What a great letter to the editor in Saturday’s Wilmington News Journal!
WNJ, Sept. 10, 2011 — To argue that bicyclists should pay “their fair share” of infrastructure costs, be licensed and ride in perfect compliance with motor vehicle laws (that are designed to protect drivers from themselves that most routinely break) is to live in an alternate universe.
Half of all road costs are paid from general taxes. Vehicles inflict wear and tear at a ratio in proportion to the fourth power of their weight. In addition, gasoline is subsidized by the general taxpayer via ethanol and oil company subsidies. Add to that the cost of wars to maintain U.S. access to Mideast oil ($2.51 for every gallon of gas consumed in the U.S.). Add my inflated health care insurance premiums that subsidize treatment of asthma due to high levels of particulate matter in the air and treatment for the obesity and diabetes epidemic in the US resulting from bad diets and sedentary lifestyles.As a healthy person who walks or rides a bike for most of my trips, I am woefully subsidizing every gallon of gas and every vehicle mile traveled in the U.S. In fact, I could argue that at least a quarter of all my taxes directly or indirectly go toward subsidizing other people’s driving habits.