Wednesday, July 26, 2006

User Fees

I've been reading many letters in the local paper over the past few weeks calling for licensing and registration of bicycles and riders, the idea being that this will increase safety by decreasing traffic law violations by riders, and will help pay for bike-lanes and other bike-oriented improvements.
As a bike commuter, I say these are excellent ideas. There are some bad riders out there that make the rest of us look bad. We've all seen the example of how licensing and registering cars and drivers have reduced speeding, red-light running, non-use of turn signals and other vehicle violations to absolute zero. Our roads our much safer now, thanks to those fees.
While we’re at it, it’s time we stopped subsidizing roads and highways with our tax dollars and increase fees vehicle drivers pay. Gas taxes, licensing and registration don’t begin cover the cost of maintaining old roads, never mind building new ones. And that's also ignoring the costs of externalities such as policing, associated health care costs and environmental damage and repair.
Continuing the user-pay scenario, let’s start licensing pedestrians, too. Clearly there’s room for safety improvements in this sector of the travelling public, as many of them don’t seem to understand the simple phrase “Don’t Walk.” And somebody’s got to pay for all those sidewalks.

1 comment:

  1. Y'know, I wouldn't mind TOO much if ICBC offered very low-cost bike insurance. Like $10/year to pay out in case of injuries, and $10/year to pay out like $300 towards replacement of a stolen bike.
    Apparently one's homeowner's insurance can cover bikes in cases like this.
    But if bike insurance were mandatory, well, that would have to be when the law-makers are responding to the bike-users increased presence as normal road-users. And it would have to be when the roads are reflecting that use.