Thoughts on Bicyclists
There was a second interesting discussion on the Jonathan Weir show this morning, about how bicyclists are seemingly all road hogs. Probably all American drivers have some anecdotal evidence of why this is true, but anecdotes do not a universal truth make.
The fact of the matter is, all bicyclists have to adhere to the same laws as people driving cars, and bicyclists also have the same privileges on the roads that cars do. The argument that bicyclists don’t buy gasoline, therefore have less claim to the road, is what I would refer to as the Little Red Hen theory of economics. That theory is out of bounds because roads and infrastructure in America are not based on this idea of usage-merit. (Department of Transportation certified vehicles are a different story. These people pay extra and have even more requirements to use the roads, and they have more restrictions on where they can drive.)
For the greater good, residents pay taxes, through an infinite number of means. Here I am, doing no research to back this up, but I’m making an educated guess that taxes paid on gasoline don’t make a large representation of income allocated to road improvements. In truth I have no idea how money is allocated, but since cities collect property tax, sales tax, income tax, and even franchise fees from utilities that serve those communities, money is pouring in from everywhere.
It’s too bad that I can’t get a tax discount because I’ve never had to call the cops once, and I’ve never had a fire at my house, and I’ve never taken an ambulance ride. By that same token, I shouldn’t be denied the right to ride a bike because I won’t be paying for any gasoline. Actually, I’ll probably be paying some sales tax on all of the gatorade and energy bars I’ll be buying. The nice thing about living in America is that we have the power to affect change. If we collectively, truly feel that bicyclists are dangerous, annoying, we can urge the leadership of the country to write laws making it illegal to ride a bike without a license and registration, and property tax receipts. I doubt that will ever happen though.
PS: I have a strange suspicion that Jonathan really doesn’t believe some of the things he said earlier, and was pushing those ideas in the spirit of good debate.