Do Cyclists, or Motorists, “Pay For” The Roads?

Do Cyclists, or Motorists, “Pay For” The Roads?

Excellent piece, this, by an Ohio Bike Lawyer Steve Magas. For the full article click here.

Many cyclists are licensed motor vehicle operator owners and pay the same “fees” as everyone else. However, public roads, like public buildings, public sidewalks and pubic schools, are open to everyone regardless of income. Roads are not a private club with a steep initiation fee and monthly dues. Big trucks and gas hogs, paying higher “fees” and “taxes” and buying more gas, do NOT get bigger or more rights than smaller vehicles. Operators driving VW Bugs or Mini Coopers or bicycles are not required to give up the road to Durangos and the Ford Subdivision [or whatever the new humongo vehicle is called these days]!

Paying for the MAINTENANCE of roads is even more important. A single 40-ton semi, which weighs 40 times more than a one-ton car, does 9,600 times more damage to the roads than the car. A bike rider does not compare – it does virtually NO damage with its skinny tires, light frame and rider. Yet, big trucks are not paying their “fair share” to maintain roads – according to a recent Dispatch editorial.



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  1. I have regular attempts on my life by motorists, sadly every time I cycle on the roads. Thankfully I’m thriving – a testament to my extreme vigilance. Often it is pure negligence or ignorance on the motorist’s behalf for the sudden life-threatening situation. One particular incident occurred heading south along Main Road just before the Steenberg traffic intersection. When I questioned the motorist why he had literally just tried to kill me, he went red and then purple with rage. “I pay taxes for the road and you do not!” he screamed at me across the passenger seat and out his window. So he truly wanted to kill me because somehow I was either defrauding him or I was acting in a parasitic manner. It had never occurred to him that I own a car for which I pay annual fees, but that I choose to cycle whenever possible. I had no idea up until that point that payment for the use of the road was such an issue to some people. It blatantly does grieve some people. It is often difficult, but seeing a given situation from the viewpoint of others can be very illuminating.

    Your comments on road usage versus road damage for different vehicle types raises an important point that is not considered by many. The City of Cape Town does charge annual vehicle registration fees according to weight class scale.

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