Do Cyclists Pay for Roads? Sure They Do!

14118121_sOccasionally, a non-cyclist will bring up fuel and excise tax as the reason they have more right to the road than a person operating a bicycle. However, these people are often not considering several facts.

 

First of all, they are way overestimating the share of road spending covered by these taxes. In NC it is only 46%. This barely covers the cost of interstates and highways that cyclists rarely and often aren’t allowed to use. The other 54% is covered by general taxation, which everyone pays.

 

Income taxes, paid by individuals, account for about 46% of all tax revenues. U.S. cyclists who bike frequently had a median income of almost $60,000 in 2005 compared to $32,000, (the overall median personal income for all individuals over the age of 25). If they happened to fall within the same same tax bracket, the average cyclist still contributed over 81% more, in income taxes, than the average U.S. citizen. However, in the event one of them was not married and and filed individually, he paid 25% in taxes instead of 15%. Even if the average individual making $33k was not married, he still contributed less than the average married cyclist paying 15%.

 

Payroll taxes paid jointly by workers and employers, accounting for 32 percent. These are taxes paid out based on an employees salary. An employee making $60k accounts for more payroll taxes than an employee making $33k.

 

Corporate income taxes make up 13%. The National Bicycle Dealer Association reported, in 2010, the US bicycle industry is a $5.6 billion industry. In 2005, 19.8 million bicycles were sold in the U.S., 4.4 million more than all the cars and trucks purchased in the U.S. that year. The bicycle industry is estimated to support 1.1 million jobs, generate nearly $18 billion in federal, state, and local taxes, and contribute $133 billion annually to the U.S. economy.

 

So just because a person rides a bike sometimes, does not mean he doesn’t pay taxes. In fact, he probably even pays more in taxes than the non-cyclist and has just as much right to use the road. Additionally, when he uses his bicycle instead of driving his car, he saves society an estimated $1 per mile through reduced pollution, traffic congestion, parking issues, and auto-accidents.

 

Cycle on my brothers and sisters and make the world a better place ONE PEDAL STROKE AT A TIME!

-ephillips

Sources:

Gasoline Taxes and Tolls Pay for Only a Third of State & Local Road Spending
http://taxfoundation.org/article/gasoline-taxes-and-tolls-pay-only-third-state-local-road-spending

Federal Revenue: Where Does the Money Come From
https://www.nationalpriorities.org/budget-basics/federal-budget-101/revenues/

2005 Tax Brackets
https://www.libertytax.com/help-with-taxes-and-forms/irs-tax-forms-publications/2005-federal-income-tax-rates/

People for Bikes
http://www.peopleforbikes.org/statistics