Cyclists should be rewarded

Editor: Re: No reason bikes should get a free ride, letter to the editor, Aug. 2 I thought I had heard it all when a complaint about air traffic noise took whininess to a whole new realm, but sadly, the outrageous letter from R.D. Grant has trumped that grumble.

As an avid cyclist and, yes, a car owner, Grant's complaints have really hit a nerve because of the ludicrous suggestion that cyclists should start paying to ride their bicycles.

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The notion that cyclists should pay a licence fee must surely come from the fact bikes cause so much damage to the roads that this fee will offset the costs of repair. No? That's not it? Well then, it must be because cyclists do not pay taxes that go towards our infrastructure that includes

transit and bike lanes. Hmm, I seem to remember paying my property tax and my gas tax when I drive my car, so that can't be it.

Maybe it's because cycling is an inherently unhealthy activity that contributes to our rising health care costs. Wrong again.

For every cyclist who is on the road, there is one less car belching toxic fumes into the air, dripping oil on the roads and posing a threat to our children playing on the street. For every cyclist who commutes to work, there is one less car causing a traffic jam and damage to our roads.

For every cyclist who is out there engaging in exercise, there is one fewer patient in the hospital using up our system's dollars for preventable surgeries and unnecessary medicines due to poor fitness. For every person out there on his or her bike, there is one more role model for our increasingly sedentary youth. I propose a more sensible solution: for every person who can prove that he or she cycles to work, the government should provide a bursary towards their cycling maintenance and clothing, and all cyclists should get a free ride on transit - all paid for by the couch potatoes who can't be bothered to get out of their gas guzzlers, despite the damage it does to our roads, our air and our health.

Not only will this promote a healthier lifestyle, but it will get more cars off the road, and in the long run will save the citizens of Metro Vancouver money. Wouldn't it be great if Delta took the lead on this?

T. Lupton

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