No more 'free rides': Colorado lawmaker proposes bicycle tax

Posted at 10:11 PM, Jul 19, 2017

DENVER -- Bicycles and cars have always had to "share the road." Soon they could have to share the cost of the road in Colorado.

A state senator from Grand Junction has thrown his support behind a bicycle tax after Oregon passed one as part of its latest transportation funding bill.

The Oregon tax charges $15 for every new adult bike purchased over the cost of $200. Senator Ray Scott followed that announcement with a tweet and Facebook post that suggested bringing a similar tax to Colorado. 

"Maybe it should be a license plate? What do you think? Sen. Ray Scott calls for a tax on bicycles," he tweeted along with a link to an article on the issue. 

Denver7 took the idea to the streets. 

"I don't know if the government has any business meddling in my pedaling," rider Kurt Kelsey said.

"I don't see the need for something additional just because we use the road too," Mike Stejskal of Turin Bicycles commented. 

"It's important that everyone shares in the transportation costs," countered a small business owner along South Broadway, where new bike lanes have been installed.

So what would the big deal be over $15?

"I would say it would complicate my business," Stejskal said.

It might not stop the sale of bikes, including many that top out over $3,000. The concern is that its another reason that someone might think twice about their purchase, or additional purchases for cycling.

"It's just another point to create a question of whether they want to make that expenditure," the bike shop's co-manager said.

Ultimately, a majority of riders Denver7 spoke with said it all depends where the tax money would go. 

"If it's being used for bicyclists, bicycle safety, programs for bikes, absolutely I'll pay the $15," Ryan Gorby said. 

Oregon's law does earmark the bicycle tax money for things like bike lanes.

Denver7 made multiple attempts to reach Senator Ray Scott for details on his idea's for Colorado's bike tax, but our calls were not returned. He did not include any details to his "license plate" plans on social media.