Trib editorial: Question PennDOT’s free ride for cyclists
The online survey PennDOT’s using to gather input for updating its Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan offers little opportunity to question what seems to be the agency’s underlying assumption: Like it or not, Pennsylvania will be getting more bike lanes, but no revenue from — or greater accountability for — their users.
Only an “anything you’d like to add” box allows survey participants to challenge PennDOT’s assumption, which underlies the master plan, too. The agency says it will “identify and help prioritize strategies that increase the number of people … bicycling.”
So, motorists, expect even more of the dollars you spend on license and registration fees and one of the nation’s highest state gasoline taxes to fund even more bicycle-centric infrastructure you won’t use — while cyclists’ free ride continues.
Licensing, insurance and registration requirements for bicycles and their riders would end those free rides — and help police enforce traffic laws that too many cyclists have gotten away with violating for too long. That would help even things out between motorists and cyclists in terms of who’s paying the infrastructure bills and legal accountability. But PennDOT apparently prefers more of the unquestioned status quo.
Even this survey’s timing — in the midst of a hard winter that’s producing a bumper crop of potholes that ought to be PennDOT’s top priority of the moment — should be questioned. Remember that, too, when you get to the survey’s “anything you’d like to add” box.