Who Subsidizes Whom?

Have you ever been riding along on your bike, when a passing motorist yells something like, “You don’t pay taxes — get off the road!” or something to that effect? In my experience, those shouts are triggered because bikes slow down traffic, and adversely impact a commuter’s driving time. In my experience also, that slowdown lasts for approximately three seconds. Then, the car is free to pull out and roar past — often at a distance too close for comfort.

On the urban planning website Planetizen, blogger Todd Litman dissects the internal combustion crowd’s arguments against supporting better infrastructure for cyclists, including the one on taxes. It’s a thorough, thoughtful piece, and I look forward to more discussion on this subject.

Litman’s post, “Who Subsidizes Whom?” can be found here.


  1. says

    One thought that immediately comes to my mind is that we cyclists also have a car or truck and pay our taxes at the pump and for the license renewals. Some they tend to forget.

    Other than that, I don’t waste my time trying to persuade them as they will never be persuaded. Move on to other people that are more open minded.

  2. says

    To me, this is really an issue that is grounded in emotion. The tax argument is a rationalization to justify an emotional belief that bicycles don’t belong on the road. This belief is due to aggravation at being slowed for three seconds at a time and other reasons such as a fear of hitting/injuring a cyclist, and watching cyclist scofflaws endanger themselves and others.

    Still, I like the article. It’s important to take on these arguments or else we risk them making the transition from “opinion” to “conventional wisdom.”

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