Friday, August 22, 2008

Angry Motorist

This is a response from Jim's Article in the Valley planet. What seems typical is the mentality here. I really don't mind right wing republican fanatics who are mad at the world. My problem is that there is such a majority here. It seems that even the most liberal Alabamians are basically conservatives. It would be nice to at least here another side instead of this incestuous way of "thinking" I would just like to have a little balance.

I read your article about how you hoped that gasoline would reach $10.00 a gallon. According to you, only those people who deserve to make trips in their cars should be paying less. I feel the same way about the morons on their bicycles holding up traffic because you feel like you have as much right on the road as the people who pay gas tax and buy car tags. I personally hope that bicycle tires go to $500.00 a piece and the people who deserve tires like people under the age of 16 could buy them for less. It's morons like you who don't want drilling anywhere thats costs the average person so much more money each month due to inflated gas prices. You and your dirt people friends are going to be the downfall of this country. No doubt you're a Democrat.


ken kifer said...

Should Cyclists Pay to Use The Roads?

One angry motorist wrote: I am fed up with the people who ride bicycles. . . . AND THEY DON'T PAY ONE DIME OF FEES TO PAY FOR ANYTHING. Ever see how much a car owner pays in registration fees and gas tax?

This argument, that cyclists don't pay taxes, is an old one. It is a big lie.

It's based on the idea that all expenditures for roads come from registration fees and gas taxes. Actually, the idea of linking gas tax receipts to road-building is a fairly recent one, starting with the funding for the interstate system. Since then, politicians have discovered that people would support new gasoline taxes if the money was dedicated to paying for road building and improvements. But local, state, and federal governments have been funding massive projects for years based on whatever money was available to them. Money from other sources has always gone into road and bridge construction, and money from motor vehicle fees and taxes has always gone wherever it was needed.

If we take this idea seriously that only those who pay gasoline taxes can use the roads, then we are going to live in a very odd world. Grade schools will have to be funded entirely from taxes on candy and toys, libraries from taxes on books and magazines, and police from taxes on guns and home security devices. People from one town won't be able to use any public services in another town, and foreign visitors will be out of luck altogether.

But the simple truth is that taxes are taxes. You pay a tax on your car, not because you drive it somewhere nor because the tax gives you any privilege to do anything, but just because the car is an expensive piece of property, just 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 for the community. Motor vehicles tear up the roads, and bicycles do not; they pollute the air, and bicycles do not; they require heavy structures and large parking areas, and bicycles do not. There is no reason why every cent collected from automobiles should be spent to encourage their use. We don't do that with any other tax.

Actually, we don't recover all the costs of our motor vehicles through taxes on them anyway. The taxes collected approximate the costs of the federal highways and some of the state highways, but can't also cover the cost of county roads and city streets. In addition, motor vehicles taxes don't begin to cover the indirect and hidden costs of automobile use, which include: 1) indirect construction costs and problems caused by the roads, 2) maintenance, 3) the costs and problems of providing parking spaces for the vehicles, 4) police, fire, and emergency assistance, 5) local and global health problems caused by pollution, 6) health problems created by lack of exercise and by auto accidents, and 7) global warming and other long-term adverse effects. Everyone pays these costs, whether in taxes or otherwise, motor vehicle user or not. See the sources in the right column for further details.

And, of course, this argument ignores that fact that most cyclists are motorists also.

This argument kind of parallels two others: 1) cyclists shouldn't be allowed on the road because they haven't had to pass a driving test, and 2) cyclists don't have to obey the traffic laws, for the same reason.

This argument falls into a class that I've never seem mentioned under fallacies, yet it should be because I encounter it all the time; for instance, if you're not a woman, you can't say anything about gender issues. You never smoked pot? Then you can't speak out against using drugs. We might call it the exclusionary fallacy. This fallacy is halfway true (as most fallacies are). Men, of course, have never had firsthand experience at being women or at having babies. But if men really can't say anything worthwhile about women, why do most women go to male gynecologists and male psychologists? Having smoked pot gives you some insight, but it hardly makes you an expert.

Here the idea is that there are two types of people in the world, motorists and cyclists, and the motorists are being treated unfairly, poor things.

The roads in the United States are Public Roads. You do not have to pay any taxes at all to use them. You do not have to buy a license or pass a test either. You can walk, you can ride a horse, you can drive a buggy, and you can drive a farm tractor legally in every state without paying one red cent. On the other hand, owners of automobiles, trucks, and motorcycles are required to pass driving tests and to buy licenses. Why? These vehicles cause a lot of deaths and get stolen frequently. The government wants the operators carefully trained and their accidents recorded, and it wants to help them recover stolen vehicles. If cyclists were killing a lot of motorists, the government would go to the trouble of training and licensing them too.

The answer to our angry motorist comments is that he doesn't have to pay any taxes or fees or take any test at all. He is free to ride a bicycle. Or, at his choice, he can drive his car wherever he wants, just as long as he stays on his own property.

clintpatty said...

Just this morning I heard "you aint got no tag, get on the sidewalk." Then the motorist drove off with the intent of remaining ignorant instead of hearing about how the sidewalk is illegal.

clintpatty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bello Velo said...

Sad thing is I had this same thing happen but from a Huntsville Cop who pulled me over.

Anonymous said...

the person who sent me the response has been properly schooled. I forwarded him/her Ken's article (thanks ken and moderator)

My response to the argument was logical and non accusational. I used
the law and fact to counter the argument and thanked them for their feedback.

People like Mickey are just uneducated. I'm sure they have some redeemable qualities, but until they show them we can only assume their complete morons.

So I will keep you updated on the Mickey situation if he/she ever has the balls/ovaries to ever respond back to me.

jim spaggy

Anonymous said...

YU guys and yer bycikles piss me off. When i drive my truck down the road I see you and want to run you over but i dew not cuz i am cristian and the bible sez that i must be tolerent of the enemey and let the good lord smash thm like cockroaches.

-buck jimmy

Peter said...

Kudos Jim. You took the high road and responded with reason.

So what can we do about this growing problem? Ken's post is certainly informative and well written. I hope to add its content to my arsenal when confronted with the anti-cycling attitude. But, how can we change the minds of those who harbor so much hatred toward cyclists? Can we? Is it a lost cause? Apparently, it is with small minded folks like the previous gentleman. I'm a Christian too, but I certainly don't view motorists as the "enemy". I happen to be a motorist too.

I started getting serious about commuting to work via pedal power just this year. I had no idea that doing something as simple as riding my bike to work could bring out such angry unreasonable behavior in people. I didn't have a political agenda and was not getting in other's faces about my "cause". All I wanted to do was to get some exercise, save some gas, reduce pollution and feel really charged up at the start of my workday. All of these things are pure and good, aren't they?

No, no, not to everyone. The moment it was found out that I cycled to work, I got harassed by several of the old curmudgeons I work with. They feel it's inconvenient for them to have to slow down for folks like us. I informed them that I avoid roads that have high speed limits and try my best to go through neighborhoods where there isn't a lot of traffic. That still wasn't good enough for them. They feel that we should stay off the road...period. I hate to admit it, but the encounter actually made me feel like I needed to apologize to motorists for riding my bike on "their" roads.

How could something so simple as the joy of riding a bike turn out to be so complicated and create such hostility? It would seem that one needs to be astute with the laws and their personal rights just to ride on the road. Probably not a bad idea. The more I ride and read blogs and articles about the subject, the more aware I am that cyclists in general seem to have a better grasp of the laws than motorists. Why? Because it's part of our survival.

beardsarefun said...

Wow there's a lot of good comments here. Its very discouraging to see how people get so angry about cyclist on the road - and why? because we inconvenience them in some way? God forbid we make them a couple minutes late on their way home to beat their wife. jk I hope religion and political affiliation can stay out of the debate on who needs to do what. The fact is, their are crazy's and ignorant asshole everywhere. We have a right to the road and there's nothing they can do about it. Give me a bike lane and i'd gladly stay out of your way. You guys definitely expressed it better than me.

Bello Velo said...

I think this is where the city and it's officials have failed us. I for one understand that bike lanes here are probably not going to happen anytime soon however there are a few things the city could do and it would not cost much. Then again if they quit giving tax breaks to Northrup Gruman and the likes there would be plenty. We can leave this for another argumant.

1: The city should educate drivers, cyclist, pedestrians and the police on the laws and rules of the road. They could do this easily on the public access channel along with the school lunch thing they do.

2: Encourage people to walk, bike etc...maybe ask the citizens to take a day off from there cars and walk, ride, run. Maybe shut off some of downtown like they do for the art stroll.

3: Bike racks the city should install and pay for bike racks throughout the city. Why should Bicycles Etc. Star Market, Garden Cove Trailhead do the right thing and they do nothing?

City Council Meetings are the second and last thursday of the month. you are allowed to go and speak for 3 mins.. I was at the last one it is pretty easy and well it better than talking about getting stuff done.

I think if we all put aside our personal agendas and agreed on an action to take we might be able to get something done.

Imagine 50 cyclist showing up

Anonymous said...

Another thing you can do is vote for Tommy Battle for mayor of hsv. He is WAY more bike-friendly than Loretta.

Bello Velo said...

Bike Friendly ( does he ride a bike?) maybe but just flicking the switch and hoping for the best well seems like thats what has been going on here.

Maybe if we all showed some solidarity that would change things. Being a spectator won't do much.

Anonymous said...

This post got me researching the mayoral race, and I just noticed that Polemeni's first public effort was the first bike path in Huntsville, Aldridge Creek linear Park.

Bello Velo said...

Explain??? Bike Path or Greenway??

Peter said...

Looks like the Sunday edition of The Huntsville Times has a pretty good run down of each candidate. I recommend everyone get a copy and read it.

Tommy Battle's top three goals includes "...developing greenways, bike paths, protecting and improving our parks incorporating green spaces and environmental contrlols into new development."

I don't see any mention of bike paths in any of the other candidate's goals. At least he mentions it.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Peter. Tommy Battle has more "new huntsville" on his side. I don't want to sound like I'm picking on anyone but really Loretta's time is up just because it is time for a change. I think progress has come to a stand still on getting her to listen to us cyclists. Face it for years and years she has every so often sat in public meetings and listen to bike clubs and Alabike twist her ear on how things are not getting done to promote cycling and the establishment of a publicly known and publicly used bike pat/lane/green way or whatever. At least with a new guy he is more apt to listen because these are arguments he probably hasn't heard before AND he will be more willing to cooperate with the public because he wants to establish himself as a maverick on some issues that have long gotten ignored.

I'm all for the change because most of these people who are against us are that way because they have no one to lead them. These people are not progressive, they need someone progressive to lead them.

...and they need to be castrated.

jim o spagg no lo