In response to the Wednesday letter, “Tax, license bicycles like cars”: I agree that some sort of program to promote bicycling etiquette would be a good idea. However, other aspects of this letter seem to ignore several realities of the roads we all use.
First, automobile traffic would seem to have the greatest impact on the quality of roadways, outside of weather. Incidentally, a reason that commercial vehicles pay more for licenses than conventional automobiles is that states attempt to promote fairness when considering the causes of roadway deterioration. Conversely, bicycle traffic impacts the quality of a roadway negligibly, if at all.
Second, were bicycles to be taxed and licensed because of the existence of bike lanes, then equal access ideals would require that bike lanes be installed on every paved public roadway in the state. As a bicycle commuter, I would love to see more bike lanes (and more bicyclists), but I don’t think that dedicated bike lanes everywhere are necessary or even desirable.
Third, why stop with bicycles? The cost of sidewalk maintenance is borne by taxpayers while walking itself remains gratis. Habitual walkers could be charged for licensure, with mandatory etiquette classes imposed by the state…
I have experienced civility from most every driver I have encountered during my commutes, and I do appreciate the wide berths given to me by most cars. Thank you to the letter writer for promoting roadway etiquette and driver-bicyclist harmony.