When drivers get mad about a little bike box or a couple bike lanes, show them this map. Your taxes pay for these roads, but you are not allowed to ride your bike on any of them. In fact, it’s a $124 fine if you do, according to the P.I. (I made the map using the P.I.’s data). That’s 140 miles of the most expensive roads in the area, all off-limits to the cyclists who helped pay for them.
View Where bikes can’t go in a larger map
When a bike lane goes in, it is typically a mere five feet wide. I would prefer larger or with buffer space, but five feet is what we usually get (Note to angry drivers: That is already a compromise on our part). Cars are still allowed on the road, and in almost every case, car capacity is preserved.
Seattle’s bike projects are going in on roads that are paid almost entirely by general taxes we all pay, according to Josh at Publicola. Gas taxes only make up 4 percent of SDOT’s funds (and only 0.44 percent of SDOT’s paving expenditures are paid by gas taxes). The rest are from property taxes, sales tax, grants, etc.
Gas taxes do pay for about 28 percent of WSDOT’s budget, but that’s not enough to pay for all these highways. Where does the rest come from? Everyone, of course.
My point is not that bikes need to be allowed on I-5, and true, cars are not allowed on bike trails. But the money and space dedicated to cars is so clearly unequal. You see how ridiculous people are when they suggest bikes don’t pay for roads and, therefore, should not get even tiny little five-foot slivers of it so they can get around a little more safely. We’re really not asking for that much, especially in comparison.