Published Somedays

Woman threatens to buy a bicycle after recent gas tax hike

(updated: Jan 18, 2012)

How many of you caught this report on WECT News on Mon Jan 2? I found the woman in the story to be hilarious. Watch the part where she says she thinks she's going to have to buy a bicycle, as if that's the most horrible thing that could ever happen to her. The reporter also refers to the act of getting a bike as a "drastic alternative". The horror.

Gas tax could have major impact on jobs that require driving
(yeah, like just about all of them, unless you happen to be the 0.000000001% of the population who is a bike messenger).

This is her actual expression after she says she thinks she's going to have to buy a bike and ride a total of eight miles to and from work, as the reporter points out somewhat exasperatedly. It's like she was just told she's got a case of crabs.

God forbid we have to buy bikes and then actually ride them, only to find out we can't really ride them anywhere because it's too dangerous and we just can't get to where we need to go. Will NC DOT use the expected additional revenue to build bike infrastructure? I would be totally for it. But no, that would be completely against their mandate of putting more people in cars on more roads, where anything not in a motorized vehicle should scurry out of the way or be squashed into a grease spot.

At this point we should probably be realizing that the current system is unsustainable and we should be starting to restructure the way we occupy the landscape; using things like gas taxes to fund it. Things need to be more human scale. What we have now is a landscape that is rather alien if you go out and try to walk somewhere. Go ahead, try it and see for yourself how completely out of place you feel, and where you sit in the food chain out on the roads. Now nature is giving us the warning signs that it's time to change. We ignore her at our peril.

So I went to the NC DOT website, and found the following tagline:
Connecting people and places in North Carolina - safely and efficiently, with accountability and environmental sensitivity.

Lets break this down...

Connecting people and places in North Carolina -- building roads for motorized vehicles only, through some of the highest gas taxes (now 5th) in the nation. But if you want to get somewhere on a bike or by walking, you're SOL.

Safety and efficiently -- Only if you are in a car, and that's debatable. NC is ranked 4th in the nation in terms of traffic fatalities (source: NHTSA website, FARS 2009 data), and 17th on a per capita basis (using 2010 census data), higher than the US average. NHC is one of the worst counties in NC. Hope you enjoy higher insurance premiums. If you're on a bike or walking, however, you're really screwed because safety and efficiency only applies to people in motor vehicles. I think the priority is defined as follows: drivers, motorcyclists, then squirrels and other varmints, pedestrians, foot lint, and lawless deadbeats on bikes.

Accountability -- Again, only in motorized vehicles, and that's debatable again, given the number of DUIs and people with multiple DUIs who are still driving, especially in NHC. Also, tolerating texting and talking on the phone while driving a 6000lb vehicle leads to poor accountability (people that do this should be sentenced to ride a bike on the streets for a week). If you get hit while walking or on a bike, there's much less accountability to the driver, because there's not much to charge them with, if anything. Just use the "I didn't see him" or "He came out of nowhere" excuse.

Environmental Sensitivity -- This is anathema to the way DOT works, which is to get money from people driving, ergo, the more people that drive ICE vehicles and the more they drive, the more money they get. So how is this good for the environment? It ain't, and building skyways over wetlands and parks (proposed Cape Fear Skyway and Hampstead 17 Bypass) doesn't count either.

I think the correct tagline for NC DOT should be more like, "Paving North Carolina one square foot at a time by collecting seriously high gas taxes, woo hoo!"

Thank you NC DOT and state politicians, you bureaucrat screw-ups. The result of your actions will have the opposite effect and push more people into cycling, which will mean less drivers, which means you will have to raise the tax more to fulfill your evil plan of completely paving the state, which will push more people into cycling, rinse, repeat. I hope it works.


Filed Under: General Entries > North Carolina > Wilmington


1. Michael said...

That's a shame....the reactions and expressions in the interview are actually embarrassing. I hope that food tax doesn't go up too...we may be forced to grow and catch our own food or some other barbaric behavior. What will it take to get a wake up call????

Jan 8, 2012 @ 7:36 PM

2. Todd said...

I guess she doesn't know that riding a bike is fun. Shhhh, don't tell her. :-)

Jan 11, 2012 @ 8:13 AM

3. guidovanbroekhoven said...

you know, i think it makes sense if you'd ride a bicycle to work every day. you do sport, it is healthy and it saves you money, now if you'd take then a garmin forerunner 305 gps receiver than you should also be able to track your time and pace, and you might even improve your overall skills... is I'm all for getting rid of cars that are not necessary. take a bike! it's good for you!


Jan 14, 2012 @ 11:34 AM

4. Mike said...

Maybe when gas is $10 a gallon, people will say things like, "Oh man! My bike's broken! I think I am going to have to drive a car today!"

Jan 14, 2012 @ 8:53 PM

5. cactuspete said...

I ride my bike to work as much as I can just for the exercise. Its funny how people treat you when you are on a bike, its like you are a lower class person. People almost seem disgusted that you are taking up space on the road. Strange how society puts so much emphasis on what you drive. No wonder so many people drive nicer cars than the actual place they live in.

Jan 19, 2012 @ 6:24 AM


Comments are closed.

Back To Top