To The Editor:
Over the last few weeks there have been several articles about registering and charging fees for bikes in the city. Given the logic and questionable application of the economic concept of free rider(s), why stop at registering just bicycles? Surely every child’s tricycle, dolly stroller and baby carriage should be covered. Also let’s tax motorized wheel chairs and scooters. Maybe throw in lawn-mowers, after all you may cross a sidewalk to mow part of your lawn. They all put additional wear and tear on our public roads.
As used in a recent letter, in this case the concept of “free rider” creates a false equality between cars and trucks on one hand and bikes on the other. Bicycles simply do not cause wear or pollution on an equal basis with motorized vehicles. We should want to create incentives for more bike usage, not increase the nanny state burden.
What lessons do we teach our children with this tax? I would not want to be the parent of a child who was stopped because their bike was untaxed. How do you explain this? This would not encourage bikes, but does put an additional burden on people who have committed the very heinous crimes of clean living and healthy exercise.
The correct economic concept to apply is if you want to encourage an activity you subsidize it, if you want to discourage an activity you tax it, tobacco being the best example. That is how to look at bike usage.
Finally my most sincere appreciation, especially as a taxpayer, of whoever in the City Attorney’s office had the good common sense to suggest that registration is no longer needed. That person deserves a promotion for having a practical solution for an issue versus creating an additional burden on the residents. Hopefully the City Council can find a way to finance whatever infrastructure is needed. It can’t be that expensive. Furthermore this can be done without an income tax.
William L. Blumberg, MBA