Bicyclists subsidize motorists

Akos Szoboszlay
Sept. 1, 1997

Most road costs by cities and counties are paid for by property taxes, and not the gas tax. Bicyclists pay these taxes. All County Expressways were paid for by property taxes. Bicyclists paid these taxes. In addition, there are assessment districts (another form of property tax) for "traffic mitigation." Bicyclists pay for these, too, but receive no benefit because adding more lanes for automobiles just increases the exhaust fumes for bicyclists to breathe. Then, there are laws requiring large parking lots which do not benefit bicyclists. Bicyclists pay for these whenever they shop because the merchant must charge a higher price to cover the costs of parking. Likewise, companies pay a lower wage than they would if they didn't provide the "free" parking.

Bicyclists also pay for roads in the form of sales taxes. Bicyclists helped pay for Freeways 85, 237 and 101, but are prohibited from using these roads for which they paid. Bicyclists would be paying even more of the motorists' costs if the plan is approved to raise property "fees" for more roads. A typical $4000 fee for new homeowners would be used to increase automobile capacity. The homeowner is not given the free market choice of using this money for a set of bicycles for the family; Nor for many years worth of transit fares, even if he commuted by transit and did not add to traffic congestion. The plan will force homeowners to further subsidize the automobile, which just increases automobile usage and pollution without any lasting relief in traffic congestion.

The claim by highway proponents [Mercury News, Aug. 29.1997, front page] that bicyclists don't pay for roads is not based on fact. Their statement that "we should find some way of taxing the bicyclists" is consistent with their goal to increase automobile usage and create political pressure for even more highway construction.

Also see: list of bicycle articles.