The “cyclists don’t pay their fair share” debate rears its ugly head again, and lots of Monday links

Once again, a sadly misinformed motorist assumes all drivers obey traffic laws while all cyclists ignore them. And so we should be forced to pay for our “extravagantly generous” bike lanes ourselves.

We’ll ignore the fact that virtually every driver breaks the law on a regular basis. Like cheating the posted speed limit by an extra five to 10 mph. Seldom, if ever, signaling. Or failing to come to a full stop at stop signs, while feeling not the least bit hypocritical in pointing the finger — yes, that one — at cyclists who do the same.

But I have to question how many drivers would willingly trade their publicly financed 12-foot travel lanes for the pothole-ridden, gutter-clinging door zone lanes we have to fight for. Even though they cost pennies on the dollar compared to motor vehicle lanes.

Meanwhile, a Santa Cruz writer offers the best response to the “cyclists don’t pay for the road” myth I’ve yet seen. And in just two paragraphs, no less.

I’d suggest copying this one and saving it for the next time you’re confronted by one of these motor meatheads.

Maybe the solution is to stop all forms of street and highway funding that aren’t paid directly by road users, so drivers will finally understand how little they actually pay for the roads they use. And how much they’d have to pay to continue rolling in the relative roadway luxury to which they’ve long been accustomed.

We might even manage to actually balance the budget while we watch the streets crumble around us.

Not like they’re not doing that already.

Crumbling, not balancing.

……..

Great set of historical L.A. bike photos from the Los Angeles Library archives. Sometimes a complaint works, as an illegal newsbox blocking a bike rack disappears. Evidently, car parking is preferable to bike parking at bars, so that imbibers will drive home drunk instead of biking. Studio City Patch examines the anatomy of a recent bike hit-and-run. A Chicago bike blogger visits the first Bike Center in Long Beach. The San Gabriel Valley Tribune says bike thefts are soaring. A look at the inaugural Cycling Claremont ride. Planning safe routes to the beach in Corona del Mar. A 19-year old Newbury Park mountain biker was killed in a fall while riding in Kern County on New Years Eve. A new bill introduced in the state assembly could allow more innovative California bikeway designs; not surprisingly, it’s supported by CalBike and opposed by vehicular cycling-oriented CABO. A Modesto grandfather was killed in a hit-and-run while riding his bike on Friday. In a killing reminiscent of L.A.’s recent gang past, a Modesto-area cyclist is shot for wearing the wrong color shorts. An April ride from San Diego to Sacramento is planned to protest Governor Brown’s vetoes that endanger cyclists, such as the proposed three-foot passing law and increased penalties for distracted driving..

The amazing Katie Compton wins her eighth national cyclocross title. Considering his opposition to funding bike projects, is House Majority Leader Eric Cantor really a cyclist? Another great read from Kent’s Bike Blog on whether it’s better to buy a cheap bike and fix it up, or an expensive bike that needs little or no maintenance. An Austin cyclist asks if blowing through red lights is worth it. Cyclists around the country have been pleading for this ad campaign to come to America. A New York study shows bike lanes don’t endanger pedestrians, or anyone else, for that matter. Boston bicyclists get more bike lanes. Another reason to adopt a dog — a Virginia pooch rescued by the Humane Society tracks down his owner’s stolen bike.

It’s deer versus cyclists in Victoria BC. London’s vaunted Cycle Superhighways cost ten times as much per mile as Chicago bikeways, with far worse results. Londoners plan to blockade a dangerous intersection Monday to protest the city’s lack of action in response to rising cyclist death rates. The new shared road space in London doesn’t seem to be shared at all, as designs appear inadequate, while drivers insist on maintaining dominance. Another day, another doping scandal, this time involving the world sprint champ. A Dutch cyclist loses his drivers license after a possible drunk biking collision.

An Aussie cyclist successfully circumnavigates the entire country. Apparently, no one is responsible for a Down Under dooring death but the victim himself. The Path Less Pedaled looks at a biking Kiwi nomad. A South African restaurant chain bans helmets and sweaty spandex. Can cyclists co-exist with pedestrians in Singapore? A hilarious Japanese look at bike bells for pedestrians, via the Claremont Cyclist.

Finally, a couple of non-bike related pieces.

First up, L.A. expat Amanda Lipsey, now roaming the wilds of Montana with the Adventure Cycling Association, forwards the story of a hero Corgi who not only survived an avalanche, but walked four miles back to the hotel room his owners had stayed in. And, I might mention, is a dead ringer for mine.

Second, my dogsled racing brother — and newfound adventure cyclist — writes about his recent efforts in the Sheep Mountain 150, as he prepares his team for next month’s Yukon Quest — a race that makes the famed Iditarod look easy.

Or less horrendously difficult, anyway.

10 comments

  1. Jim Lucas says:

    If you would stop using contractions that are turned into illegible characters, your articles would be much easier to read. The posting to which I am commenting might look like this:

    Stop all forms of street and the highway funding that is not directly paid for by road users, so drivers will finally understand how little they actually pay for the roads they use. And how much they would have to pay to continue rolling in the relative roadway luxury to which they have long been accustomed.

    We might even manage to actually balance the budget while we watch the streets crumble around us.

    Not that many streets are not already crumbling around us.

  2. Jim Lucas says:

    Correction to my comment:

    If you would stop using contractions that are turned into illegible characters, your articles would be much easier to read. The posting to which I am commenting might look like this:

    Stop all forms of street and the highway funding not directly paid for by road users, so drivers will finally understand how little they actually pay for the roads they use. And how much they would have to pay to continue rolling in the relative roadway luxury to which they have long been accustomed.

    We might even manage to actually balance the budget while we watch the streets crumble around us.

    Not that many streets are not already crumbling around us.

    Sorry my bad.

    • bikinginla says:

      Hey Jim — 

      Sorry the contractions are not showing up correctly. It looks fine on my screen using Safari and Firefox. What browser are you using? And is anyone else having that problem?

      I will try to use fewer contractions, however, that writing style is so ingrained with me that I am not sure how successful I will be.

      And yes, I had to go back and remove four contractions in the previous two paragraphs alone.

    • Brent says:

      I believe text on WordPress sites is controlled more by WordPress than by the publisher. For instance, this site uses an HMTL 5 (i.e., the latest) doctype, along with relatively few concessions to older browsers. Ordinary quotes and apostrophes are converted to “curly” styles, and may cause some browser to display them as codes instead of characters, although I haven’t seen any problems. It may be worthwhile to check which browser you’re using, and upgrade if not the latest (Explorer is on version 9, now). If that doesn’t fix the problem, you can also try Chrome, Firefox, or even Safari; all three are available for the PC.

  3. eldon 46 says:

    “Maybe the solution is to stop all forms of street and highway funding that aren’t paid directly by road users. . .”

    The reason a separate and additional tax is added to the sale of gasoline and diesel fuels is because those additional taxes were originally intended to place the burden of paying for the use of public highways directly on the users, not the general tax fund generated by sales and property taxes. The insinuation that the cost of developing and maintaining public roadways isn’t paid for by the people that use them is absurd. Presumably, the cost of riding public transportation reflects fuel expense. Unfortunately, the people you elect to public office don’t seem to understand that distinction, and routinely raid the general tax treasury to pay for matters beyond the intended purpose.

  4. As a cyclist who is also an automobile driver, I’m going to say that cyclists DO pay their fair share towards the maintenance of roads since (I’m going out on a limb here!) most cyclists also own cars. So, why should we pay double for reducing pollution and wear and tear on the roads on the days we ride our bicycle?!

    • BLL, it’s a good argument, but not a necessary argument. There isn’t a required financial “buy-in” to traverse the public right-of-way. One has to step back and consider what a “road” really is.

      Think of the public space a road sits on more like you would think of a public park, and you will see where the real issue is. Motorists are like people who show up to the park and mark it out for a football game, leaving picnickers the sidelines. So then a local football club comes along, gets permission from the park authorities to erect some permanent goalposts and put down a chalk gridiron. And just like that, it “looks” like the football players have a priority over the picnickers.

      And if a bunch of families showed up and picnicked on the 50-yard line, and the disgruntled football players called the park police, the police would probably say the picnickers are ‘disturbing the peace’ or something like that, side with the football players and suggest the picnickers use the picnic benches over there by the toilets…

      But were the park authorities right to let a football field be built on the public park? And once it is there, are the police right in suggesting the picnickers defer to the football players? Of course not.

      That’s the underlying issue (public space) and mentality (organisation = authority) we are dealing with.

  5. jonomc says:

    I own a porsche, an s-class merc and a BMW.

    Most miles I generally do are on my bike – I think I more than pay my fair share or road and personal tax (much more than most). On top of that I am paying for a road that I use very little of. I get rather annoyed by the cyclists don’t pay their fair share argument.

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