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Negative toll for bicyclists

Crank a wheel and earn a bun
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Recently, a Netherlands highway authority donated a bike (worth about 1.000€) to each of about 2.500 automobilists who where clogging the busy roads every morning, as documented by the highway video observation system. Their reason was to avoid the cost for adding a third lane to the existing highway.

In Cologne they are building a new metro line which up to now is 14 years delayed, incurred cost of about €1.15 billion and will have an estimated passenger volume of 2.500/day. Wouldn't it be nice if they had given a small part of the money to the bikers instead?

Here is the proposal: each bicyclist gets paid by the state for each mile they travel. The actual distance can be measured with either a RFID chip on the bike and transponder stations at various strategic points in the city, or by a smartphone app which sends GPS data to a central server, or a combination of both. The money comes from the budgets for building new infrastructure like roads, bridges and public transport, and health insurance companies should also embrace and sponsor the idea.

Try it first in a medium-sized city on a flat terrain. Be prepared to close some roads for cars, as bicyclists will take over.

Toto Anders, May 26 2015

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       hmm, just make bike share systems super cheap. Then the absolute number of bikes stays in check.
bs0u0155, May 26 2015
  

       Places that instate this system should deduct hours spent pedalling around and then showering and changing at work against the total state mandated paid vacation hours. I am aware that the shower /change time might not be necessary in some countries.
bungston, May 26 2015
  

       @bungston: I don't understand your rationale. If they are having fun doing a good thing they have to be punished for it? Driving to work has to be a bore lest it is unfair?
Toto Anders, May 26 2015
  

       // deduct hours spent pedalling around and then showering and changing at work//   

       You forgot the hours of smug conversation about how much better they feel, the general cycling proselytizing, the nerdy talk about the new titanium Brompton, fielding questions about which group of cyclists it is that run red lights and feeling inferior to those that cycle in only as training for their Ironman triathalons.
bs0u0155, May 26 2015
  

       @Bungston- I don't know how your office does it, but I put in my work day from the time I get back to my desk after the shower to the time I leave it to get changed for the ride home. I don't see why what I do on my own time should affect my vacation.   

       @bs0- We can spend the time talking about bikes or about Nascar, not sure what difference it makes.
MechE, May 26 2015
  

       Paying people to not do something (drive) is a bad idea. They don't have to ride a bike to not drive. Other options exist.
cudgel, May 26 2015
  

       I approve +
xenzag, May 26 2015
  

       "Tax the rat farms ..."
8th of 7, May 26 2015
  

       ^.
FlyingToaster, May 26 2015
  

       Actually, this should not be necessary. If the gas tax (or a per mile, per vehicle size tax) is set correctly and used for building/maintaining roads, then the more people drive, the more money there is for building and maintaining roads. If more people switch to bikes, there will be less funds. If too many people switch to bikes, there might need to be a bike tax to pay for expansion of bike lanes, but for now we'll give those to the cyclists for free since it would be too complicated to implement a tax.   

       The tricky part with a public road system is striking the right balance between different people's needs. That will be very much affected by what each person's time is worth to them, plus a lot of other personal factors like risk tolerance.
scad mientist, May 26 2015
  

       //We can spend the time talking about bikes or about Nascar, not sure what difference it makes.//   

       Bikes please, I've just got a brand new Brookes leather saddle. Now, how do I go about accelerating the process of getting a nice patina on it? It's far too shiny as it is.
bs0u0155, May 26 2015
  

       // Now, how do I go about accelerating the process of getting a nice patina on it? //   

       Just ride it for 12 hours a day instead of 1. Also, apply lots of saddle soap and rain water. And as soon as you are beginning to feel comfortable (after 100 hours or so) buy another one for your second bike - or you will have to constantly switch saddles, as I do.
Toto Anders, May 26 2015
  

       / Now, how do I go about accelerating the process of getting a nice patina on it/   

       You could leave the bike shorts at home.
bungston, May 26 2015
  

       wait; maybe I misunderstand what "patina" is. I thought patinas were shiny.
bungston, May 26 2015
  

       // leave the bike shorts at home //   

       That's a truly disgusting image ....
8th of 7, May 26 2015
  

       //Just ride it for 12 hours a day instead of 1//   

       There are people who ride an hour a day? Wow, I might get to use all 3 speeds if I rode that much. What I don't understand is that once I reach work, after about 6 mins, do I just sort of ride around for another 54 mins?
bs0u0155, May 26 2015
  

       I already saved tons of money & felt better when I was bike- commuting. A few extra dollars wouldn't have been any motivator.   

       What did bug me was how most people assumed I was powerless, and biked just because I had to.   

       It's rather like racism. Even though 99% of the people are nice, you still tend to bump into 1 person per day who will disrespect you. On a bike, this can mean threatening your life by taking your lane or opening a door. The good 99% of people don't know what prejudice you're experiencing because they aren't doing it, but it's still an every day occurrence.   

       So, we don't need monetary incentives. We need cultural changes. How can we make bikers look powerful?
sophocles, May 26 2015
  

       Lasers. Actually, what I do (and I commute to work through very heavy traffic) is I have a 115dB airhorn to surprise pedestrians and motorists with. It can be pressurised with a normal bicycle pump.
hippo, May 27 2015
  

       I need one of those [hippo]. Being an avid bike rider I would love to get paid for what I love to do. And I agree to what [sophocles] said too. Culture in the US and other places, needs to change drastically. People think I'm penny poor because I ride my bike on the weekend. Oh wait...
blissmiss, May 27 2015
  

       ([blissmiss] The brand name is "Airzound")
hippo, May 27 2015
  

       /How can we make bikers look powerful?/   

       I am thinking the patina-enhanicng maneuver I suggested above may be at cross-purposes here. Empowered, perhaps?   

       Being disrespectful is what I am up to with these posts, sniggering all the while. Tittering, even.   

       But I think the issue with US car drivers is not disrespect but lack of driving skills. I would stand at a distance from some of these folks while they poured coffee. It is bad enough to share the road while armored in my behemoth. Entrusting my tender flesh to the attentiveness and good judgement of random drivers is terrifying.
bungston, May 27 2015
  

       /How can we make bikers look powerful?/   

       A heavy duty rear rack is capable of carrying a single use light anti-tank weapon.   

       Not that I'm making recommendations or anything.
MechE, May 27 2015
  

       //Raise fuel taxes (slowly). This will prioritise transport where its needed, and remove pointless travel and shipping from one side of the planet to the other//   

       SOME tax on ship and aircraft fuel would be a phenomenal start. Unfortunately, early adopters would see their trade suffer, and flight hubs would shift so that only short hops with double fuel on board would land in taxed countries. I think it would take a huge trading block, say EU+US+China to agree on a tax before other countries followed because they'd be missing out.
bs0u0155, May 28 2015
  
      
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