Here are the main reasons why I didn’t return to WBE after taking a hiatus for gradschool.
- Biking, juggling, and playing guitar is more fun and more fulfilling that writing for WBE.
- Being a teacher takes a lot of time.
- I think the rate of progress for bikes in this city, state, and country is embarrassingly and pitifully slow, and I can no longer be all “sun shiny” when reporting bike news. The advocates who work tirelessly for things like bike lanes on Willamette are awesome, but I can no longer report on issues like that without making the obvious comment that if it weren’t for all the anti-bike assholes in this town this wouldn’t even be a debate, and those assholes can all go screw themselves.
- I’m tired of yelling into the damn wind about shit like this. I’ve posted about how stupid a bike tax is before, and now I’m having to do it again, because apparently Senator George is too stupid to use Google.
Without further ado: Why people who think bikes don’t pay their fair share, and want to tax them, are stupid idiots.
First, in case you aren’t paying attention, Senator Larry George of Clackamas wants to charge you $10 for every bike you own because a single constituent complained about bikes on the road and George’s addled brain thought “Roads are something that we all share the cost and what we do is have gas taxes, how many miles we drive, so when you use the roads you pay for the roads,” George said. “When you have people who use the roads but don’t pay for the roads then all it does is shift the burden to somebody else. So it’s about evening out the burden.” (source)
Here is why George is a damn idiot:
- Bike projects are cheap: Portland’s entire 300 miles of bike infrastructure (bike lanes, blvds, paths, etc) costs the same as 1 mile of urban highway.
- Bikers already pay: 90% of avid biker riders in Oregon own and drive cars, meaning they pay gas taxes and registration fees. Yet George wants to charge my wife and I $10 for every bike we own, which is $70. I’m not sure if that’s per year or just when you buy a bike, but if they catch you without it they’ll charge you $25. Hey homeless bike riders, Rep George says “pay up or suck it!” I wonder if my unicycles are safe? That’d be another $70! What about my shoes? I have lots of shoes and they also use the road… is that $10 per shoe or per pair do you think?
- It will cost more to implement then they’d make. The last $27 one did (that failed) so how could this $10 version ever hope to do anything but cost money? Does George not remember two friggin’ years ago? How bad is this guy at his job? Clearly this is about punishing bikers for not driving cars.
- Gas taxes don’t pay for the road. Elly Blue already wrote about this:
The cost of building, maintaining, and managing traffic on these local roads adds up to about 6 cents per mile for each motor vehicle. The cost contributed to these roads by the drivers of these motor vehicles through direct user fees? 0.7 cents per mile. The rest comes out of the general tax fund.
- Bikers already pay more than their fair share, and if anything should get tax break. Elly Blue ALSO already wrote about THAT:
The average driver travels 10,000 miles in town each year and contributes $324 in taxes and direct fees. The cost to the public, including direct costs and externalities, is a whopping $3,360.
On the opposite pole, someone who exclusively bikes may go 3,000 miles in a year, contribute $300 annually in taxes, and costs the public only $36, making for a profit of $264. To balance the road budget, we need 12 people commuting by bicycle for each person who commutes by car.
To his credit, dipshit of the month George said that he “introduced the bill to start a conversation. “I like the idea of having a conversation about it,” he said.” You might remember other idiotic senators using similar reasoning when they decided to try to ban headphones on bikes and later ban bike trailers. Both times their reasoning was “well, I saw it and it didn’t look safe, so I decided to try to make it illegal in order to ‘start a conversation.” (I swear to God I’m not making this up, Google it, I’m lazy.)
I want to go on record as saying that that is the stupidest, most lazy way ever to start a conversation, and any elected official who ever does that should be impeached, immediately for wasting the government’s time and money. You know how “real” people start a conversation? BY TALKING! Only our useless, inept, worthless, out-of-touch, sequestrating government would think for one second that making something illegal or proposing a new tax is the proper way to start a conversation. Here how it should have gone down:
George: “Hey aid-guy, some whiner who doesn’t like passing bikes on the highway thinks they don’t pay for the road and we should punish them for slowing him down by taxing them. Think we should do it?”
Aid: “Sure, but do you think we should Google whether or not bikers pay taxes already or not?”
George: “Of course, otherwise I’d be making a law about something I know nothing about and proving to them I’m ignorant and suck at my job.”
Aid: “Hey, I Googled it and the first 300 hits are about how this whole “bikes don’t pay their way thing” is a myth. WeBikeEugene, Bike Portland, and Grist already wrote about it.”
George: “Oh, lets not do it then. Good thing we Googled it or I would have looked like a real asshole!”
So, yea, fuck that guy. But at least he’s not as bad as that idiot legislator in Washington who wants to tax bikers because their heavy breathing while biking pollutes the air more than cars. That guy makes a turd-sandwich Larry George look like Filet Mignon.
On a side note, I’ve opened WBE up to self-registration and community posting. I’ll post sometimes, others might. We’ll see. Basically I’m giving the site to you for the reasons I posted above. Try not to break it, or don’t. Just don’t forget to ride your bike and not pay taxes to piss Georgie-boy off.