If You Want To “Share The Road”, Pay Up

I was driving down the street the other day and noticed a yellow bumper-sticker on the back of an SUV that said, “Three Feet, It’s The Law!”

The implication being that if you don’t give a bicyclist three feet that you are subject to being cited. As a bicycle rider myself that bumper-sticker made me angry because drivers know to give bike riders plenty of room and drivers don’t need a law or bumper-stickers to tell us that. As far as I am concerned that bumper-sticker also applies to the bikers to give me three feet when I pass them on a public street.

Recently I noticed in my neighborhood a flurry of yellow signs that announce “Share The Road” with a cycle rider logo on it, also painted in the middle of the streets are the cycle rider logos with white chevrons above them and I assume it too is a reminder to “Share The Road”.

This is just too stupid.

Nobody wants to injure a cyclist or damage his/her riding equipment. How much taxpayer money was spent on these signs that state the obvious?
I did a little research and found out from FDOT that it cost $30,000 a mile to put in a bike lane. That’s right, it cost $30,000 of taxpayer money to install a bike lane. That is a heck of a lot of money to accommodate people who pay nothing.

Who pays for this? People who drive cars and trucks, that’s who. Bicycle riders pay nothing, zero, nada, nil, zilch. Doesn’t this seem backward to you? The very people who demand we have a law that subjects drivers to a citation and demands “Share The Road” signs, pay nothing while drivers are paying through their purchase of gasoline taxes and license plates.

It is time for the bike riders who ride on our public streets and roads pay up. How do we do this? Simple, anyone who rides a bicycle on the streets will be required to have a tag on their bicycle. That would be a license tag that is paid for by the bike owner. If a bike is on the streets without a tag, or an expired tag, they will be subject to a traffic citation, just like people who drive or ride motorized vehicles.

This is not so far fetched. I like to ride the trails around Lake Overstreet and Maclay Gardens and I have to pay for that privilege either by putting money in the honor box, or in my case, buy an annual park pass. If a park ranger catches you riding those trails and you don’t have an honor box receipt or a park pass you will be fined $250.

Personally, I don’t ride my bicycle on the streets because it is dangerous, especially if you are dumb enough to ride on Thomasville Road or any of the canopy roads.

It is not illegal to ride a bike on a canopy road but you have to know it is dangerous because there is only so much room.

I can not tell you how many times I have been on a canopy road poking along at five or six miles an hour waiting for traffic conditions to allow me enough room to safely pass the rider. While riding the trails, I have fallen off my mountain bike enough times to know it hurts, which makes me cautions when passing a cyclist because I don’t want to put she/he in the ditch on Centerville Road.

It is dangerous for the rider because riders are hard to see. To demonstrate that, next time you are driving and see a cyclist, stick your arm out in front of you and hold up your index finger and notice your finger covers up the rider and you can’t see her/him. A bicycle rider, or a motorcyclist appears in only 5% of your vision, that means ninety-five percent of your vision is occupied with other distractions. Do the math.

I know this column is going to make a lot of people angry, but if you are going to make demands that effect other people that are “sharing the road”, then you should pay for it.

2 Responses to "If You Want To “Share The Road”, Pay Up"

  1. As the writer of the arti les starts by stating he is a rider it made me question where he is riding since noone needs a reminder in his town. I am a rider but also own a car. The cost of that lane you see there isnt only coming out of the tax paid in gasoline or the tag you pay for your car. Taxes are all collected and then allotted where they are needed so in the same por comes in all the taxes collected even to those that do not own a car or any motor vehicle. I being rider have felt the horrible feeling of people flicking you up, beeping the horn and yelling at you because in any way your using the street. So I do feel like we all need a reminder that we NEED to share the street and if not the get cited. Plenty of people have been in accidents and killed because of plenty motor vehicles that people do not feel like they need to give space to cyclers. Is sad that a person that cycles express this way when he should feel the oppression for using a bike.

  2. The premise that bicycle riders pay nothing is non-sence. It is estimated that about half the cost of the roads are paid for by user taxes, i.e. gas taxes, tolls, and fees. The rest is paid for through income taxes, property taxes and sales taxes, which are paid for by everybody. That is certainly true for Tallahassee. The widening of Capital Circle e.g. was almost exclusively paid for through sales taxes.

    These estimates do not even take into account that about 30% of the gas taxes is paid by professional traffic, the costs of which ultimately is paid for by the consumers, whether they drive, ride or walk.

    Oh and yes, complaining about the cost of the bikelane? In comparison to the cost of a single (car) lane (about $4.000.000) it’s a bargain!

    A proud rider.

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