While I’m all for smaller government, a recent reader comment in Bicycle Times Magazine actually (regrettably!) makes sense in saying that we cyclists expect the taxes and fees paid by motorists to pay for cycling facilities, lanes, paths and infrastructure when, in fact, those who ride the most probably contribute the least to paying for them.
The Contra Costa Times published this snippet about the repeal of the Los Angeles city bicycle license scheme:
“Pressured by the cycling community, the Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday repealed a requirement to license bikes in the city.
Bicyclists have complained that police officers too often harass them for not having a license – which costs $3 and is valid for three years – but do nothing when licensed bikes are stolen.
Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who introduced a Bicyclist Bill of Rights that is under review, said he favored the repeal of the fee until the city had a formal policy dealing with bicyclists.
The city has been working for years to develop a series of bike paths through the city, but revenue has not been available to do it on a citywide basis.
Councilman Dennis Zine said there are several private organizations that have a licensing system to help identify and return stolen bikes.”
There are a couple of points worth noting in this: Ã‚Â First, a moderate licensing fee could be used to generate revenue for bicycle lanes and paths. Ã‚Â Honestly, I don’t believe it would ever help recover stolen bikes, that’s pie-in-the-sky thinking as far as this guy’s concerned, but the last sentence hints at the way to get things done: Privatization. Ã‚Â Make private companies bid for the licensing service and mandate a certain amount of the proceeds to go toward bike lane/path building. Bidding introduces competition, keeps money in the private sector and minimizes government’s role. Ã‚Â I know, there are plenty of flaws with this, it’s just off-the-cuff thinking, but given the budget shortfalls everywhere, it’s something to think about in the event your city considers a paid licensing system.
You may throw your stones in the comments section…