Thursday, November 08, 2007

Bicycle paths, if you want them, you pay for them.

How about we tackle the issue of bicycle lanes in Yolo County like we do everything else in California, a new tax.
Bicycle advocates were before the County Board of Supervisors Tuesday pleading with them to improve what they called dangerous traveling conditions along County Road 99. "That section is dangerous," said Paul Erickson, a bicyclist commuter who logged more than 4,000 miles on that stretch of highway this year in his commute from Woodland to Davis. "I've had several close calls, especially at night." The group of bicyclists was mostly comprised from a group called Davis Bicycles!, a bicycle advocacy organization that promotes the rights and safety of bicycle enthusiast in Yolo County......

"The thing that really pisses me off," said Jim Watson, a founding member of Davis Bicycles!, "is this has been an on again-off again issue for 14 years."

If the 'Davis Bicycles!' want to ride on publicly funded bike paths only a very, very small percentage of the County's population uses, then they should shoulder the burden of building and maintaining them. Bicycle paths are expensive to build and maintain. The two dollar a year bike license just doesn't raise enough cash. How about a $200 per year tax on every bicycle sold in Yolo County?

Gasp! Are you crazy? That is outrageous! Why should I pay for a place to enjoy my recreation? I ride on the public roads and I want a six foot wide, well lit, freshly asphalted surface between my house and my work, oh and Lake Berryessa, its pretty up there. And I don't want to pay a dime for it. I pay taxes and that should be enough.

OK, I enjoy riding my Quads with my family. The closest OHV (off highway vehicle) park is located above Folsom. And guess what, I have to pay sales tax on my quad ($8,000 x .0725= $580) and then license my ATV every year @ $25 and I cannot ride it public roads! I have to drive an hour to Prairie City OHV, or take my chances sharing the steep and windy dirt roads with the rafting buses over low water bridge to access the BLM land an hour away. Where is my place to ride near my house?

I know, I know, bicycling is healthy and its fun and its a great workout. So is a spin class at the gym or a stationary bike. Why do I have to subsidize the entertainment of such a small group of citizens? And don't give me the story about how you use it to commute to work, I drive from Woodland to Davis everyday and I can count on one hand the people I see heading to work on their bicycles. Take a bus if you don't want to drive, I already subsidize that.

It would be like demanding the County build me an ATV park. I'm sure I could fill up a board of supervisors meeting with over 100 off road enthusiasts who would love it, why don't we demand our place to ride?

Because we are normal folks who work all week and play hard on the weekends, we don't demand the other 95% of our neighbors who don't participate in our sport pay our way.

Oh and by the way, if you want us to share the road, how about you guys start obeying the rules of the road. A stop sign is just as valid for you as it is for me. I know it sucks to have to come to a stop and it takes more energy to get started again than if you just blow through the intersection, but you're the one in Spandex fella, not me.

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