Freakonomics Ponders the Freeloading Cyclist

294841_0dbb37e404.jpgWho’s next? Photo: wodaking/Flickr

The Times’ Freakonomics blog has picked up on proposed legislation from Wayne Krieger, an Oregon representative who wants every bike owner in the state aged 18 and older to pay a $54 registration fee every two years. "[B]ikes have used the roads in this state forever and have never
contributed a penny," says Krieger. "The only people that pay into the system are those
people who buy motor vehicle licenses and registration fees."

As one might suspect, asking Krieger to further explain the rationale for his bill, as Bike Portland did, reveals his motives to be rooted as much in suspicion of cyclists in general as in any desire for bike riders to pay their "fair share." Sample quote: "If a person is operating a bike and they are the one that causes an
accident, do they have insurance to cover your costs and medical
expenses? Not all of those people have any type of insurance at all."

The Freakonomics guys, in the link below, point to a study showing "the improved fitness the use of non-motorized transport provides," even as they ask:

Considering the enormous benefits
of investments in bicycle infrastructure, can even a tax-hating
bicyclist concede his point, at a registration cost of just over 7
cents a day?

So cycling should be taxed because it makes people healthier? Freakonomics, indeed.