Daily Archives: June 22, 2009

The costs of bicycles on the roads vs the costs of motor vehicles

I keep reading in the comments sections of the articles I link to that bicycles don’t pay for the roads by gas taxes and registration, and most mention insurance even though insurance doesn’t pay anything for roads, it’s just another “tax” that must be paid to use a car.

So what would a fair share of the costs of road use be? Well, there was an Australian study that said the damage done to a road surface was proportional to the 4th power of the heaviest axle loading. So, I calculated the axle weights of 3 modes of transportation, a fat guy on a heavy bicycle, a Hummer H2, and a semi at legal maximum weight. To simplify things I assumed that the load was equally distributed on all the axles of the vehicles, a methodology that severely underrates the damages done by the semi. Then I divided the Hummer and the semi tractor ratings by the bicycle rating to come up with an equivalence rating in bicycles. You ready?

A semi does the same damage as 160 million bicycles ridden by really fat people, and a H2 does the same damage as 5000 fat guys on bicycles. So a fair tax system would have to charge 5000 times as much for an H2 as a bicycle, and 160 million times as much for a semi.

How would you create a fair tax system that included bicycles with that knowledge? If you charged $1.00 for the bicycle (less than the cost of the physical materials to show compliance with the taxes) then you would have to charge semi owners $160,000,000.00 per vehicle, and the H2 owner $5000.00. Now I can see a charge per load for the semi plus a yearly charge for the bare tractor, as the damage done is dependent on the load, but the H2 has a similar load variability but because it is a private vehicle it doesn’t get weighed before every load, but is likely to not get driven very often anywhere near max GVW of 8000 pounds. And the bicycle rating was a 300 pound rider on a 50 pound bike, also not a common situation.

And this is only discussing the damage done to the road surface by the vehicles, with nothing about the damage done to the environment, or other road users. To put that in perspective there were 3000 people killed in Australia by motor vehicles last year, but since 1999 there have been only 2 people killed by getting hit by bicycles. for a ratio of roughly 15,000 to one. Similar results are to be found by checking the results for the US but I don’t have those numbers at my fingers from recent articles in my blog.

So, what’s fair?

Billed @$.02, Opus

A light Feed again, mostly “lifestyle” articles

We had another light Feed again today, and made even lighter by having mostly “lifestyle” cycling articles rather than wrecks. I like “lifestyle” articles when they are favorable to our lifestyle, not so much when they are against us as a “lifestyle” in the way that some Christian groups are against gay people as a “lifestyle”. Yes I have seen articles that are that militant against cycling, you would think that we were killing people off by the thousands instead of slowing them down for a few seconds to a few minutes. Killing people off by the thousands is what people do with cars…

Up first is a hit-and-run in Elmira NY. UPDATE: Bicyclist killed in Elmira hit-and-run accident and Bicyclist killed in hit and run crash Either a Dodge pickup truck or the SUV that used the same headlight assembly. Well I hope that LEO have some kind of search going on at parts houses for those particular parts being purchased and questioning those for whom the parts are being purchased…

You can’t escape getting hit by a car in FL even when they close the roads to cars for a bike race. Cyclist Tellez injured in collision during Key Biscayne triathlon What is it with FL drivers and cyclists? The road was closed to traffic for the race and somebody still got hit with a car. I think that it has become far too easy to get a license in FL, not that it really matters too much as nearly everyone in FL drives with or without a license. Or insurance for that matter, but that is a national issue, even before the recession hit TX the most market penetration has been 80%, and is now generally conceded to be in the 75% range or lower in some urban areas. But that is not an issue to be discussed in this thread.

A cyclist and a taxi collide in Far Western Canuckistan. Cyclist injured after collision with taxi Don’t know who actually ran that red light, they think the cyclist did, but you shouldn’t run red lights in front of cars. If the red light won’t change then treat it like a stop sign and wait for oncoming traffic to clear before crossing.

And they’re registering bikes in Hoboken. HOBOKEN BRIEFS 6/21/09 Read down a few paragraphs.

Reports on the ride for cyclists killed recently in Boise. Procession held for cyclist killed in Boise last week and with comments Cyclists Lead Another Procession Well there were comments on the second article when I was sorting the Feed but they seem to have “gone away”. There really isn’t anything I can say about this

Students ride bicycles a long way over several days. IU students to cycle 1500 miles through Appalachian Mtns Twenty one days to ride 1500 miles with lots of climbing…That’s an average of more than 70 miles a day with mountain climbs on some days. For people that don’t ride this would be quite a challenge, and not easy even for my “experienced” legs.

They held a bike race in NYC. A Harlem Tradition: Risking Scraped Skin for Cycling Glory This year was scaled back because of the economy, but ended up being better as a community event because of it.

BMX riders ride against cancer. BMX Riders Race for Life This is a common thing with bike riders, we have been doing stuff like this even before Lance became the Uniballer to use Robin Williams’ nickname. We know pain, because pain is part of our existence as cyclists (unless you ride a recumbent 😉 ), so we willingly endure more pain to help others in pain.

And that’s everything today, don’t forget to send a nasty note to Governor Goodhair about how he won’t be getting a DPS escort after the elections are over next time and will wish he hadn’t vetoed that safe passing bill… I hope his hair files for divorce.

Billed @$.02, Opus