Letters to the Editor

Adrian Crane: Cyclists’ fair share of road tax? Not much

Re: “Don’t give bicyclists a free ride on our roads” (Opinions, Sept. 27): I understand Los Angeles Times columnist George Skelton’s anger at cyclists when he wrote his article, but he needs a little perspective on calculating a fair registration fee for bicycles.

Let’s figure my bill: Road and traffic impact depends on the weight, size and speed of the vehicle. My bicycle, with me on it, weighs about 200 pounds, compared to 3,000 pounds for cars, and it is about a quarter the size and travels at a quarter the speed of a car. So that is about 250th the impact per mile.

California fuel taxes are approximately 60 cents a gallon. For an average 20-mpg vehicle that’s 3 cents a mile. My bike and I should be paying 3 cents every 250 miles that I ride, or 12 cents per 1,000 miles. Even an enthusiastic cyclist would ride a 100 miles a week, but let’s say I will rack up 5,000 miles in a year. Please bill me that 60 cents. You can either swing by in your car or have the state send me a bill (cost: $2 plus stamp).

If you are still frustrated at not being able to tax cyclists, take solace in the fact that, like most adult cyclists, I drive a car, too. Every mile I cycle instead of drive removes additional impact from the roads rather than adds it.

Adrian Crane, Modesto