Here’s something light to end the week…
We’ve been scouring the Oregon Legislative Information System lately to find all the bills worth tracking for transportation advocates this session. One thing we’ve come across is a 93-page omnibus bill (LC 2448 at the moment) that has some interesting nuggets. I’ll share more about it as the session unfolds. For now I want to share Section 34 of the bill.
It caught my eye because it pertains to one of the Oregon Revised Statutes that is near and dear to my heart: the definition of “bicycle”. Specifically, it pertains to how “bicycle” is defined for purposes of applying the Bicycle Excise Tax which was passed into law in 2017. As it stands now, the statutory definition of a bicycle in ORS 320.400 is: “A vehicle that is designed to be operated on the ground on wheels and is propelled exclusively by human power” (which is based on the full definition of bicycle in ORS 801.150).
LC 2448 would amend that definition so that it includes (in bold), “A vehicle that is designed to be operated on the ground on wheels for the transportation of humans and is propelled exclusively by human power;”
That struck me as odd and I wondered what the impetus for the change was. I emailed ODOT Economist Daniel Porter to find out more. He was able to confirm that the amendment came from the Department of Revenue who wants to clarify the rules that govern the Bicycle Excise Tax. Porter shared with me via email that their intent is to, “Tax just bicycles that we ride, not something like a fancy wheelbarrow.”
I asked Porter if this was a problem that was coming up at DOR. As in, were people trying to tax fancy wheelbarrows or other two-wheeled conveyances that weren’t built for the specific purpose of transporting humans? “No,” Porter replied, “they just wanted to make sure there wouldn’t be a problem at some point in the future.”
This isn’t the first time DOR has tweaked the bike tax law. In 2018 they expanded it to include a wider range of bikes.
LC 2448 is currently being reviewed by lawmakers in the Joint Transportation Committee. It’s on the agenda again for their January 26th meeting.
Have a good weekend everyone. And don’t forget to follow @BikePortland on Twitter and Instagram for live updates from the Flanders Crossing Bridge installation tomorrow. If you see me down there, ring a bell or say “Hi!” (from a distance of course).
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and firstname.lastname@example.org
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