Gerald Makovsky (April 12 Letter to the Editor), and other motorists who think cyclists are getting a free ride, clearly don’t understand our transportation system budgets. A survey by Idaho Walk Bike Alliance found that 96 percent of bicyclists on Idaho roads own a motor vehicle, and thereby pay license and registration fees. Most cyclists pay property taxes (directly as homeowners or indirectly as renters) thereby contributing to general fees that fund county highway districts. Cyclists also pay sales and income taxes (general funds, which are increasingly being diverted to pay for roads because gas taxes are insufficiently low).
And because road wear caused by bicycles is drastically less than that of cars, bicyclists are actually subsidizing motorists. So thank a cyclist when you pass them by. We can’t continue to widen roads, as Mr. Makovsky wishes. That leads to induced demand and loss of open space. Healthy transportation systems must include alternatives to the automobile, such as reliable mass transit and safe and enjoyable bicycle and pedestrian facilities. Thankfully, Mayor Bieter and the city of Boise are catching up to speed on this. We can’t let the suburban model of the past slow us down.
David Guiotto, Boise