02-19-2017  8:09 pm      •     

In response to bicycle licensing and registration. I agree! I also believe that they should be required to have some form of insurance just like drivers. People the ride bike have been given a free ride. Tax payer pay for bike trails; new signs on streets just for bikers and they are responsible for any irresponsible act the biker may choose. I have seen biker ignore traffic signs. Ride in the middle of the street. Take up side-walks in parks and they are making more bike trail then they are fixing street that have needed repair for years. It time for them to pay up. The bike should be licensed, registered, and the riders  who makes daily commutes should have licenses, and insurance.
In response to the article supporting bicycle licensing I disagree. What Oregon really has in an obesity problem and any barriers to physical activity are a complete step backwards. Fees and registration are both barriers that will curb recreational bicyclists and anyone who is not a dedicated commuter (and even we may reconsider). If we want to curb driving and all the environmental and road wear costs that go with it, we need to make bicycling more accessible, not less. I completely agree that we need to raise revenue for all sorts of projects and services including bike infrastructure. So do it through a sales tax. Adding a cost at the point of purchase is not nearly the barrier that paperwork and bi-annual fees are. Want proof? How many out there have not yet filed their taxes?
RE: Yes to registering, licensing bicycles If we want to encourage more bike riding, then why in the world would we want a bike tax? This would be a huge disincentive for people to ride bikes, especially low-income people. Bike riding is a public good - the more people that ride, the cleaner our air and the less congested our streets. What we need is a carbon tax, or at the very least a cap and trade system - the revenues from which should fund projects to build and maintain bike lanes and boulevards. A bike registration fee is a carbon tax in reverse - you are taxed because you're not polluting. The bike tax is a bad idea at a bad time. With unemployment over 10% in Oregon, many people will look to alternative, cheaper forms of transportation. This is a double whammy to those who may have lost their jobs and are now turning to affordable means of transportation. Progressives should oppose this bike tax. Sincerely, Matt Newell-Ching North Portland Bike Commuter
I don't necessarily buy the argument that whoever uses the road should help share the costs. Bicycles don't wear down roads and cause damage to them like cars. However, having a bicycle registration fee for adults that goes into a fund dedicated exclusively to bicycle projects, makes a lot of sense. If you want to argue against a bill that would allow bicyclists to not come to a complete stop at stop signs, then please use better examples and be more accurate. You do a disservice to your readers otherwise. The bill would not allow bicyclists to ignore stop signs. They would still have to slow down almost to a stop to ensure there are no other vehicles coming. Requiring bicyclists to come to a dead stop at every stop sign is roughly analogous to requiring cars to come to a complete stop every 15 feet. It's hard to imagine anyone actually doing it unless they are under direct police supervision. If you've ever ridden a bicycle, you know how much extra energy it takes to stop completely and start up again. (Yes, some of us are biking in part for the exercise, but that kind of "extra exercise" is the most joyless imaginable.) Finally, your example of someone running a red light and getting killed is a red herring and doesn't prove your argument. The bill, as I understand it, only applies to stop signs. Bicyclists still must stop for red lights.
Yes you are correct, bicyclist, including me, use a lot the road and benefits from them. So a fee should be applicable to them as well. I think the fees though should be lower, about $25. How can we make special roads, paint the roads for them etc without fees to build and maintain them. Thanks

Regarding "Yes to Licensing, Registering bicycles" I have to disagree. It does not make total sense any way you look at it. One of the largest reasons people chose to ride bikes is because it is free. That includes people who don't have money to buy a car. Or gas. Or even a bus ticket. Having three conservative legislators from outside of Portland sponsor a bill that explicitly and disproportionately affects Portland is offensive. The argument that money needs to come from cyclists to support road programs is also equally flawed. The author states: "[A]ll road users should participate in road upkeep." There's nothing worse than someone claiming that bicyclists don't pay for the roads the ride on, and it is clearly one of the underlying motivations the bill sponsors all share. Consider this truth: only 2% of people who ride a bicycle use it as their only mode/form of transportation. That means the other 98% of cyclists used mix transportation (I'm one of them), which means they do pay taxes in the gas they buy for their cars and in the passes they buy for the bus. When a group of people outside of the Portland community try to change rules that have little affect on them, but enormous consequences for the city, a very big red flag should go off. Creating financial roadblocks to something as beneficial as access to biking goes against everything the Skanner stands for. It is a group of lawmakers, who have no vested interest and a clear prejudice, against a group of individuals who do nothing but contribute to the community. Maybe we should just put everybody in a car and see what "congestion" really looks like? Or tax people who use the sidewalks since they don't pay a "walkers" tax? Regarding proposed bill to allow cyclists to ignore stop signs, I absolutely agree with the Skanner. Stop signs, like helmets, save lives. There's nothing that depresses me more than when someone is killed because they didn't pay attention (coasting thru stop signs) or aren't being safe (wearing a helmet). Where I live on Emerson from my front window I see cyclists blowing thru the stop sign and almost getting hit on a daily basis. JSH Concordia
Very balanced thoughtful editorial comments. Shantu Shah

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