Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In
Bicycling

Freakonomics Ponders the Freeloading Cyclist

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

Congressional Watchdog Launches Probe Into Why Massive Cars Kill So Many Pedestrians and Cyclists

If the feds won't get to the bottom of the megacar crisis on their own, the investigative arm of congress will.

June 20, 2024

Thursday’s Headlines Reveal Hochul’s Math: Drivers > Transit Users

Hey, transit users — we're invisible to Congestion Kathy.

June 20, 2024

Pols Let Suffolk Co. Red Light Cams Expire, Inviting Deadlier Streets

Long Islanders should be red hot mad that streets are about to become less safe.

June 19, 2024

Wednesday’s Headlines: Juneteenth Edition

We're off for the holiday, but we still have a slate of news for you!

June 19, 2024

Elmhurst’s ‘Little Thailand’ Gets Open Street Redesign

An already popular open street will be converted to one-way — with the space used to bolster the many restaurants nearby.

June 19, 2024
See all posts