Across the land, as active transportation gains steadily restore publicly-funded roads to safer use by the general public, regardless of mode of movement chosen at any given time, someone, somewhere, is asking why licences aren’t required, either for bikes or those who ride them. Over decades, a lasting legacy of articles and council decisions have honed the responses to a simple set. Many cities do offer bike registration for theft recovery (Brockville being one, thanks to the Kinsmen Club), and some cities have bicycle licensing statutes that are largely ignored by all. However, they are the exception. Continue reading “A Lasting Legacy Of Licensing Losses”
Here’s an interesting article in MomentumMag, a Canadian publication, by Elly Blue, an American author, drawing on Canadian, US and European research (road funding is pretty much the same everwhere), that helps illuminate who really pays for roads. It turns out, no surprise, that we all pay for the public roads that move people and goods – primarily through property and income taxes. It also turns out, no surprise again for this well-documented topic, that every kilometer traveled on foot or by bike or transit has a net economic and social benefit, while every kilometer driven has a net economic and social cost. While we all benefit from a safe network of public roads, those who only drive pay far less than they consume.
Next time you’re confronted by someone claiming that “cyclists need to pay their fair share”, show them this (or any number of academic studies), and ask them for their supporting evidence.
Read article here.
Across the USA, “a new generation of advocates is pushing for diversity and inclusion to sit at the front of the [bicycling] movement and make social equity the primary goal.” In Canada too, there’s a building wave of support for active mobility – walking, biking and transit – to provide safe and affordable transportation choices for those of all abilities – including ability to afford transportation. Remember, those living within constrained means pay property taxes too, and thus subsidize those who can afford to own and operate private vehicles. Read article here.
In a followup to an earlier post highlighting just one of many studies examining the funding of public roads and the relative economic efficacy of different road uses, here’s a recent one that explains in simpler language. While the article describes Toronto’s budgeting process, it’s the same anywhere in Canada (similar article here from Calgary).
On top of that, such reports often fail to do a “full cost accounting”, factoring in health and other societal costs. When this is done, the picture looks like that above, from this Vancouver report.
“So next time someone makes a point about how freeloading cyclists need to start paying for the roads they use, perhaps it’s worth mentioning to him or her that as a cyclist everyone shares in the costs already, and we can instead focus on what moves the most people efficiently.”
This is a great summary piece that lists fifty different reasons why cities of all sizes need to pay more attention to design that puts people, community and walkability, and moving people in a way that creates interaction, ahead of moving cars. The list covers the gamut from physical and population physical and mental health, to social community, to economic factors. Read more here.
A new backgrounder from Complete Streets for Canada examines the need to apply complete streets approaches to rural areas. This adds to the impetus for, among other things, a “paved shoulders” policy which has an easy business case, yet whose benefits go much further than dollars. “With higher road mortality rates and poorer health outcomes than their urban counterparts, rural areas in particular can benefit from safer roadways that encourage walking, cycling and other forms of active transportation. Transportation equity is also critical, as those living without a vehicle in rural areas can face serious challenges of mobility in the absence of public transportation and safe walking and cycling routes. On a larger scale, a Complete Streets approach can have economic benefits, by enlivening a rural main street or historic downtown. ” Read more here.
“Rather than contribute to a society where walking and biking around the city can feel like dodging bullets, or where children can’t walk to the neighbor’s house without an adult, be part of the solution. Drive safely, and encourage your friends to do the same. If you don’t, well, you might just kill someone.”
The paradigm has irrevocably shifted from motorists being rulers of public roads, to an era in which Vision Zero is gaining ground, reverse onus is gaining precedence in civil suits, and speed limits are being reduced to favour more vulnerable road users in residential areas of many larger cities. Against this sea change, several articles have delivered blunt messages to those exhibiting more aggressive road behaviour. This article is one of the more politely worded ones. Read article here.
[And for those of you whose blood pressure is rising, face is turning red, and are blurting, “But, But, But….”, read this too.]
The notion of licensing bikes has surfaced once again, this time in Toronto. Some cities, like Toronto and Winnipeg, used to do this and abandoned the practice due to high costs and lack of tangible benefits. Still, every year the notion surfaces in a few cities, usually from back-seat politicians eager to make a mark yet not eager to do any homework first. As a preemptive play to dissuade any local thinking in this direction, here’s a helpful summary of why this idea is or should be a non-starter, from Cycle Toronto. Read more here.
An interesting opinion piece by Ottawa Citizen columnist David Reevely asks whether that city is doing enough, fast enough, to be called bicycle friendly. He points to that city’s current budget for cycling facilities as inadequate, especially when compared to other big cities. Of course, from where we sit in Brockville, the anti-lanerville of Eastern Ontario, what Mr. Reevely calls inadequate we would call a nice problem to have. Read here.
This article from the Washington Post is yet another that explains how there is no such thing as “free parking”. In downtown Brockville, the complimentary parking is paid for by DBIA members who then recover the cost as part of their overhead expenses, that is, in prices charged for goods and services. At big box stores, free parking has a cost that’s recovered from prices of groceries, hardware, clothing and so on. This is yet another way that automobile-centricity in urban design and execution introduces social inequities. The solution? Decouple the cost and charge for parking everywhere. Read more here.