As cycling in cities grows, so does talk of taxing bicycles
It’s not a new idea. The Netherlands, where a cycling lifestyle has long been the norm, had bike taxes from 1924 to 1941, when the Nazis did away with it in a gesture meant to win over the Dutch.
Hawaii has had a statewide bike registration law for decades, as has the normally tax-hating city of Colorado Springs, Colo., though in both cases, they are one-time fees and all proceeds go toward bicycle infrastructure.
In the case of Colorado Springs, the proposal came from the cycling community itself. The $4 tax on the purchase of new bikes has been in place since 1988, and no one seems to mind. It only raises up to $150,000 per year, but it’s useful as a local match for federal grants. And it gives cycling advocates leverage when pushing for bike projects. For one thing, it has revealed that 25,000 bikes are sold each year, a big number in a city of 430,000.