Thursday, August 19, 2004

Another jackass in the paper (bitching)

I saw in the paper today that another person has written a letter to the editor with the maligned belief that licencing bicycles would earn the city money, and be a good thing (both wrong). My initial response--literally--was "STUPID FUCKING DUMBASS!!" and I threw the paper across the room.

There are so many fucking reasons that bicycles should not be licensed, not the least of which is that it would take oodles of money to set up a system that wouldn't work (a licence plate, like anything else on a bicycle, is very easily removed). This would not earn money for the government, and even if it did, I thought that people were against cash cows (like Red Light cameras).

But then there's also the other aspects: Every year, our governments spend hundreds of millions of dollars paving roads, and trying to find ways to squeeze more cars in to finite space. Add to this the costs to our health care system for collisions (which are rarely "accidents") as well as for the treatment of conditions caused by sedentary lifestyles. The governments also spends billions of dollars to get police to attend to collisions and to enforce laws against dangerous driving habits. And they give further billions to the auto industry so they can build more cars, perpetuating this cycle.

One 1991 Danish study found that to cover all the costs paid by the government, gas taxes would have to be $55US/Litre (in 1991 dollars). But since the gas tax is far lower, the remainder has to be covered by Joe and Jane Taxpayer.

Bicycles, on the other hand, are not heavy enough to deteriorate pavement. Whereas properly-laid roads (in Ottawa) wear out every 6 years, the improperly-laid pathways built around Ottawa in the '70s and the '80s have only recently been replaced for the first time. Roads also wear at the edges first, so if you have bicycle lanes on them, it provides buffer space. Besides, bicycing is an excellent way to stay fit.

Although the last paragraph doesn't speak directly to licensing of bicycles, it shows why bicycles actually save money for the government. Therefore, if you make it harder for people to own and ride bicycles (by requiring them to get a license), you discourage them from riding, and they will drive cars, costing governments much more money.

For every dollar the government puts towards encouraging people to cycle, it gets many dollars back in savings.

- RG.

1 comment:

RealGrouchy said...

Sorry, forgot to add that cars cause air pollution, and cycling goes towards meeting Canada's Kyoto emissions targets.

- RG.