H. 3 – BICYCLE REGISTRATION
The Vermont Bicycle & Pedestrian Coalition opposes H. 3, because it presents a barrier to bicycle use for adults. We need to remove barriers to bicycle use rather than create barriers.
- Nearly all adult bicyclists in Vermont are also car owners and pay taxes. Almost all adult bicyclists pay gasoline taxes when we drive our cars. Bicyclists also pay property taxes which goes to maintain local roads and also toward the local match for state/federally funded road projects.
- As Vermont seeks ways to contain health care costs, we should be encouraging healthful activities. Recreational or fitness bicycling is a healthful activity which should be encouraged.
- Bicycling for transportation is also healthful and furthermore reduces pollution and traffic congestion.
- Bicyclists cause almost no damage to the road bed or surface. Motor vehicle use, particularly by heavy trucks and farm equipment, causes deterioration of the roads.
- Other users of the roadways are not required to register. Pedestrians, equestrians, and farm vehicles fall into this category. Where separate facilities exist, so-called “bicycle paths” are also heavily used by walkers, rollerbladers, x-c skiers, joggers, dog walkers, and baby carriages. None of these users are required to register.
- Bicycle tourism is a low-impact type of tourism that should be encouraged. Vermont bicycle tourists pay lodging, meals, and sales taxes even if they don't buy gasoline while in the state. A 1992 study estimated direct expenditures by visiting bicyclists at $13.1 million. A 1999 study in Maine found that bicycling contributes $66.8 million and 1,200 jobs to the state’s economy.
- No other states have a mandatory bicycle registrations. A few municipalities do, but the registration fee is much lower ($1-2 per year). The purpose of these registrations is usually to track and return lost or stolen bicycles.
- Enforcement and administration of bicycle registrations would tap already overburdened resources in our police departments and the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Therefore, a “new tax” on bicycling is not in the best interest of the citizens or the state.
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