The recent developments of cycleways in Lower Hutt are producing the predictable backlash from the local motorists, On 11 March 2021 Victor Ward of Lower Hutt wrote a letter to the Dominion Post arguing that cyclists should have to pay the cost of constructing cyclepaths.
I wrote a letter which was not published but then irony of that sort is seldom appreciated in mass madia. Here, however, is my letter as a blog post.
Victor Ward raises the principle of user pays to fund cycleways. This is an idea which is worthy of further consideration. Victor Ward will be aware of other groups of road users, principally pedestrians, who use the footpath, which is as expensive as a cycleway to construct and maintain. These pedestrians, like cyclists, do not pay for their use of the footpath. Isn’t it about time we explored how they could contribute? At the same time, we would want to include the other users of footpaths, wheelchair users, scooter riders and infants in prams and pushchairs. Then there are mountain-bike trails and bush walks, where mountain-bikers and trampers are using council funded facilities for free.
While a levy on wheels and tyres would cover wheeled users, taxing footwear has difficulties, as some pedestrians walk barefoot, while most motorists wear shoes and are already paying for the roads. Nevertheless, some means of enforcing user pays across all transport users is only fair to the long suffering motorist.
There are good responses in the DomPost of 12th March. Read those too