Letters to the Editor

Feedback: Bike tax a good idea

I would have replied to the letter by L.K. Lohse (News-Times, April 27) sooner, but as it happens I was out of town riding my bike that week. Such thoughtless sputtering is too good to go undisputed, yet buried deep inside the lump of useless whining is a gem.

Like most cyclists, I am also a driver (of a V-8 SUV no less), and I do enjoy an occasional drink, so I already pay my share of liquor and gas taxes. Death though has always been low priority on my to-do list so I’ve wiggled out of the tobacco tax along with the other non-smokers who make up 80 percent of the Washington population.

Yet, I agree with the idea for a bike tax. Those funds, however, should go to projects that positively impact cyclists by implementing useful bike lanes on busy streets — unlike the lanes on Heller Road, near Hillcrest Elementary, which runs about one-tenth of a mile (less than a block) before leaving riders in the gutter. This wasted paint and four road signs are of no practical use to anybody on a bike. It certainly doesn’t help in providing any margin of safety to school kids riding their bikes to school or visiting the playground in the summertime.

There are other local roads like Fort Nugent Road which already have wide, paved shoulders which could easily support a useful bike lane along its entire length. All they need are markings.

Chances are that most close calls between cars and bikes are a result of drivers not paying attention. Odds do not favor the cyclist in a collision, so the majority of cyclists respect the drivers riding past them (apparently death is low on their to-do list too). Unfortunately the opposite isn’t always true.

Jon Rasmussen

Oak Harbor

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