It's time for an excise tax on Bikes.

Other States are implementing them on sales of bikes over $499. A 10% sales tax should add a few million to the coffers and offset some of the cost of adding bike lanes. There should be no more free rides seeing the significant costs that motorist are bearing (gas tax, tolls, insurance, excise tax, and sales tax)and the moderate fare increases that Public Transportation riders are experiencing. It’s time for the bicyclist commuter to contribute.

6 replies on “It's time for an excise tax on Bikes.”

  1. Hey PJ,

    I don’t support this.

    People already do pay sales taxes on bicycles.

    Cyclists and pedestrians don’t give the wear and tear to roads that cars and trucks so.

    I also would oppose a tax on jogging shoes.



  2. Will,
    Where does the money come from for those non motorized corridors on Concord Ave? If we weren’t spending millions on “bike safety” modifications to roads across the commonwealth then I would agree that wear and tear is minimal and not worth implementing an excise tax. Oregon and Washington State are ahead of the curve in discussing sharing the use and cost of Roads in an equitable way. A $499 bike purchase threshold to trigger the tax would eliminate most kids bikes and if the money is allocated to “bike safety” what’s the harm.

    I don’t believe those corridors are supposed to be used by Pedestrians but if you have a $499 threshold on jogging shoes to trigger the tax then the shoes better have gold laces and those buying them can well afford it 😉

  3. Fair point — there are some cyclist accommodations that are costly. I tend to support doing those without charge to cyclists because we want to encourage people to get out of their cars — good for them, good for traffic congestion, good for the environment. For all of the same reasons, I also support continuing to provide sidewalks free of charge to pedestrians. 😉

  4. Cyclists are already doing motorists a huge favor by not driving
    their cars, not clogging traffic, not contributing significantly to
    air pollution and global warming, not exacerbating the obesity
    epidemic, lowering medical costs by doing something positive for their
    health (assuming they ride safely!) etc!!
    So I favor encouraging bicycle use as much as possible and
    not ensnaring it in bureaucratic machinery (which would itself be
    costly!) of excise taxation. Let’s keep the good wholesome things
    in life simple and free!

  5. Paul,

    Why the cut off for bikes under $499? Also, would you build in an inflation adjustment? Government always makes the mistake of setting a price cut off which years later becomes absurd (see the alternative minimum tax).

    Anyway, all this will do is push people to go buy their bikes in NH. Further, I already pay road taxes for the gasoline I use in my lawnmower, snowblower, generator, etc and I’m sure that covers the amount of wear and tear my bike (which I ride about 4000 miles per year) incurs on the roads.

    From an engineering standpoint, the damage incurred by a vehicle on a road goes up as some exponent (I believe ^3) to the weight of the vehicle. Since my bike and I are a combined 200lbs, the result is inconsequential.

    I don’t support the state subsidizing special road construction for bikes. IIRC, the Minuteman Bikeway was mostly funded through private donations and, besides, serious cyclists barely use it.

  6. I should also note that I do ride my bike to work about once per week when the weather is good. If I weren’t riding to work, I’d be driving my car. Other than gas taxes, the taxes I pay to be allowed to drive it on public ways doesn’t go down when I don’t drive it. I’m willing to bet most other cyclists are in a similar situation.

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