Monday, June 13

Motorist Ignorance Made Me Swerve

Andy, of Carbon Trace, took offense at an ignorant and unwarranted anti-cycling statement by a police officer in his blog post here. I certainly hope that the officer represents a minority view, though I've encountered similar attitudes, as reported here. That is not what today's post is about. You see, just Friday, riding on my way to work, I noticed the sign above. As I recall, I was feeling lazy and decided to go around the hill that's my usual route. No swerve yet.

After reading Andy's post, and the news article, in contrast to my usual practice, I had read the comments in the news article.

One comment that caught my eye stated:
"9:38 AM on June 13, 2011
It's difficult to have a lot of sympathy for the "rights" of bicyclists getting a literal free ride on roadways that are usually paid for with motor fuel taxes, licensing, and registration fees for motor vehicles."

Tonight, on the way home, I recalled Andy's post, and the sign. Hmm, SWERVE!!!!! DETOUR!!!!!!

I guess that ignorant commenter doesn't look at the roadwork signs, or maybe he/she doesn't know how to read - only mouth off. OR, maybe (if you are a conspiracy theorist) our government is lying to us about where they get the money to fix up the local streets that cyclists use and they don't really spend our sales and property taxes on local roads. However, if I believe the lies, one reason my property taxes are so durn high are all the overbuilt roads around these parts! Regardless, the memory of the comment - and the sign caused me to swerve from my usual going home route so I could take this picture. The next time someone tells you that cyclists don't pay for the roads, tell, them to simply read the source of the funding for almost any local street project in the US. Fuel taxes mainly pay for main highways and Freeways which are rarely used by cyclists. Besides, just as in the case of parks, libraries, and even the services of police who do not know the law, such are PUBLIC services. I don't feel I have more rights to the local streets than my motorists just because I pay more sales and property taxes than many of them. I DO share my road!

Via email from Cliff Cox; two sources that suggest that, at least in this case, it is motorist commenters (rather than government lies) that simply are clueless about how our roads are paid for and how major highways are largely funded by "user" taxes (neglecting stuff like stimulus spending and other infusions from general funds), while local roads are paid for disproportionally by funds entirely unrelated to road use.

here is a summary of how major state highways are funded in Texas
here is a summary of how various roads get paid for various places

Rule of thumb in the US - Big State and Federal Roads tend to get paid for by fuel and motoring taxes. Roads you'd bicycle commute on get paid by sales and property taxes, utility fees and such.


Big Oak said...

And since you're riding your bike, you are not damaging the road surface at all, unlike the wear and tear of the critic's vehicle on area roadways.

Chandra said...

Damn straight! We do pay for them streets and as Bill has pointed out, we don't damage the roads as much as do motorized vehicles.

Peace :)

acline said...

What I find amusing is how so many people have no idea what taxes pay for what things and yet are so quick to argue that they are over-taxed :-)

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