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Readers React:  No free rides for cyclists

(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: I hadn’t given much thought to the issue before, but you’re totally right, and your logic is irrefutable. (“Pedalers should pay too,” Column, Sept. 24)

Anyone who uses the roads should pay. Anyone who wants the roads improved for their benefit should pay. So there should surely be a tax on bicyclists.

And wheelchairs, of course. There should be also be a tax on pedestrians, obviously, and runners (a wealthier class of pedestrians). The runners in particular should pay, because I once had to detour around a footrace that was taking place on a public road.

But ordinary pedestrians should pay too, because they want things like sidewalks and crosswalks, not to mention special walk/don’t walk signals (and those things don’t come cheap, believe me).

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Sure, it’s true that a lot of pedestrians also drive cars. Some of them even combine the modalities: driving somewhere, then getting out and walking. But still. Not all drivers get out of their cars (that’s why God made drive-throughs), and there is no reason for true drivers to subsidize the turncoats.

Take awhile to cool down from your road rage (and yes, I would have been upset too) and see if you can come up with a more coherent argument for who, exactly, should pay for our transportation net.

Barry Carlton, El Cajon

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To the editor: Boy, George Skelton is right on. All those bicycle riders should be paying to ride on public roads. But what about those pesky skateboarders? I’ve seen them use their boards on streets and sidewalks! All skateboarders should be required to pay a registration fee also, then we could fix the sidewalks damaged by the city trees.

Glenn Zweifel, Mar Vista

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To the editor: As a cyclist, I’m not necessarily opposed to paying a little something into the fund for road maintenance, etc., but I could also make the argument that as a motorist too, I’m already paying through the gasoline tax and vehicle registration.

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If I commute by bicycle instead of car, I don’t wear out the roads as much as when I’m driving, so maybe I should get a rebate for commuting?

John Lenkeit, San Pedro

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To the editor: Instead of being annoyed at cyclists, Skelton and every other driver should look at me on my bicycle and thank me because one less car is on the road. I am not a threat. I use marked bike lanes whenever I can. I give hand signals to indicate my intentions. I attend to traffic signals. I observe right-of-way rules as rigidly as a Google driverless car. I thank courteous drivers. I just want to be able to bicycle without being run over. Meanwhile, drivers veer into bike lanes and fail to stop for crosswalks and bike lanes are full of potholes and cracks.

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If someone can promise improvements to both bicycling conditions and attitudes toward bicycle commuters, tell me where to send my $15 annual fee.

Margaret Gatz, Los Angeles

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To the editor: As a cyclist who has been commuting to work from Studio City to Beverly Hills for the last 10 years, I have some insight. The biggest danger I face on my commute is potholes; the second is texting drivers.

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Instead of trying to make cyclists pay some registration fee that will probably cost more to enforce than it is worth, why not have a dedicated group of police officers giving tickets to texting drivers, paid by credit card right on the spot.

There would be more than enough money to fix the roads.

Bill Toth, Studio City

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