Austin Cycling News

Cycling in Austin

A great post on who gets to use the road, found on a blog comment.

By • Aug 2nd, 2008 • Category: Hmm...

Found here:

Zen said…

Why is it not compulsory for cyclists to be provided with safe, direct cycle routes? We are currently suffering the results of 40 years of failed traffic policies that ignored cyclists as an everyday travel group. Meanwhile motorized traffic levels have soared to choking point. Is it any wonder that cyclists often feel the need to use pavements? All this “cyclists should do this, cyclists should do that” is frankly missing the point. Suddenly the US is waking up to the need to encourage cycling, but finds that the infrastructure is utter crap.

The next time you see a cyclist on a pavement, or indeed a busy road, take the time to consider whether or not there is a good quality cycle path alongside, before blaming the cyclist. Sure we should be licensed but quite frankly, I already pay taxes on two cars that barely move through the week because my wife only works part time and I don’t drive daily. The wheel tax doesn’t go to roads anyway so that it irrelevant.

If we take this idea seriously that only those who pay gasoline taxes can use the roads, then we are going to live in a very odd world. Grade schools will have to be funded entirely from taxes on candy and toys, libraries from taxes on books and magazines, and police from taxes on guns and home security devices. People from one town won’t be able to use any public services in another town, and foreign visitors will be out of luck altogether.

And, of course, this argument also ignores that fact that most cyclists are motorists also.

This argument kind of parallels two others: 1) cyclists shouldn’t be allowed on the road because they haven’t had to pass a driving test, and 2) cyclists don’t have to obey the traffic laws, for the same reason.

This argument falls into a class that I’ve never seem mentioned under fallacies, yet it should be because I encounter it all the time; for instance, if you’re not a woman, you can’t say anything about gender issues. You never smoked pot? Then you can’t speak out against using drugs. We might call it the exclusionary fallacy. This fallacy is halfway true (as most fallacies are). Men, of course, have never had firsthand experience at being women or at having babies. But if men really can’t say anything worthwhile about women, why do most women go to male gynecologists and male psychologists? Having smoked pot gives you some insight, but it hardly makes you an expert.

Here the idea is that there are two types of people in the world, motorists and cyclists, and the motorists are being treated unfairly, poor things.

The roads in the United States are Public Roads, kind of like the Army-its a “Public Good”. You do not have to pay any taxes at all to use them and you may derive no benefit from them but exist they do. You do not have to buy a license or pass a test either. You can walk, you can ride a horse, you can drive a buggy, and you can drive a farm tractor legally in every state without paying one red cent. On the other hand, owners of automobiles, trucks, and motorcycles are required to pass driving tests and to buy licenses. Why? These vehicles cause a lot of deaths and get stolen frequently. The government wants the operators carefully trained and their accidents recorded, and it wants to help them recover stolen vehicles. If cyclists were killing a lot of motorists, the government would go to the trouble of training and licensing them too.

The answer most of the comments about paying taxes is that they ddon’t have to pay any taxes or fees or take any test at all, either. They are free to ride a bicycle. Or, at their choice, they can drive their car wherever they want, just as long as they stays on his own property.

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