No Feed this morning, so I’m ranting

There was nothing in the Feed this morning besides a couple of motorcycle wrecks. So I’m going to rant a little here. I’m going to put up the rant tag now.

[rant]I’m still seeing people complaining about how bicyclists “don’t pay their way on the roads” as if somehow the act of riding a bicycle makes one immune from paying taxes besides the gas tax. Really the only tax not paid by bicyclists is the gas tax, and that’s only because we don’t use gas. We are also exempt from registering our vehicles in most states, actually all states at the state level, there are a few municipalities that register bicycles but most have stopped as the revenues that were fair for bicycles compared to motor vehicles ended up as not enough to pay for the program costs.

I have proposed that bicycles be registered in my other blog on MySpace, but if bicycles are registered then motor vehicles must pay taxes that completely pay for their damages to the roads. That will have to mean weight adjusted registrations, as road wear is related to weight and speed. When I was taking an introductory class in civil engineering way back in 1976 we were taught a couple of things that stuck in my mind. One was that tests during the late 1940s and early ’50s showed that vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Weight equal to or less than 500 lbs (228 kg) had a level of wear on the road surface that was not detectable above the normal weathering, and that you could estimate the relative wear on the road surface by multiplying the GVW by the speed limit. This won’t tell you how much in absolute terms, but for deciding taxing rates it tells us the ratio of costs. For instance a 30 lb bicycle with a 200 lb rider cruising at an average of 20 MPH has a wear index of 4600, but a semi truck that drives mostly at highway speeds can weigh up to 80000 lbs and travel at 70 MPH for a wear index of 5614000, or a registration ratio of 1220. A Hummer H1 would have an index of 434000 and a payment ratio of 95, so the Hummer driver would have to pay 95 times as much as the bicycle rider. What I proposed for TX was since the current taxing scheme will only cover 40% of the costs to maintain the roads, that TxDOT pull up a budget for all the repairs required for the next year, and the DMV should use the EPA listed GVW for each registered vehicle, and add it up for a total GVW for the entire fleet of vehicles in TX. So they take the repair budget and divide it by the fleet weight to come up with a cost per pound, then multiply that times the GVW of the vehicle being registered to come up with a vehicle cost. Find the cost for a semi tractor and divide that by 1220 for the cost to register a bicycle. Simple. Except I don’t expect the TX legislature to bite. This would be too much like socialism, making people pay their fair share of the costs to keep the roads good.[/rant]

Billed @$.02, Opus

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