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Bush Signs Bill Encouraging Bike Commuting

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Ride to work and get paid for it!

Courtesy of SportsOneSource Media

Employers may begin reimbursing employees tax-free for bike commuting costs starting Jan. 1, 2009 under a transportation bill signed by President Bush Oct. 3 .

After seven years of legislative proposals, the bicycle commuter tax benefit has finally become law. The benefit is among the provisions of the Transportation and Housing Choices for Gas Price Relief Act of 2008 that aims to encourage alternative modes of transportation to reduce automotive use. The bill passed both the U.S. House and Senate in early October, and President Bush added his signature on Oct. 3.

The legislation amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow employers to give employees who commute by bike a monthly tax-free stipend of $20 or less. This benefit is modeled after the federal vanpool and transit commuter tax benefit, according to a report by the bicycling advocacy group Bikes Belong.
Bikes Belong thanked Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and other members of Congress who worked to advance this legislation, as well as all the devoted bicycle advocates who helped promote it.
post #2 of 26
Heh.

$20 a month to put my life in danger 'coz they won't pay for trails.
post #3 of 26

Bush opens National Parks to mountain bikes

I dunno, maybe this is a good thing?
post #4 of 26
I hope Ridley Creek will open up.
post #5 of 26
This would be great for me because so much of Yellowstone is only accessible by trails. Right now the only means to get around is on foot or horse. There isn't much population near Yellowstone and the flaky weather would keep it from becoming a mountain biker mecca so they probably won't have to worry about mountain bike causing much damage.

I can see parks like Yosemites resisting mountain bike access because the trails would be overran causing excess damage and erosion.
post #6 of 26
Ugh - bad idea at many of the big western parks. I can see the trails at Arches remaining off-limits (too crowded and lots of risk), as well as at Canyonlands, Zion, Capitol Reef and Bryce. This will need to be done on a park-by-park basis, but there's just a lot of critical mass in National Parks (they attract a lot of tourists, far more than National Forests and BLM lands) that would likely cause bad interactions between groups.

As far as Yellowstone is concerned, I basically agree on the erosion angle, but not on the population one: it's one of the more popular parks in the NPS system, and there are a lot of tourists who go there who aren't looking to dodge mountain bike riders - even the most docile of riders can really spook tourist hikers, horseback riders, and the like. And the cyclists will end up on the short end of the argument almost every single time, regardless of who was at fault.

So count me in with the naysayers who say "nay" on this one.
post #7 of 26
I've already brought up the subject with my employer's HR rep, and I should be getting my monthly $20 by December, if not sooner.

But I'm wondering how easily audited this will be: how easy is it to prove bike commuting? It's not like a transit pass, many of which are electronically tied to an account that tracks use. I can see some folks being "flexible" with their honesty in reporting bike commutes.

That said, in 2008, I've commuted to work by means other than bike 10 times. Four of those times were with my car, the others on bus or foot.
post #8 of 26
I have merged the two threads of the same title.
post #9 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by comprex View Post
Heh.

$20 a month to put my life in danger 'coz they won't pay for trails.
This just in:

"Bush administration signs $20 trillion dollar bill to build bike trails starting at Comprex's house to everywhere in the country."

Come on suck it up, cars are soft
post #10 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by songfta View Post
Ugh - bad idea at many of the big western parks. I can see the trails at Arches remaining off-limits (too crowded and lots of risk), as well as at Canyonlands, Zion, Capitol Reef and Bryce. This will need to be done on a park-by-park basis, but there's just a lot of critical mass in National Parks (they attract a lot of tourists, far more than National Forests and BLM lands) that would likely cause bad interactions between groups.

As far as Yellowstone is concerned, I basically agree on the erosion angle, but not on the population one: it's one of the more popular parks in the NPS system, and there are a lot of tourists who go there who aren't looking to dodge mountain bike riders - even the most docile of riders can really spook tourist hikers, horseback riders, and the like. And the cyclists will end up on the short end of the argument almost every single time, regardless of who was at fault.

So count me in with the naysayers who say "nay" on this one.
there arleady is bike able singletrack within yellowstone FYI, maybe this bill will open more.

As for a park like arches I doubt it would open the trails are mostly unrideable as well.

about spooking hikers, the only hiker I ever spook are those who wear headphones while hiking. After calling out rider or anything like that and them not moving I really dont feel bad when they jump as I pass near them on singletrack.
post #11 of 26
Why were these merged??

commuting & mountain biking are not the same topic.
post #12 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by WILDCAT View Post
Why were these merged??

commuting & mountain biking are not the same topic.
seems kinda of stupid to me as well.
post #13 of 26
wasn't it in the same bill? Perhaps the name of the thread could be changed ...

anyway, administrative stuff, who cares?

Not a bad development - but I think the safety thing cannot be underestimated. I know of two cases recently of folks I know - avid bicyclists in serious accidents. It's nice to pay lip service to this but lanes and trails are what's needed. And an awareness from drivers of course
post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevesmith7 View Post
Come on suck it up, cars are soft
Ya, that's the problem, I didn't ricochet last time.
post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by comprex View Post
Ya, that's the problem, I didn't ricochet last time.
I'm also concerned about safety while commuting. However, being overweight and sedentary is also a risk. Traveling in cars isn't exactly risk-free either.

I will now avoid congested roads. I'll drive part way to avoid the worst traffic and ride on bike paths and quiet residential streets and travel about 21 miles/day.

It's better than my old daily routine of 8-9 hours at a desk and 2 hours commuting in a car.

Cheers,

Michael
post #16 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by WILDCAT View Post
I'm also concerned about safety while commuting. However, being overweight and sedentary is also a risk. Traveling in cars isn't exactly risk-free either.

I will now avoid congested roads. I'll drive part way to avoid the worst traffic and ride on bike paths and quiet residential streets and travel about 21 miles/day.

It's better than my old daily routine of 8-9 hours at a desk and 2 hours commuting in a car.

Cheers,

Michael

The specific reference was to this:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...091803483.html

Where ostensibly the bike trail disturbs parkland but the highway itself doesn't. Right, sure.

Cycle politics is so chock full of NIMBYism, including:

Let Them Ride On The Street when its time to make trails (see above),
Get Them Off The Street when its time to drive behind them
http://www.thewashcycle.com/2008/09/...hur-boule.html
They Are Too Fast, Control Them or Make Them Ride on Streets when the Multi Use Trails get crowded:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...053102022.html

that it's absolutely mind-blowing how someone can expect a paltry amount like $20/month to have a significant effect.

I see this incentive as directly analogous to the old joke:

P1: Would you (name objectionable, degrading act) for $10 million?
P2: Well, maybe, yes.
P1: Cool. Give me five bucks' worth.
post #17 of 26
No argument. Our society has been auto oriented since Eisenhower.

Biking is treated as an act of defiance: it is feared and subverted.

I do think that $240 a year might promote a few conversions. Little do most people know that gearing up for commuting usually cost 4 times this once the clothes, safety gear & accessories are purchased.

Michael
post #18 of 26
I just came back from a week in Holland, and it was totally cool to see thousands of people commuting on their bikes. At night, instead of a big parking lot full of cars, the local bar would have about 100 bikes lined up in front of in multiple racks. I wish I had taken some photos.
post #19 of 26
Quote:
As far as Yellowstone is concerned, I basically agree on the erosion angle, but not on the population one: it's one of the more popular parks in the NPS system, and there are a lot of tourists who go there who aren't looking to dodge mountain bike riders - even the most docile of riders can really spook tourist hikers, horseback riders, and the like. And the cyclists will end up on the short end of the argument almost every single time, regardless of who was at fault.
Most tourists stick to the beaten path rarely venturing more than a mile or two off the road mostly to see the geysers. It would be ill-advised to allow mountain bikes on the trails with heavy foot traffic.

Only a very small portion of Yellowstone is seen by 97% of the tourists. The rest requires long hikes or horse rides to see. Allowing mountain bikes on some of the longer trails would allow more people to see rarely seen regions of the park.
post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rio View Post
Most tourists stick to the beaten path rarely venturing more than a mile or two off the road mostly to see the geysers. It would be ill-advised to allow mountain bikes on the trails with heavy foot traffic.

Only a very small portion of Yellowstone is seen by 97% of the tourists. The rest requires long hikes or horse rides to see. Allowing mountain bikes on some of the longer trails would allow more people to see rarely seen regions of the park.
Bikes were already allowed to ride roads in the national park including tours like white rim in Canyonlands NP. I think allowing parks to open appropriate trails to bikes is a great idea.
post #21 of 26
I think it's a good thing
post #22 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by wickedwheels View Post
I think it's a good thing
Which part and why? I could use some convincing.
post #23 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by comprex View Post
Which part and why? I could use some convincing.
20-30 mile hike = multiday backpacking trip and alot of blisters

20-30 mile bike ride is a 6hours at most and quite an easy day trip.

there are many trails in national parks which access on foot is just not possible for lots of people. horses are dirty erosions causing beast. and mountain bike are a clean mechanical mean of travel that happen to just be fun to ride.

also realize that this just give the local park management the ability to decide for themselves whether or not bike should be allowed on certain trails

I dont get the conflict between hikers at all. Generally on a bike we are searching trails that are much to long for most hikers to undertake. and the conflict with horses wouldnt be there if people trained their horses to not be spooked. generally western riders are much better than english riders. The main difference being western riders take responsibility for their action. ie my horse got spooked I should train it better. To an eastern rider which blames everything on everything else. My horse got spooked damn those mountain bikers.
post #24 of 26
Quote:
I dont get the conflict between hikers at all.
Difference makes prejudice.

<rant>

Pedestrians don't tend to deal well with the revelation that they are not in control. They are not in control because they are -slow- and even the slowest cyclist is 4-10 times faster than they are.

Pedestrians have been given extreme moral advantage over motorists. They now seek to assert it over other wheeled transport, on the same terms, without correcting their own lack of heed for rules of the road.

What? Rules of the road? Out in the wilderness? Out in the park? Why should I heed those instead of going on an tirade about speeders?

Of -course- the other person looks "fast" or "speeding" if you haven't given yourself the time to correct your own mistake.

</rant>
post #25 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by comprex View Post
Difference makes prejudice.

<rant>

Pedestrians don't tend to deal well with the revelation that they are not in control. They are not in control because they are -slow- and even the slowest cyclist is 4-10 times faster than they are.

Pedestrians have been given extreme moral advantage over motorists. They now seek to assert it over other wheeled transport, on the same terms, without correcting their own lack of heed for rules of the road.

What? Rules of the road? Out in the wilderness? Out in the park? Why should I heed those instead of going on an tirade about speeders?

Of -course- the other person looks "fast" or "speeding" if you haven't given yourself the time to correct your own mistake.

</rant>
I actualy meant I have never experienced a conflict with a hiker or horseman out in the woods myself. I have heard heard horror stories about hikers trying to stab riders and horseman just running over bikes. I have never encounter either.

You best bet if someone regardless of age,creed,or sex tried to hurt me on trail, I wouldnt live and let be at that point.
post #26 of 26
horseman just running over bikes

It is wise to dismount (from your bike) and let them pass.
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