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Bike wheel tax unreasonable


The recent suggestion by one persona contributor to presstalk that bicyclists should not be allowed on roads because they donít pay a wheel tax is unreasonable on many levels.

First, the Knox County Wheel Tax revenue does not fund road projects at all. It pays for a variety of programs such as education, parks, senior centers and libraries. Local county road projects are funded through sales tax, including the tax on gas and alcohol. In any case, most bicyclists also own cars and thus pay the Wheel Tax.

You pay a tax on your car, not because the tax gives you the right to drive it, but just because the car is an expensive piece of property, like your house. You pay a tax on gasoline just as you pay a tax on anything else you buy, and the tax on gas is higher for the same reason that that taxes on tobacco and alcohol are higher: their use creates a greater expense burden forimposes a cost on the rest of the community. Motor vehicles tear up the roads, and bicycles do not; motor vehicles pollute the air, and bicycles do not; motor vehicles require large parking areas, and bicycles do not.

And, to reiterate what I stated in a column last fall, bicycles are vehicles under state law. Bicyclists have all the rights and duties of any other driver of a vehicle. Those duties include obeying stop signs and traffic lights, using lights at night, and yielding to other traffic when entering the roadway. The law also gives rights to bicyclists. These rights include equal status with other drivers, the right to use the road responsibly, and legal protection in court. A motorist is required by law to yield right of way to a bicyclist just as he or she would to another motorist. Motorists should look for bicyclists to be on all roadways, and give the same respect they would to another motorist.

Some bicyclists choose to ride on sidewalks instead of on the road. This is legal, but it is not as safe as people think. The potential for conflicts at driveways and other problems result in a higher crash rate for bicyclists on sidewalks than on roadways. Road shoulders are often filled with gravel and broken glass, and cannot be used safely by

bicyclists.

When we all respect the rules of the road and each other, itís easy to share the road.

 

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