Why penalize cyclists?

Politicians trying to tax bicycles are just spinning their wheels

A Chicago city councilwoman is sniffing around for something else to tax, and she has selected bicycles. Since Chicago is becoming increasingly cycling-friendly, she has proposed a $25 annual tax on cyclists to kick in money to help pay for the city’s costs of accommodating people who rely on pedal power – such as keeping roads repaired, and running mini-snowplows solely to clear bike paths.

We would encourage her to examine Georgia to see how a similar proposal was received this year.

House Bill 689 languished in the Georgia General Assembly’s House hopper in 2013. The bill called for all cyclists to pay a $15 registration fee, or face a misdemeanor charge and a $100 fine. It also limited the number of cyclists who can ride in a group, and empowered cities to ban cyclists from any roads they chose.

No wonder the bill didn’t advance. Not only did the bill put unnecessary binders on cyclists’ freedom, but how many lawmakers are going to vote for a bill that dumps yet another fee on Georgians? With an election year coming up?

Besides, most cyclists will tell you that they already pay taxes for road upkeep, because they also own motor vehicles. Also, what police officer is going to slap a $100 fine on a kid on training wheels trying to learn to ride his bike on the road in front of his house?

The three Gainesville lawmakers who cosponsored the bill got a three-hour-long earful from irate cyclists at a public hearing about the bill in October. The legislators then said they would withdraw the bill.

Why on Earth would you charge people for creating less pollution and living healthier lives?

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