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


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:

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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 jonathan@bikeportland.org

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