Progressive “paradise” Oregon has imposed — get this — a bicycle tax.
House Bill 2017, a massive transportation package, includes an “excise tax of $15 … on each sale at retail in this state of a taxable bicycle.” The tax falls on bikes sold for more than $200.
Predictably, velo fanatics are livid, with one decrying taxation of “the healthiest, most inexpensive, most environmentally friendly, most efficient and most economically sustainable form of transportation ever devised by the human species.”
But there’s a strong case to be made that similar to the taxes that drivers pay on motor fuels, bicyclists should be made to contribute to the infrastructure that facilitates their preferred form of travel. A few years ago, “avid cyclist” Tony Nitti observed: “As city governments are pressed to provide safe bike lanes and bike-sharing programs in hopes of reducing gridlock and placating resident cycling enthusiasts, costs devoted to a once-secondary class of transportation are rising dramatically.”
Throw in the fact that bicycle accidents are “costing billions of dollars a year,” and it’s not entirely unreasonable to ask riders to pay their “fair share.”
While New Mexico isn’t rated terribly well by the League of American Bicyclists, Albuquerque “promotes healthy and responsible bicycling,” with “more than 400 miles of bike paths and trails.” The Duke City dutifully adopted a “Complete Streets” ordinance in 2015, to “help high traffic areas be more inclusive of all forms of urban transportation, reducing congestion while making streets safer.” Santa Fe has “bicycle paths and trails for all types of riders … located in and around the city.” Las Cruces “has more than 65 miles of in-road bicycle lanes, shared-use lanes and bicycle routes,” as well as “about 15 miles of paved and natural surface trails.” It “currently holds a ‘bronze’ status as a Bicycle Friendly Community.”
The Tax Foundation notes that right now, “only the city of Colorado Springs imposes a bike tax.” But as long as the small number of people who travel by bicycle press for more subsidies geared toward their method of movement, a tax on two-wheelers is something for local governments in New Mexico to consider. It’s only fair, right?