The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

95° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Bike tax necessary to save lives

If you ever feel like toeing the line of death, you could go sky diving, bungee jumping or — if you’re in Tucson — just ride your bicycle. It’s dangerous everywhere, and improvements in bike safety are a must for this big city with a small-town feel.

The Tucson-Pima County Bicycle Advisory Committee is working on a possible bicycle sales tax as low as $4 for every new bicycle purchase. The money would go toward the City of Tucson’s Bicycle Program, which promotes bike safety education and outreach in the community.

It’s been done in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with enough success to bring in more than a cool $2 million. Chances are you spent $4 today on a single coffee at Starbucks , so this new tax isn’t a financial stretch for most and hopefully will get passed.

The truth of the matter is that many people on bikes don’t quite follow the rules provided to them, treating them as suggestion rather than mandated law. Most cyclists don’t fully stop at stop signs, many swerve in and out of traffic and some don’t even use crosswalks. This would all be fine — if cars didn’t exist.

Sure, most people don’t get into serious accidents. But the unfortunate reality is that some do, usually out of neglect and carelessness. What’s worse is that the lives of innocent people are risked by the careless actions of others. Some drivers don’t understand the movement of cyclists, and aren’t necessarily on their toes all the time.

According to, 22.9 percent of crashes are caused by right-turning vehicle/wrong way cyclists; 13.4 percent of crashes are left hook crashes and 12.6 percent are right hook crashes. Grant Road and Alvernon Road is the worst intersection for crashes.

Even though motorists on main roads are supposed to give a bicyclist five feet of space, it’s still extremely unsafe, as some drivers are distracted, don’t give a full five feet or don’t really have safety of the cyclists at the top of their agendas.

We absolutely need the tax that BAC is proposing. It doesn’t cost much, and the safety classes it would fund are crucial for teaching our community how to safely get from Point A to Point B on a bike.

It’s possible that if we embrace taxes that fund public safety, we could see more bike paths like the walk/bike path at Brandi Fenton Memorial Park that stretches from Dodge Boulevard past Campbell Avenue. That path is as safe as it gets.

From crosswalks to empty streets, both during the day and especially at night, riding a bike is very dangerous. Until we have bike-specific paths linking all of Tucson, one should do all he or she can to ensure safety in our community. Having the BAC charge a few dollars with every new bike purchase will go a long way toward saving more lives — and that’s well worth the cost.

Follow Daniel Geffre on Twitter.

More to Discover
Activate Search