      You’ve been taken in by the false assumption that operating a motor vehicle and operating a bicycle are equivalent activities; they’re not. Imagine asking that pedestrians wear a registration number vest so they can be busted for jaywalking—does that make sense? How about asking people to pay a tax on “athletic” shoes to also help fund “bike paths” (which are truly not just for bikes, but are usually designated as “Multi-Use” paths) and sidewalks? How about special liability insurance for pedestrians in case they accidentally bump someone off the sidewalk and cause them to fall down in the street, or step suddenly in front of a bicyclist on one of our famous “Multi-Use” paths, causing a crash?

      Now I know that riding a bike is not equivalent to being a pedestrian, either, but there is definitely a threshold above which the increase in life-threatening danger and damage potential is so great that it demands tighter regulation; this is the case with motor vehicles. Plus, if riding a bike places is such a blissful, freeloading, freewheeling delight, why isn’t everyone doing it? No taxes, no laws, no tickets, no insurance—what’s not to love? Come on—don’t you want to get in on a piece of the action?

      1. Avatar 9watts says:

        Can we have Comment of The Week back? Please?

    5. Avatar q says:

      Have their been problems caused by people riding brakeless bikes on streets?

  61. Avatar Warren S Anderson says:

    The most damaging factor in our road’s infrastructure is weight. If a 15# bike should be taxed $15, then a 600# Harley should be taxed $600, a 2,000# # Smart car should be $2,000, and a GMC Yukon that weighs almost 5,500# should pay $5,500. If your talking “fair share”!

      1. Avatar Dan A says:

        According to this chart, if you’re taxing by road damage, a 5,500lb Yukon causes 59,575x as much damage as a bike. So if bikes are taxed $15, Yukons should be taxed $893,625. Big rigs should be taxed $102,515,625.

    1. Avatar db says:

      215 pounds. Your 200 pound ass is included in the weight, or the bike goes nowhere. That means $60 bucks for the Harley, and etc. (about right).

      1. Avatar Dan A says:

        That’s ignoring the chart I posted, which used 350lbs for the man on the bike.

    2. Avatar Meanoldmike says:

      Actually taxing the 40,000 lb semi loaded with junk for WalMart at $40k/year still probably would not pay for the actual costs of all the damage they do to the roadways…..

  62. Avatar Bobby M says:

    Politicians and government have never met a tax they didn’t just LOVE. If anyone believes for a moment that this tax money collected will not be rerouted to cover shortfalls, waste and fraud in other areas and political pet projects, then you’re asleep at the wheel. The simple fact is that they don’t care a bit about the extra burdens placed on small businesses, THE COST passed along to consumers that will be WELL in excess of the $15 AND the increased numbers of state employees required to enforce, assess, collect & ‘manage’ the money. All in all they’ve just passed a $15 tax that will end up COSTING the state and taxpayers more than it will take in. Economics is not their strong suit and it’s no wonder that West Coast states are hemorrhaging small businesses, residents and money at an ever increasing rate.

    1. Avatar q says:

      I’m not a fan of this tax, either, but I’m not seeing a lot of evidence of Washington, Oregon or California “hemorrhaging” residents.

  63. Avatar Clifford says:

    As far as I can tell, this bill has not been signed by Governor Kate Brown yet. I don’t see a reason for the delay.

    But, please write to her with either your support or disapproval of the State’s new SIN tax on bicycles akin to taxing cigarettes, booze, and gasoline.

    Also the idea for taxing a greater percentage of bikes sold by small businesses, and a smaller percentage of bikes sold by department stores.

    And, of course, giving tax breaks to gas guzzlers and taxing fuel efficient vehicles and electric vehicles more.

    While I do like the idea of new bicycle infrastructure, there needs to be an emphasis on also maintaining the old infrastructure. And, I believe the state is going about it all wrong. The state should be taking steps to encourage more bicycle participating rather than making the healthy choice more expensive to new riders.

  64. Avatar db says:

    Reading through this text…
    “(1)(a) ‘Bicycle’ means a vehicle that is designed to be operated on the ground on wheels and is propelled exclusively by human power.” — Ebikes are exempt.
    “(5) ‘Taxable bicycle’ means a new bicycle that has wheels of at least 26 inches in diameter and a retail sales price of $200 or more.” — Since this only seems to apply to complete bikes (not parts), you could sell a bike frame + components, and separately purchase a wheel-set and it would be exempt from this tax. I predict we may see more of that…
    Recommended 30

    Tax evasion is a crime.

    1. Avatar q says:

      Doing things that are legal to avoid taxes is not a crime. People change their behaviors all the time legally to legally avoid taxes.

    2. Avatar Dan A says:

      A bicycle “has a seat or saddle for use of the rider”. If someone sells me something that looks similar to a bicycle but does not have a seat or saddle, how is it a bicycle?

  65. Avatar db says:

    215 pounds. Your 200 pound @ss is included in the weight, or the bike goes nowhere. That means $60 bucks for the Harley, and etc. (about right).

  66. Avatar adrian says:

    How is anyone not noticing yet:

    wheel diameters over 26″

    It’s like the lawmakers have never heard of ISO wheels size and didn’t realize the 26″ label was just marketing with no true physical correlation….

    a traditional mountain bike wheel is physically Less Than 26″
    559mm=22″ for the rim. even if we count ‘tire’ as part of ‘wheel diameter’ anything less than a 1.95 tire will still pass.

    and why should the tire be counted as part of wheel diameter? tires come in all kinds of width options; the tire dimensions aren’t intrinsic to the bike itself.
    if we push that logic (or if LBS’s start selling tires separately) then even 29Plus and FatBikes will pass.

    1. Avatar Dan A says:

      “How is anyone not noticing yet”

      People noticed in the comments above, and in the previous BP posts.

    2. Avatar El Biciclero says:

      “why should the tire be counted as part of wheel diameter?”

      Because this is a tax thought up by people who know nothing about bikes or riding. Somebody heard the nominal size of 26″, and if you’ve never bought a replacement wheel (because your bike has been ridden a total of 2.7 miles in the 14 years you’ve owned it), you don’t make the distinction between “wheel” and “tire”.

  67. Avatar SpaceNorman says:

    I’m not an Oregon resident – and live on the other end of the country so this particular law will likely have zero direct impact on me. I am however a lifelong cyclist – and one who is tired of hearing from the “anti-cycling” camp rail about the fact that cyclists don’t “pay” to use the roads – and deride the idea that cyclists contributions are part of the fees/taxes we pay when we’re wearing our “motorist” hats. I’d be OK with paying a one time $15 fee earmarked for cycling “infrastructure” when I purchase a new bike just so I’ve got a “receipt” to point at and remove that talking point for the table.

  68. Avatar Twig says:

    I want to know when mandatory road tests, licensing, registration and insurance are going to be put on bicyclists….. I’ve had 2 bikes hit my car because they were grabbing their water or avoiding a dog or whatever the excuse was and damaged my car with their 180lbs + bike and I had to pay the damages to my car. Insurances don’t see bicycles as vehicles and if a bike hits and runs what are you going to do? No plate, make, model, description….

    I’ve had kids on bike run stop signs and yell at me for being at fault and telling me I have to stop.because they’re “pedestrians…..” Pick a camp, you can’t be both when one pleases you more than the other or is more convenient.

    1. Avatar Dan A says:

      Good point. I want to know when speed limits will be set by all of the people instead of just by the 85th percentile of people in cars, when they will be enforced as posted without a 10mph cushion, when we will start using the basic speed law as written, when cars will be taken away from people who aren’t licensed or insured to drive them, when we will start administering real & recurring driving tests that actually put some focus ways to protect people outside of cars instead of a multiple choice test that only requires a score of 80% (seriously, the driving test is a joke), when the police will start setting an example and following traffic laws themselves, when drivers will start paying the true costs of gasoline, parking, pollution, roads, medical costs, and wars in oil-rich countries that they are imposing on everyone else, when the deaths of bicyclists and pedestrians will start getting fair investigations without shrugging and relying on the words of the survivors.

      Let’s flip your scenario, and pretend that instead of a cyclist hitting a car in the road it was a driver hitting a person in the road and killing them. Assuming the driver stuck around (this is becoming less common, BTW), the police would ask the driver what happened, the driver would say they didn’t see the person or that the person ‘came out of nowhere’, and the police would investigate to find ways that the pedestrian was responsible for getting hit. Then they would make a statement about ways pedestrians can keep from getting run over, throw up their hands and move on. Was your car wearing a helmet? What was it doing in the road? What color is it? Did it have its lights on?

    2. Avatar q says:

      If the cyclist was avoiding a dog, shouldn’t you be unhappy with the dog owner, not the cyclist?

      If a car hit your car because the driver was avoiding a cyclist who ran a stop sign, would you be mad at the driver, but not the cyclist? Based on your dog example, you would be.

      Since dogs are already licensed, but that didn’t do anyone any good in this crash that the dog caused, should dogs wear large license plates?

      1. Avatar Dan A says:

        But if the dogs barks and runs, what can we do? That’s what I want to know.

        1. Avatar q says:

          Depends on the breed. My neighbor had a pit bull-collie mix. It used to bite people, then run for help.

  69. Avatar Twig says:

    I don’t care about your examples of wars, parking etc because none of that crap allies to cars specifically. Your country chose to declare war which has NOTHING to do with your daily commuter. Pedaling a bike doesn’t make you better than someone in a car except in your mind.

    1. Avatar 9watts says:

      So much anger and so many misconceptions.

      I don’t care about your examples of wars, parking etc because none of that crap allies to cars specifically. Your country chose to declare war which has NOTHING to do with your daily commuter.

      Pedaling a bike doesn’t make you better than someone in a car except in your mind.

      Did anyone here make that assertion? I don’t suppose this will persuade you, but the German government has set up a program to champion those who commute by bike as Climate Heroes, so at least in their minds the choice of vehicle has significance and meaning.

      The Norwegian town of Lillestrøm went even further. For a week in July [2014] they paid people walking and bicycling—for eschewing the car and choosing a more environmentally salutary way of getting around.

    2. Avatar Dan A says:

      Sounds like we’re in agreement on the other 11 points I made.

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