(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Letters: Taxing bicycles would discourage cycling and disproportionately harm low-income riders

Dear Editor:

I disagree with Sally Stephen’s recent opinion piece in which she advocated for bicycle licensing fees on the grounds that such fees “would reinforce to bike riders that, like car drivers, they have to take some responsibility for the common transportation good.”

When I ride my bike, I am taking responsibility for the common transportation good. My bicycle represents one less car on the road, one more open seat on a crowded bus, or one less double parked rideshare driver. This is not just a side benefit of cycling; it is the main reason that I started riding to work ten years ago.

Taxing bicycles will discourage cycling and disproportionately harm poor cyclists. We should not implement a tax on bicycles while cars impose far greater costs on our society. Cars are bad for the environment, bad for our health and bad for our city. Driving a car is antithetical to the common good.

San Francisco should encourage cycling, walking and the use of public transit. Banning cars on Market Street is a good first step, but we should do much more. We should build more bike lanes, bike share stations, and transit only lanes. We should ban cars from more streets, including JFK drive in Golden Gate Park. We should implement congestion pricing downtown and put up more red light cameras. There are many solutions to our city’s transportation problems, and taxing cyclists is not one of them.

Josiah Haut

San Francisco

Dear Editor:

The end of money bail in San Francisco is a pivotal victory in the battle to free California’s criminal justice from an industry that profits off the backs of poor families. Money bail is unsafe, unfair, and unjust. Families who can’t afford to post bail have been forced to turn over their freedom, their rent money, and the deeds of their homes to predatory money bail companies – even when they were found innocent. Bottom line: it shouldn’t be a crime to be poor. November is our chance to deny the money bail industry’s control over pretrial justice, prioritize public safety over profits, and replace a system powered by racial bias with one that puts equality and justice at its center. It’s time for California voters to follow San Francisco’s example, and vote “yes” to end money bail on the November 2020 ballot.

Joseph Bryant

President of SEIU Local 1021

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