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The taxpayers on two wheels

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Hardly a year goes by here at Opinion Page HQ without hearing from a reader perturbed over the fact that people ride bicycles. They are angry that they in their liquid-fueled automobile, using their tax-supported roadway, must share space with people on self-powered two-wheel vehicles.

The reasons for this anger vary, but usually the automobile driver recently has experienced some inconvenience. At some point they have not been able to drive as quickly as they would like, because someone on a bicycle was in the way. Their anger is injected into a tax policy debate. Why, they ask, should bicycles be allowed on roadways meant for automobiles? Why are bicycles ridden by people who do not pay gasoline taxes allowed to block the progress of people who do? Gasoline taxes are fees paid by the users of internal combustion engines. Bicyclists don’t pay for gasoline, and so don’t pay the user fee, and so don’t deserve space on roadways financed by a tax they don’t pay. It’s not fair.

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