Yes actually I do own the road

What really pisses off drivers is when we cyclists ride like they own the road. There’s a reason for it though, we pretty much do actually own the road. So why do they crap on so much like they own it?

Things Like, I Pay My Taxes

Yeah yeah yeah, tell me again about your taxes. This is a fave rave for car drivers. The fact they actually pay for petrol, and there’s a tax on that petrol, means they own the roads, or at least the ones they drive on. Cyclists don’t buy petrol and therefore shouldn’t be on the goddamned roads they didn’t bloody pay for.

This argument is so pathetic and demonstrably untrue, I’m not even going to bother googling that shit to find you the figures. I’ve printed them myself somewhere in these columns but it’s not like showing these kind of people proof of something is going to convince them.  You know, something like 90-odd percent of climate scientists are behind the science that says we’re heating up this planet yet still half the government can’t believe it.  Generations of children have been taught that a fat man slides down their chimney to give them presents and yet they’ve never risen up against the tyranny of these lies! Cartards aren’t going to believe a bunch of figures just because they’re true, so why go all cry baby about reciting them?

Children are smarter than car drivers. If you told a child that texting while operating dangerous machinery might result in someone’s death they’d probably ask, “What’s dangerous machinery?” After you explained that concept they’d be on your case all the time. “Daddy, you shouldn’t be texting. You’re operating a dangerous mashininary.”

The real point about taxes is you don’t pay for a specific thing with your tax dollars. Okay, well that’s not totally true. The petrol excise is put aside specifically for building roads. The excise is for “additional productivity-enhancing road infrastructure projects.” (I put it in quotes because the government said it, not me.) Note the word, additional. Most of the roads you and I drive/ride/weave drunkenly on are paid for out of normal taxes. “Additional productivity-enhancing road infrastructure projects” means the excise is a giant pot of money our leaders can use to deliver largess to states and marginal constituents who cooperate with his/her vision. “Productivity-enhancing” means our government is still hooked on the old Keynesian notions they pretend to disbelieve of priming the economy.  (Except now they prime the living crap out of the economy when it’s booming, because they can afford to, and declare a “budget emergency” when there’s a downturn. Pretty much the opposite of Keynesian economics and/or common sense.) “Productivity-enhancing” also means they believe that more roads will get more people about town more quickly, even when you have a report you commissioned that says the opposite, a report so damning you refused to release it but released instead one you bodged up with loads of hidden costs.

Several billion dollars spent on roads is a great way to employ a couple thousand people. It’s crude but effective. Most people would consider this poor returns for the money  but most people don’t understand that getting re-elected has fuck-all to do with spending our money wisely.

All this begs the question, if the roads we use most often, the suburban roads, aren’t paid for by petrol dollars, then just where does that money come from? Well, from general taxes of course. The taxes anyone pays regardless of whether they use the roads or not. I pay GST, company tax and personal tax. I’m paying a lot of tax people! And I’ll ride my bike any fucking place I want.

If paying taxes on something meant you owned that something then I’d own myself a brewery or two by now.

Apart from my vitriolic and immature response to the morons who claim to own public spaces, there’s something else going on here. Paying a tax for something doesn’t mean you own that something. Never will. It is a public asset owned by all people regardless of whether they pay the top tax rate or are getting by on the dole. That’s what it means to be part of a democracy. (If you don’t like it, find yourself a flourishing autocracy that wants to take you on.) The tax on spirits is something like $0.40 to the dollar. If paying taxes on something meant you owned that something then I’d own myself a brewery or two by now. You’d open the Financial Review to see investment advice along the lines of two pizza and a couple six packs in front of the football Friday night.

I Ride Therefore I Am

I ride and therefore I am entitled to break all your pathetic little laws. So there. Road laws aren’t road laws, they’re car and truck laws. Most of them don’t apply to bicycles, will never protect us and don’t work. Ever failed to trigger the coil in the road at traffic lights? What do you do? Sit and wait for a car? Fuck that. Proceed when ready.

Cars are dangerous and erratic and cartards almost never follow the same rules they want cyclists to follow. So I snuck across an intersection yesterday? The car coming the other direction turned without indicating. We’re even. Cartards complaining about cyclists is like me complaining how wife wife ate the last biscuit. It was me that ate every other biscuit. (I always leave the last biscuit or piece of cake. That way my wife can never say I ate all of it. She might say I ate a lot of it, but then you have to define “a lot”, and I can tie her up in semantic nonsense until she forgets the point of the argument. It’s politics applied at a family level.)

Road laws don’t apply to cyclists and therefore they should be followed advisedly. When they’re safe and/or within our interests, road laws can be used to our advantage. Just don’t take those rights for granted. Some other turd will run you down. I tend to obey laws when it’s advantageous to do so, not plainly dangerous, or I’m not already pissed off about something else some other cartard did to me.

Here’s Why I Actually Own The Road

We’re paying equally for the roads right? Yet who is hogging them? The cars and trucks. They’re big and awkward and they take up loads of space. The Gold Coast Highway is two lanes either way. Convert a quarter of the road users into cyclists and you could halve the size of that road. And still move more people. Cyclists are paying for roads equally and yet we’re not using them equally. So if I get a little creative with how I use my roads, it’s only because I have the right. I’m redressing the imbalance. Just balancing the ledger a little.

Heavy vehicles damage roads. Cars and trucks damage roads and bicycles do bugger all. And that aint fair for cyclists. You know when you’re at a restaurant and you all eat roughly equal? Someone had some wine but you (being a cyclist) ate two serves of everything. It’s close enough to call equal so you divvy the bill up equally. But if you’ve eaten already and you join them for dessert you might just throw in money for dessert. Well it doesn’t work like that with roads. The only way to get value from roads is to use them like you own them.

If you account for the amount of space cars and trucks are taking up, then for the damage heavy vehicles do to roads, then cyclists are paying unequally for roads. Paying an equal amount of tax but receiving unequal use is, by the cartard’s own logic, unfair. Another way of looking at it is that cartards have spent their road money, by the space they take up and the constant repairs roads require. We cyclists on the other hand have just banked our investment in roads and by now we pretty much own them, we just let cars drive on them. So they should learn to be more grateful, shut their annoying little  pie-holes, and watch as we ride the roads like we bloody well own them.

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