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Taxes cyclists pay

Published April 9, 2013 1:01 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

In "Tax bicycles, too" (Forum, April 3), Shirley Olsen trots out the shopworn argument that bike commuters should pay licensing fees to use public roadways because cyclists don't pay gas taxes. The argument doesn't hold water.

First, cyclists do pay taxes on their fuel. They fuel their vehicles with the calories they consume, and Utah charges a sales tax on food. In contrast, we motorists convert that energy into extra weight.

Second, cyclists pay for gasoline use in other ways — in wear and tear on their lungs and hearts when vehicle and refinery emissions befoul our air. This is a dear expense, and it's levied disproportionately on those who don't use gasoline.

Finally, would Olsen prefer that each cyclist be magically transformed into another car? Motorists often dislike cyclists because they resent having to pay more attention to their surroundings. Seldom do they consider that each bike represents one less automobile causing traffic congestion.

Erin Saunders

Salt Lake City

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