Cyclists sound off on proposed $25 bike fee

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by HEATHER GRAF / KING 5 News and Associated Press

NWCN.com

Posted on February 20, 2013 at 7:40 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 20 at 7:42 PM

A $25 bike fee included in the transportation revenue package announced Wednesday in Olympia is not sitting well among local cyclists.

The proposal, announced by House Democrats, would raise $9.8 billion over the next decade.  The bike fee is just a small part of that plan, but it's quickly caught the attention of cycling advocates.

"We're deeply concerned by that. We think it's going to be a burden on hardworking business owners," said Evan Manvel with the Cascade Bicycle Club.  "We also think it's going to create a bunch of red tape and cost more to administer than it will bring in."

The proposal now on the table would require everyone who buys a bike for more than $500 to pay the $25 fee.

"Owning a bike is expensive, especially a commuting bike.  It wears out quite quickly, and they're already dumping lots of costs into a bike, so this added fee - yeah it won't make commuters super excited," said Buck Hazard, who owns Wrench Bicycle Workshop on Dexter Avenue.

He and co-owner Greg Mackenzie are both avid cyclists.  They also make their living repairing bikes.

"It's already hard to be competitive as a bike shop, and then you add a $25 fee on top of that," said Mackenzie.  "It's frustrating."

That's why Cascade Bicycle Club is already planning to fight the proposal. 

The club has lobbyists in Olympia and will make sure cyclists' voices are heard as the proposal moves forward.

"We certainly plan to have constructive conversations with people in the legislature, try to see what the options are and keep the dialog going," said Manvel.

They might be more understanding of a fee if the money were being used to make roads in Washington more friendly, but Manvel says that's not the case.

"The other issue is where the money is going, and it's mainly going to big highway expansions, and that's a problem," he said.

The transportation revenue package that includes the bike fee was introduced by Representative Judy Clibborn of Mercer Island, who chairs the House Transportation Committee.

What do you think of the proposed $25 bicycle fee? Join the conversation on our Facebook page.

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