Portland is known for its bicycle friendly streets and its large, active community of bicycling enthusiasts. While most cyclists are in favor of anything that makes the city safer and more easily accessible, a new bike tax has raised some concerns. Though it promises to potentially reduce the risks for bike accidents and pedestrian injuries, critics claim it may do more to actually discourage the very people it hopes to protect.
Oregon Bike Tax
On July 6, 2017, the Oregon Legislature passed House Bill 2017, a $5.3 million transportation package aimed at making infrastructure improvements. Under Section 92 of this bill, there is a small subheading that is gaining nationwide attention. It concerns a $15 excise tax, which applies to all retail sales of adult bikes at a price over $200 and with a wheel diameter of 26 inches or more. The statewide tax is among the first of its kind, but has already inspired the state of Colorado to consider a similar proposal.
Under the bill, the estimated $1 million that is expected to be raised by the bike tax is earmarked to go to Connect Oregon. This is a lottery funded bond program initiative that invests in badly needed updates for the state’s air, rail, port, and ground transportation systems. While the state has previously worked on addressing concerns relevant to bicyclists and pedestrians safety, the bike tax money will provide the money for some long awaited updates, which include the following:
- Expanding commuter routes for those who walk or use non-motorized vehicles;
- Improving and adding to the state’s existing bike paths and walking trails;
- Adding multi-use trails and bridges, offering shortcuts to avoid traffic;
- Addressing issues in high crash corridor areas.
Will The Bike Tax Improve Bicycle Safety?
Critics of the Oregon bike tax claim that it discourages one of the healthiest, most inexpensive, and environmentally friendly forms of transportation the city offers. Bike Portland questions whether any improvements that would be made outweigh the potential damage to Portland’s reputation as a bike friendly community, the disincentives to consumers, and the loss of profits among bicycle retailers.
The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) states that along with the increasing numbers of people who typically tour neighborhoods, parks, and shopping districts in and around Portland on foot, more than seven percent of commuters to the area do so by bike. Currently, PBOT reports that pedestrians and bike accident figures are higher than they have been in recent years. For those who walk or bike regularly in our area, the bike tax improvements could increase both convenience and safety, while helping to reduce the overall number of accidents and injuries that occur each year.
Our Portland Accident Attorney Is Here To Assist You
At the Johnston Law Firm, we assist those who have been injured as the result of bicycle or pedestrian accidents in seeking the compensation they need to recover. Call or contact our Portland accident attorney online today to request a free consultation if you or someone you care about has suffered these types of injuries.