by Will, 12/26/2007, 1:15 PM

The P-I writes:

Motorists help pay for roads with gas taxes, tolls and license tabs. Boaters subsidize maritime programs with vessel registration and boat launch fees.

Maybe bicyclists, too, should pitch in for the costs of their trails and lanes.

It’s a suggestion — sometimes born of sincerity, other times of snarkiness — that drivers, tax-weary citizens and others make whenever politicians and cycling advocates talk about investing public money into cycling facilities. Some raised the idea again in recent weeks after the Seattle City Council and Mayor Greg Nickels endorsed a $240 million, 10-year plan for new bike lanes and street upgrades.

I read the story and the “comments” section at the end of the story (“Sound Off” is what it’s called), and the kinds of people who want to register bikes are the kind of people who hate cyclists. I hate some cyclists, but I also hate some drivers as well. It’s all about equal opportunity.

But cycling saves taxpayers money. If large numbers of people switched from SOVs to bikes, we would all save money on road maintenance. The mayor’s ten year cycling plan is cheap as shit compared to any other transportation investment.

Josh Feit writes:

I’m not sure where I stand on the idea of making bikers register. My gut tells me it’s not as simple as angry car owners make it out to be. Car owners gripe that they pay for roads through car fees, so why shouldn’t bikers help fund roads and bike lanes and bike trails?

Well, actually car owners pay for roads mostly through gas taxes, not car fees.

And here’s the real rub: Car owners are the ones who use and batter roads and cause congestion and emissions—all things that spike the cost of living for all of us.

Meanwhile, bikes save us all money—lowering congestion, easing emissions, and barely leaving any wear and tear on roads. So, why should government put up a barrier to getting more people on bikes?

Josh and the gang may not know where Federal Way is, but he’s dead on here.

Side note:

One night after doing the last hour of “The David Goldstein Show,” Goldy was giving me a ride home to Belltown. Underneath the Monorail tracks, 5th Avenue is divided in half, with the center of the street obstructed by the columns. Each half of the one-way street has (I believe) one traffic lane and one parking lane. Me and Goldy were on the left side of the pillars, and as we passed a car going much slower on the right side, I pointed the sight to Goldy:

Me: “Hey look, bicyclists, two abreast, blocking the whole lane.”

Goldy: “Fucking assholes. That’s why people hate cyclists.”

BTW, the cyclists were dressed totally in black with no helmets. Nice. Thankfully, for their sake no gravel trucks were in the area.

87 Responses to “Is that bike registered?”

1. correctnotright spews:

Yeah – I can’t wait to see the bike tolls on the new Evergreen Point Floating bonanza….

You should see all the CO2 I produce going uphill on a bike on a cold day….

Here’s another idea: tolls for trolls. This site would make a mint!

2. Piper Scott spews:

Transportation policy should be about transportation, not about how green bicycles are, therefore un-green forms of transportation should subsidize them.

Bike riders ought to pay for what they use, and if this means licensing bikes then that’s an idea whose time has come. Where is written that motorists who will never use a bike path in their lives have some moral duty to underwrite spandex splendor?

If you want to take about pollution, there’s nothing more visually irritating, painful, and foul than spandex covered asses darting through traffic without regard to laws the rest of us are required to obey.

Besides…how many tons of goods are transported by bicycles?

Here’s a thought…How about full-freight cost analysis? Those who use roads pay for them, while those who use other forms of transportation pay for them. Of course, this means that what you don’t pay for you cannot either use or benefit from. In other words, if you don’t help pay for roads, you’re forbidden from purchasing anything shipped upon them.

Sort of a, “let’s sort this stuff out and see who really gets what from where…” plan.

The Piper

3. Tizzle spews:

There are two lanes on the left side of 5th Ave, plus a parking lane.
If it’s late and there wasn’t a lot of traffic, I don’t see why two bikes can’t ride abreast. Obviously, no helmets and all black: not smart.

I don’t own a bike, fyi. But I generally stop/yield for them and haven’t seen all these ‘assholes’ I hear about.

4. Lee spews:

What would this actually look like? Would bicycles have license plates? Otherwise, how would you enforce it? Would cyclists have to carry a registration with them, and if stopped would they have to show proof of registration or else be fined?

5. Piper Scott spews:

@24…Lee…

A combination of license plates/tags, RFID technology, and on-person registration, much the same way it’s done for motorcycles. Why not? Where is it written that bike riders should get a free ride?

The Piper

6. headless lucy spews:

re 5: Wouldn’t a licensing tax for bikes hurt commerce by inhibiting the sale of bikes. In addition, the bikes were shipped here from somewhere. Would’t that enable them to pass your cartage policy?

7. Lee spews:

@5
A combination of license plates/tags, RFID technology, and on-person registration, much the same way it’s done for motorcycles. Why not?

Because all of that stuff would likely cost quite a bit more to implement than any potential benefit it would provide, Mr. “My taxes are too high”.

8. Piper Scott spews:

@6…HL…

Never said it would be tidy. And don’t licensing fees, etc., inhibit to a degree the sale of cars and motorcycles?

Again, why should bike riders get a free, spandex-covered pass?

The Piper

9. Piper Scott spews:

@7…Lee…

Price them such that they pay for themselves. Again, why should bike riders get a free ride?

The Piper

10. Don Joe spews:

@ 9

If you price them such that they pay for the administrative costs, you end up charging them disproportionately in terms of the actual costs that accrue from bicyclists’ use of public facilities.

11. ArtFart spews:

It would seem to make at least a smidgen of sense for motorists to foot a chunk of the bill for bike lanes and trails seeing as it gets the bikers out of their way, in the same way as transit may be assumed to get some cars off the road.

If license costs inhibit car sales, why the hell are there so many cars? Or….dear Lord, don’t tell me this is Detroit’s latest excuse for declining sales!

12. Lee spews:

@9
You run a risk there. What if the price is so high that people don’t register? Then, you have a cat and mouse game with a stiff fine for those who violate it, but I guarantee you that the backlash would be nasty. Anything more than $20 a year to register a bike is likely going to be laughed at. It’s not like I’ve done the numbers here, but before we implement something like this, these are things we need to think about.

As for why bike riders should get a free ride? That’s simple. They don’t pollute, don’t use up natural resources, they don’t present the same kind of safety risk as an automobile driver, and they don’t put the kind of wear and tear on the roads. Why they shouldn’t? Because the city does do work to accomodate them (bike lanes, bike paths, etc).

13. Lee spews:

@11
I wonder if anyone has done a study to see if car ownership went up after this state drastically reduced the cost of registration.

14. Politically Incorrect spews:

When one purchases a bike and pays sales tax on the purchase, that should be enough taxes. Requiring more is micro-managing. Leave the bike riders alone.

15. OneMan spews:

Who says we get a free ride?

I own, and have registered, and pay all the appropriate taxes on, two vehicles. I think I pay my share. The incremental cost and wear & tear caused by my bicycle is vastly outweighed by the benefit of taking me and my vehicle off the road at peak commute hours.

I suspect nearly all bicycle riders are in a similar situation.

16. klake spews:

One night after doing the last hour of “The David Goldstein Show,” Goldy was giving me a ride home to Belltown. Underneath the Monorail tracks, 5th Avenue is divided in half, with the center of the street obstructed by the columns. Each half of the one-way street has (I believe) one traffic lane and one parking lane. Me and Goldy were on the left side of the pillars, and as we passed a car going much slower on the right side, I pointed the sight to Goldy:
Me: “Hey look, bicyclists, two abreast, blocking the whole lane.”
Goldy: “Fucking assholes. That’s why people hate cyclists.”
BTW, the cyclists were dressed totally in black with no helmets. Nice. Thankfully, for their sake no.
Cute story Will, but from my vantage point you all should be riding bikes. Now that will never happen will it and there goes the Mayor Pothole Nickels great plans for Seattle. Why would anyone license any vehicle whether it was power by gas or humans pumping a pedal? MONEY is all the government want not any good change for mankind.
The only need to tax anybody is to provide services that are only needed for the voting public. Let’s do away with all licensing or hidden taxes that were design to create culture changes or feed government bureaucratizes that are no longer needed. Everybody has to contribute in taxes in some fashion or another; I would prefer a flat tax that is disbursed from the state down to the cities.
The greatest danger to bikes motorized or pedal bikes is bad terrain to navigate around and not following the same rules as SUV’s. Failure to obey the laws could result in a quick and painful death. Those of the weaker gene pool will be the biggest losers no need for tickets just equalizers to deal with the conflicts.
Example: One day we were digging out a basement and returning from dumping the load. Two motor bikes were following and decide to pass, one on the right and the other the left. Bad move the truck driver turned left after the bike moved into the blind spot. We ran over him and his bike which put him in the hospital but not dead. Lucky chap but they never tried that trick again and no tickets were necessary.
Now all the local governments want to do is save the weaker gene in that gene pool just for tax purposes. The budgets already exist for road maintenance and expansion fees, but will not fix their problems when they lack a plan and leadership.

17. Lee spews:

@16
Klake, if social Darwinism worked that well, you’d have been weeded out a long time ago.

18. YLB spews:

17 – LMAO!!!!

Flakey Klake be pwnd!!!

19. headless lucy spews:

Bike riders also positively impact the larger society by reducing health costs. The body conditioning they get while annoying everyone else on the road lowers overall health costs, thereby enabling HMO’s to charge them just as much as everyone else for health care, while providing them less service!

That’s the invisible hand of the free market once again picking your pocket.

20. bj spews:

Will says, reasonably, that “I hate some cyclists, but I also hate some drivers as well.” When someone harasses me in traffic when I’m on a bike, I don’t hate all cars as a result, I only hate that particular SOB in that particular car. The fact that the anti-bike crowd hates ALL bicyclists, and bicyclists in general, just shows their irrationality.

21. Roger Rabbit spews:

The P-I overlooked the fact that boaters also pay fuel taxes that go to boating-related programs.

22. Roger Rabbit spews:

And, boaters with towable boats who fill its tank at a gas station also help pay for highways.

23. Roger Rabbit spews:

“But cycling saves taxpayers money.”

Hogwash! You just want motorists to pay for your bike lanes, Will. Just like you want taxpayers to pay for your public transit so you can ride cheap.

I think licenses should be required to ride bicycles on public property, but my primary objective here is not making bicyclists help pay for bike infrastructure, although that does seem eminently fair. No, my main reason for wanting cyclists licensed is for liability reasons. If I get hit by an aggressive (or just plain careless) bike rider, I want some way to identify him, so I can track him down and sue his ass for my medical expenses (and pain & suffering). Being required to have a license plate on the bike that can be used to identify the rider also might serve as a deterrent for some of these assholes.

24. Roger Rabbit spews:

Under the current system of no bike licenses and no bike registrations, if you are injured by a cyclist, what you have to do is tackle the SOB and beat him senseless so he’s still unconscious when the cops arrive. That way, they can identify him, so you can sue his ass.

25. Roger Rabbit spews:

“Well, actually car owners pay for roads mostly through gas taxes, not car fees.”

That’s sort of true, maybe, in a manner of speaking, depending on how much you drive; but it doesn’t change the fact that a typical 2 or 3 car household pays a couple hundred dollars a year (or more) for tabs.

This state does not have, and never has had, $30 car tabs. That’s only the base fee, to which other fees and charges that were NOT taken out by Timmy Lieman’s invalid initiative are added. Typically, car tabs cost anywhere from $60 to more than $100 after these add-ons.

26. Roger Rabbit spews:

Me: “Hey look, bicyclists, two abreast, blocking the whole lane.”

Goldy: “Fucking assholes. That’s why people hate cyclists.”

BTW, the cyclists were dressed totally in black with no helmets. Nice. Thankfully, for their sake no gravel trucks were in the area.

So where were the gravel trucks when we really need them? Hey, I don’t HATE bicyclists — despite the fact all of them are freeloaders and a high percentage of them are outlaws. For that matter, I don’t hate Republicans, either. They’re misguided, that’s all. They need to be sent to re-education camps. The kind they have in Cambodia — that people never return from. Hey, just kidding! Ann Coulter humor, ya know?

27. bj spews:

RR: “all of them are freeloaders.” Bullshit, Roger. I pay lots of property taxes, car tab fees, gas tax, sales tax, etc., etc. Are all the pedestrians who use sidewalks on the side of the road freeloaders too?

28. George spews:

Simple Rule- USERS FEE, You use it you you pay, How simple is it???????

29. Lee spews:

@28
Should we all have to register to walk on sidewalks?

30. Will spews:

@ 29

Register all shoes!

31. Will spews:

@ 29

Funny how all these limited taxes, get-rid-of-unnecessary-government types are just frothing at the chance to increase government by forcing people to register their Huffys. Total bullshit.

32. Will spews:

*** YOU ARE NOW ENTERING AN IRONY ZONE ***

33. Lee spews:

@32
Some of us have never actually left.

34. Jane Balough's Dog spews:

says:

@ 29

Funny how all these limited taxes, get-rid-of-unnecessary-governm ent types are just frothing at the chance to increase government by forcing people to register their Huffys. Total bullshit.

12/26/2007 at 5:38 pm

What a goon. If you moonbats would stop wasting tranportation dollars on bike paths no one would be asking. Geeeeesh.

35. Jane Balough's Dog spews:

Liberals running transportation is kinda like liberals running education,,,, failure through and through.

36. Roger Rabbit spews:

@27 Depends. In many Seattle suburban neighborhoods there’s no pedestrian infrastructure (i.e., no sidewalks), and in many areas that do have sidewalks, the property owners pay for them with assessments and property taxes and most of the pedestrians are neighborhood residents, so you can hardly call those people freeloaders.

What I’m talking about is the city of Seattle is spending millions on bike paths and bike lanes, and bicyclists aren’t paying a dime for it in direct taxes and some of them are paying little or nothing in indirect taxes. A person who doesn’t own a car probably isn’t paying a measurable amount of taxes for that bike infrastructure. By measurable, I mean at least 1 cent a year.

Drivers — and no one else — pay for roads in a very direct way through their car registration fees and fuel taxes. They are also paying the lion’s share of the cost bike improvements. Pedestrian improvements (i.e., sidewalks), on the other hand, are generally paid for by taxes on adjoining properties. So, the free ride that bicyclists get is unique in the sense there’s really nothing else comparable to it in how we fund infrastructure — it’s a total pass-through expense to a different group.

37. Don Joe spews:

Will,

I’m still wrestling with the image of Seattleites walking around with license plates screwed to the heels of their Birkenstocks.

@ 35

Clearly, the money we spent attempting to educate you was a complete waste, but we’ll continue to provide the service despite the fact that some of you idiots are completely unable to derive any benefit from it.

38. Roger Rabbit spews:

@28 No, it’s not that simple. We are not, and should not become, a user-fee-based society. Some things, such as public education, should be borne by society as a whole. You do get into some murky philosophical territory when you start debating whether a particular public amenity or service should be financed by user fees or by general taxes. Bike paths, for example. I don’t agree that there’s a bright line to define what should be paid for with user fees, and what shouldn’t, but in general I tend to disagree with right wingers who view government as some sort of pay-per-view TV situation. It’s not, and we shouldn’t attempt to turn government into that. On the other hand, user fees are an established, useful, sometimes necessary, and (in the right context) arguably appropriate way of paying for SOME government services. Which ones … that’s the tricky part.

39. Roger Rabbit spews:

A public library, for example, should not be accessible only to those who can afford to pay an entrance fee or a book checkout fee. That has negative implications for our ability to function as a democracy, for one thing. An educated and well-informed citizenry is in everyone’s best interests, and we SHOULD pool our private resources in a common fund to pay for things like public education and public libraries.

40. Roger Rabbit spews:

Whether bicycles should be treated like libraries instead of like cars … there’s the rub. It’s debatable. I tend to feel the cost of transportation should be largely borne more or less directly by users. I tend to feel the opposite about schools and libraries.

41. Roger Rabbit spews:

29, 30 – No. But I might change my thinking on that if pedestrians starting running over people. I think licenses should be required for bicycles because cyclists do run over people. I’ve been hit by aggressive bicyclists so many times I’m basically fed up with the behavior of the bicycling faction. Think “political backlash” — if assholes on bikes keep squashing my cute furry cottontail, then when the time comes that they want me to pay taxes to build their bike paths, I’m gonna say, “fuck ‘em. They can build their own bike paths. But I’ll gladly pay taxes to send them all to concentration camps.” I’m just pissed at bicyclists for behaving like assholes, that’s all.

42. Roger Rabbit spews:

@31 What’s so bullshitty about requiring a bicycle to have a license so that victims of bike-pedestrian collisions have some way of identifying the bikers who hit them in cases involving medical bills and personal injuries?

I’ve never yet seen a case of a bike-pedestrian collision that WASN’T a hit-and-run. That’s why we need bicycle registration and license plates.

What’s BULLSHIT is the way too goddam many bicyclists behave. We’re not talking about a tiny number of rogue bikers, and you know it. There’s a serious problem with the way a large percentage of people who ride bikes treat pedestrians and vulnerable small furry animals! What’s BULLSHIT is smacking into a pedestrian at speed, sending them sprawling, and taking off without even bothering to find out if the pedestrian is injured or needs assistance. That is what bicyclists do 100% of the time when they hit pedestrians, and they hit pedestrians far too frequently to be tolerated, and that’s why you’re hearing calls for bicycle registrations.

When something gets abused, expect it to be regulated in the future.

43. Roger Rabbit spews:

@34 But please feel free to run over that fucking dog.

44. Roger Rabbit spews:

Preferably with a truck or a bus, at least with a car, but if all you’ve got is a bike just pedal like hell and get up as much speed as you can and aim for his ribcage broadside.

45. Roger Rabbit spews:

@37 We didn’t spend any money educating that stupid dog. That’s why he’s so stupid.

46. klake spews:

Roger Rabbit says:

@31 What’s so bullshitty about requiring a bicycle to have a license so that victims of bike-pedestrian collisions have some way of identifying the bikers who hit them in cases involving medical bills and personal injuries?

When something gets abused, expect it to be regulated in the future.

Roger does that also apply to sex, because folks are getting screwed every day buy the goverment which infects its customers?

47. Roger Rabbit spews:

@46 I truly regret that during my long tenure as a government bureaucrat I never had the opportunity to infect you with Black Syphillis.

48. Roger Rabbit spews:

(Now that I’m retired, I can get away with saying what I REALLY think of the “customers” … some of them, anyway.)

49. k spews:

One major difference between bicycles and other licensed vehilves is that many bike riders are kids.

Do you license them? How about trikes?

50. Irv Kupcinet spews:

re 34: “What a goon. If you moonbats would stop wasting tranportation dollars on bike paths no one would be asking. Geeeeesh.”

How many transportation dollars are spent on bike paths? What percentage of the total budget is it? Will forcing bikeriders to ride on the street improve motoring?

Are you really the ‘Big Brown Beaver’?

51. johnj spews:

I notice that every day at five, cars occupied by single drivers jam up every downtown road, making it really difficult for walkers, bikers and transit users to get where they are going. Man, those drivers are so inconsiderate. Couldn’t they just push over and let the bikers and buses go by instead of holding everyone up?

Goldy’s comment demonstrates a remarkable bias in favor of automobiles. Those damn bicyclists, using the road. Doesn’t everyone know that the only rightful users are people in cars?

I know, the argument is that bikers should squeeze over. They should if there is room (or a bike lane), but many times the lane is just too narrow to allow a car to pass. In that case, it is safer to take a lane, so that the driver does not try to squeeze by a vulnerable biker. The curb lanes on fifth are often pretty narrow, and there is no bike lane. Yes, the driver has to go a little slower, but in the city, drivers should expect to share the road with everyone. Just take a deep breath, you will get where you are going.

Finally, local roads are paid for out of the general fund. You know, property taxes and sales taxes. So bicyclists already pay for roads, even though their impact is substantially smaller.

52. Jane Balough's Dog spews:

How many transportation dollars are spent on bike paths? What percentage of the total budget is it? Will forcing bikeriders to ride on the street improve motoring?

Better yet, shouldn’t you be asking how much money is being spent on roads???? (Those are fighting words to a liberal) hehehehehe

53. Irv Kupcinet spews:

re 52: “Better yet, shouldn’t you be asking how much money is being spent on roads???? (Those are fighting words to a liberal) hehehehehe”

Asking you what percentage of the total budget is spent on bike paths pre-supposes that you know how much of it is spent on roads.

I gave you credit for being able to understand the question. My mistake.

54. me spews:

Geesh! If I have to pay $20.00/year to have a pet why shouldn’t a bike rider pay the same amount to have his bike registered. Governments are adding fees left and right; why not for bicycles?

55. Jane Balough's Dog spews:

Asking you what percentage of the total budget is spent on bike paths pre-supposes that you know how much of it is spent on roads.

Really????? Then how do we get all that money for all the wasteful enviromental impact studies,buses and light rail all of which we spend too much money on??? Oh that is right user fees. No wait, liberals consider them roads. Wow you are a smart one. heheehe

56. Frank Barths spews:

I’m with Feit.

If I were the green dictator of this planet, I would not only encourage my people to stop using their fossil fuel consuming devices, but reward them for using bikes. The fewer of my subjects who create pollution, the less money I would have to pay to have the air cleaned up after the fact. The less wear and tear on the roads from fewer large vehicles, the less money I would have to pair for their maintenance and repair. I could present kinder taxes and improve my image as a benevolent and fine ruler.

My kingdom would be free to live happily ever after with fewer pitfall than the ordinary fairy tale.

57. Irv Kupcinet spews:

re 55: Liberals want people to wipe their asses and wash their hands afterward.

Nanny Statism. You just lick your ass, right? Don’t let those meddling nanny staters make you stop licking your own ass clean!

58. Roger Rabbit spews:

@49 Kids aren’t the problem. Adults who behave like kids are the problem.

59. Frank Barths spews:

Hey Irv (troll), you’re the one who brought ass wipe. Got a problem? Been to the men’s room at the Minneapolis airport lately? Toe tapping and what not? (As long as we’re free-wheeling the subject during your troll session…)

60. thorn spews:

Hey Irv. How many asses have you licked today? Or is it true that you have stopped licking asses in the Sea-Tac airport men’s room? I wondered what those pubic hairs wit brown chuncks were doing in you teeth.

61. Roger Rabbit spews:

@56 I hope your kingdom will have universal free health coverage for all the pedestrians with broken bones.

62. born again not spews:

Hey. Why all this ass lick talk?

63. Frank Barths spews:

But of course. It would be worth the cost. And if fewer large vehicles were on the road, fewer bones would be broken. We’re all living a little too quickly with this car nonsense, don’t you think?

64. Don Joe spews:

“Geesh! If I have to pay $20.00/year to have a pet why shouldn’t a bike rider pay the same amount to have his bike registered.”

‘Cause the bike doesn’t shit on my lawn.

65. delbert spews:

Why is every action a person takes considered a reason to impose taxes?

And why do so many of you endorse it?

What’s next a shoe leather tax to pay for sidewalks?

Stop being an ATM for wasteful government. The Port of Seattle just got caught pissing away slightly more than a year’s take from our property taxes. Let them earn more for their budget without the $78 million in property taxes. They might have to actually, you know, work for it.

66. Puddybud spews:

Some lefty anmed johnj said above: “Finally, local roads are paid for out of the general fund.

Didn’t you read the No, Thanks Tim Eyman posts. I900 came about over $8.5 Billion tax increase for roads. So johnj surely you jest.

67. Poster Child spews:

The P-I article asked: Should Bicyclists Be Licensed? As a cyclist, I say sure; does this mean the harassment will stop? If so, then Yes, a thousand times Yes!

Seattle’s Master Cycling Plan is expensive, and I doubt it’s money well spent, but make absolutely no mistake: the frequently heard meme (which Angela Galloway buys hook, line, and sinker in her article) “cyclists should pay their fair share” has nothing to do with cost and everything to do with sharing the road. Some motorists just can’t stand to see anyone in their way, and since some cyclists break traffic laws, cyclists as a whole become an easy scapegoat. (As for Roger Rabbit, Good God, bunny, have you really been hit that many times? Maybe it’s not the cyclists; maybe you’re an incompetent pedestrian.)

In all fairness, I must divulge, I got pulled over by the Seattle Police for rolling through a stop sign. The officer gave me a stern warning. Nineteen years ago.

But Licensing, the word the headline uses, isn’t city registration fees (which is all that the article and you commenters discuss); it is a state matter involving competency standards and testing. I’m all for it. Assuming some provision would be made for child-cyclists, let’s license bicyclists. After all cyclists receive ample benefits on the roadways of our state – I feel that every day that I’m out on my bicycle… (yup)

If we’re only going to institute a city fee system, Roger still won’t be able to jot down the numbers of all those commuters from the suburbs who ride into the city and knock him down. In the alternative, maybe we could extend the city registration plan to keep all the suburbanite motorists off our streets. Our transportation problems are suddenly looking pretty simple!

But if we’re really talking about licensing, while we’re overhauling Washington’s road laws, I propose that Driver’s Licenses be valid for four year’s driving out of every five. The fifth year would be valid for cycling only. Think of the benefits, after all America is plagued with obesity, urban sprawl, and is, per capita, the greatest contributor of greenhouse gasses.

Bicycling never caused sprawl or obesity. It’s time for bold vision form our politicians. C’mon, let’s license bicyclists; I’m not kidding!

68. Frank Barths spews:

Cyclists pay their fair share by cycling. This very act reduces over-all costs for us all.

69. me spews:

Don Joe @ 64 says:

““Geesh! If I have to pay $20.00/year to have a pet why shouldn’t a bike rider pay the same amount to have his bike registered.”

‘Cause the bike doesn’t shit on my lawn. ”

Nope – you are wrong again! The government (whether Democrat or Republican) likes to tax through fees, property taxes, income taxes etc. That is the reason I pay $60.00 to license my pets that stay in my yard. (That $60.00 is pretty much voluntary since I have never seen a dog catcher in my neighborhood)

So based on that why shouldn’t the government add some fees to bike riders or as someone mentioned to shoes since they have wear and tear on sidewalks or to businesses since ‘stopping and turning’ are additional wear and tear on the streets or to people’s Garbage bills since those ‘big’ garbage trucks really add wear to the streets or to the US Post Office for using the streets to deliver the mail or etc etc etc ad infinitum.

The whole point is the Government taxes too much for nonsensical things.

70. J.R. spews:

Most city streets are paid for with a mix of funds, but at least half of the money comes from property taxes. Everyone pays property taxes (renters pay through their rent). Bicyclists are already paying more than their fair share for the streets they ride on. Problem solved.

71. headless lucy spews:

Businesses should be required to have easily readable addresses on their establishments (cuts down on U-turns).

They should then receive heavy fines for having the visible address numbers.

72. headless lucy spews:

Only shapely, young women should be permitted to wear spandex while biking.

All others should rerceive stiff fines for littering.

73. Frank Barths spews:

@71 – All signage should be approved by the green dictator’s Department of Restrictions (of which the green dictator is the cheif officer). Only aesthetic and READABLE signs will be accepted.

72@ – It is a waste of spandex for it to be worn by the improper person. headless lucy could very well have a point here. You right zinger troll type persons would probably approve of caning littering violators. The green dictator would tax, but not cane.

74. Roger Rabbit spews:

@68 Hogwash.

75. Roger Rabbit spews:

@69 It’s not nonsensical to require bicycle riders to have license plates on their bikes. This is for the protection of the general public. Whether the city charges for the bicycle license plates is beside the point. However, it makes perfect sense to charge a nominal fee (say $10) to cover the cost of producing and issuing the plates and maintaining the license records. It would be perfectly fair to charge a higher fee to make bicyclists contribute something toward the millions of dollars being spent on bike infrastructure, but that might be counterproductive in terms of discouraging compliance with the license ordinance. I think it’s more far important to simply have a means of identifying bike riders who hurt people and then speed off.

76. Roger Rabbit spews:

Letting people ride bikes on public streets (and sidewalks!) without license plates makes about as much sense as letting people drive cars with no license plates.

In each case, the point of the license plates is not raising money (how much money does a $30 car tag raise?) for roads (or government), but in providing a means of enforcing liability on vehicle operators who negligently injure others.

77. Poster Child spews:

Roger always has reasonable views and presents them articulately, but somehow, on the issue of bicyclists, he just loses the plot.

Something very bad must have happened to him (repeatedly, apparently) that I just am not seeing happening to others.

Poor fellow.

78. YIKES spews:

Politically Incorrect says @ 14:
“When one purchases a bike and pays sales tax on the purchase, that should be enough taxes. Requiring more is micro-managing. Leave the bike riders alone.”

That presumes the bike was purchased in Washington State and that sales tax was actually paid. Lots of folks buy used bikes from private owners…thus no sales tax.

Drivers also pay sales tax….and license tab fees…and Gas Tax.
It hardly seems equitable that bikers don’t pay for their own convenience & transportation choice infrastructure.
I believe the term for this is “FREELOADER”!

79. YIKES spews:

Roger Rabbit is right on about the primary purpose of License Plates.
Roger, I think you should also comment on the God-awful, somewhat obscene (especially on the Fat Guy & Gal Bikers)
garb bikers wear. Sheesh, some of these pinheads try to look like they are riding in the Tour de France!

Perhaps they could reprioritize the spending on gross outfits and fantasy Tour de France visions of grandeur and pay $30/yr. for license tabs voluntarily before Eyman comes up with a Referendum forcing it!!

80. Frank Barths spews:

74 – 79

You are arguing apples vs. oranges. Your statements hold no water.

Bikes are the green answer to pollution, wear and tear on roads and the fast speed, large vehicle dangers that we suffer.

It should be the government’s job to reduce costs and reduce danger.

Face it.

81. YIKES spews:

Frank Barths–
Perhaps rather than wear those hideous biker shorts you might consider changing to Body Armor!
I can see the Seattle YUPS peddling to their lawyering & government jobs dressed like the Knights of the Roundtable.

82. Frank Barths spews:

YIKES at 81:

I’d rather not have myself taxed by improperly wearing biker shorts (see 73, above). I’m not wearing shorts in this late December weather, anyway.

BTW, did I mention that bicycles are more affordable to buy, fuel and maintain than gas eating vehicles? You don’t need to be a “YUP” to be a biker. You can get a good new bike for less than 300 bucks.

It may be hard for you to imagine, YIKES, but not all bike riders are lawyers or government employees. Being a little broad are ye not?

I like the idea of meetings at round tables. Less chance for positional hirarchy.

83. Two Dogs spews:

I pay many dollars in gas taxes, as do, I assume , most cyclists. therefore cyclists already pay road taxes. Therefore we should have a say in how these are spent. i want them spent on more bike paths and bike lanes on roads where bike paths are impossible to put in. Pretty simple, i think.

84. YIKES spews:

Two Dogs–
Your illogic is underwhelming…and typical of a freeloader bicyclist.
If you drove more, more Gas Tax.
Just because bikers have cars too…so what?

85. Frank Barths spews:

@84
YIKES, you are just blaming the afflicted for the polluting, traffic congesting, and just plain over all danger that gas eating large scale vehicles present.

Face it. In no way, shape or form are bike riders “freeloaders”.

Or am I missing something and are you trying to entertain us with some satire of the thinking pattern of a reactionary brain?

I don’t think so. I think that you actually believe your own vacant thoughts.

86. George Hanshaw spews:

But cycling saves taxpayers money.

What a crock! The total passenger-miles involved in all commuting by cycling in the Seattle area is trivial. The cost of the bike trails isn’t.

A truly dedicated bike commuter is Seattle might commute seventy passenger miles a week, but there aren’t very many of them. Fewer still that will do it in foul weather.

If these people want their hobby, they ought to pay for it. Same for the Port Townsend people who are lobbying to make the 149 passenger passenger-ferry that costs $2000 a round trip for diesel alone permanent.

If they want to pay the $15,000 a day for less than 600 round trips to Pt Townsend out of FARES ($25 a pop), more power to them. If they want to have ME subsidize them, screw them.

Put tolls on the bikepaths and charge every user.

87. Frank Barths spews:

86 – George

I shore agree with you about the ferry subsidy issue. I have met too many pampered Brain Dead Island daily commuters to Seattle who could easily live with their families in our well stacked city limits but choose to take advantage of the big boats of our nanny-like ferry system. All this so they can live the good life of the more fortunate. If they have to live on Brain Dead Island (sez the green dictator in me), let them live all of their life (lives) on Brain Dead Island.

But you are mixing apples and oranges (and adding bananas to the mix) by lumping ferries, bike lanes (btw, bikes can use already existing roads costing no extra tax (remember that the green dictator wants to keep taxes to a minimum (see 56, above))) and bike commuters.

Further, you are not addressing the car/truck paradigm negatives: pollution, the cost of roads (if you must speak of bike paths, they are much smaller scale than the average road so therefore generally cost less than roads), the added psychological and physical stress to those in and out of cars including the danger to life and limb. All this is way more a cost factor (there are more) to tax payers than the bikes and their riders are creating. I’m not even mentioning the positive aspects of bike riding culture. There are many of those, too.

You are making a very narrow and hollow case.

The green dictator would frown upon you, but would like to whine more with you about the ferry system sometime.