Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In

Freakonomics Ponders the Freeloading Cyclist

2:30 PM EDT on April 3, 2009

294841_0dbb37e404.jpgWho's next? Photo: wodaking/Flickr

The Times' Freakonomics blog has picked up on proposed legislation from Wayne Krieger, an Oregon representative who wants every bike owner in the state aged 18 and older to pay a $54 registration fee every two years. "[B]ikes have used the roads in this state forever and have never
contributed a penny," says Krieger. "The only people that pay into the system are those
people who buy motor vehicle licenses and registration fees."

As one might suspect, asking Krieger to further explain the rationale for his bill, as Bike Portland did, reveals his motives to be rooted as much in suspicion of cyclists in general as in any desire for bike riders to pay their "fair share." Sample quote: "If a person is operating a bike and they are the one that causes an
accident, do they have insurance to cover your costs and medical
expenses? Not all of those people have any type of insurance at all."

The Freakonomics guys, in the link below, point to a study showing "the improved fitness the use of non-motorized transport provides," even as they ask:

Considering the enormous benefitsof investments in bicycle infrastructure, can even a tax-hatingbicyclist concede his point, at a registration cost of just over 7cents a day?

So cycling should be taxed because it makes people healthier? Freakonomics, indeed.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

We Have the ‘End of Days’ Flooding Pics You Need Right Now

It's bad out there. How bad? Here is a citywide roundup from our staff ... and our friends on social media.

September 29, 2023

Labor Gains: Judge Tosses App Giants’ Suit to Stop Deliverista Minimum Wage

Justice Nicholas Moyne cleared the way for a long-delayed wage hike for workers who brave dangerous roads to bring food directly to New Yorkers.

September 29, 2023

Fed Up Bronxites Tell Mayor To Forget About Bus Ride Invitation After Fordham Road ‘Betrayal’

"I really would think that our mayor would be a little bit more active and speak with us, because he hasn't really made any time with riders. We're not the enemy. We just want better bus service."

September 29, 2023

City Pays $150K to Settle Suit Over Cops Who Harassed Man Who Reported Police Parking Misconduct

Justin Sherwood and his lawyer will pocket $152,000 to settle his federal civil rights suit against the city and several officers who harassed him following his 311 calls.

September 28, 2023
See all posts