Wednesday, September 5, 2007

"The Spokesmen" Discuss Cyclist Taxes, Rights

I was listening to the Spokesmen Cycling Roundtable Podcast today, and they were chatting about round-table-member Carlton Reid's recent trip to the Netherlands. He naturally gushed about how great it was to cycle somewhere that has a proper cycling infrastructure set up, and how could he not.

David Bernstein, the moderator and producer of the show, asked Carlton if he knew how the infrastructure was funded, and Carlton said it was just part of the normal tax structure - there was nothing special or extra for cyclists because everyone benefits from having fewer cars on the roads and the like (all the stuff we talk about every day).

And they (and their fellow spokesman, Interbike's Rich Kelly) had a great discussion about taxation of cyclists and why it wasn't justified.

One great thing I heard was the existence of the European Union's Fifth Motor Directive (PDF File), which states that in the case of a motorist/cyclist or motorist/pedestrian accident, the motorist is ALWAYS considered to be at fault due to their responsibility as the operator of a much larger and more dangerous vehicle. Here's the text of the law:
Personal injuries and damage to property suffered by pedestrians, cyclists and other non-motorised users of the road, who are usually the weakest party in an accident, should be covered by the compulsory insurance of the vehicle involved in the accident where they are entitled to compensation under national civil law. This provision does not prejudge the civil liability or the level of awards for damages in a specific accident, under national legislation.
I like it. Not sure how it'd work over here in our much more litigious society, but I like the idea a lot.

I recommend listening to this podcast - it's about an hour long, and there's a lot of industry talk at the beginning, but it's well worth the wait to hear the discussion from the point of view from the USA and also Great Britain via Carlton Reid.

Check it out: the Spokesmen.

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