An Amusement & Diversion for The Genteel Cyclist. Daily.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Please, no politics in the peloton: Wisconsin bike tax could be a shot at the grupetto

Wisconsin civil war now extends
to bike culture?
Fresh back from a lovely trip to Wisconsin's magical Driftless country, we were demoralized today to read that Gov. Scott Walker is floating the idea of a bike tax, to the tune of $25 attached to every new bicycle sold in the Dairyland.

Mainly, two responses:  Every regular bike commuter has heard this ridiculous rant from an angry car driver who didn't want to share the road: "Get on the bike path, I paid for this road and you didn't!" Simply not true. Aside from the fact that just about every cyclist I know also owns and happily drives an automobile (thus using gasoline, thus paying transporation related taxes), it's not like we don't pay every other tax under the sun, and mosts states have complex tax structures that are never so quid-pro-quo.

Second, there is no way this is not political and personal, considering that one of Walker's main opponents and critics has been  former Trek executive Mary Burke. Converse theory: Now that Burke has been downsized by her former employer, conservative brass there are OK with a new bike tax. Wait, did I just say that? Conservatives are OK with a new bike tax? Has the world gone insane?

True, some are floating the idea that Republicans often stereotype Democrats as tree-hugging bike nuts. But that just shows how out of touch the politicians actually are. Every successful (fun! sustainable!) cycling group with which I've ever biked has been unofficially  "social, not political," in recognition of the fact that a long group ride turns into a  miserable marathon when politics are in the peloton.

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