As Oregon tallies its first bike tax receipts, Hawaii and Colorado Springs are old hands

Colorado Springs’ historic receipts on its $4-per-bike tax.

From Bicycle Retailer
by Stephen Frothingham

Editor’s note: A version of this story appeared in the June 15 issue of Bicycle Retailer & Industry News. We are republishing it because of interest in our story published today about bike tax receipts in Oregon.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (BRAIN) — Each time retailer Nick Ponsor looks out from his store’s new café, he sees a bike path that owes at least part of its existence to a bike tax his store and others here have been collecting since 1988.

Ponsor‘s Criterium Bike Shop is on one of the city’s major paths, making the café, which opened just before Memorial Day weekend, a sure bet.

“This path goes for about 40 miles, and all that way there is nothing except for this,” he said. “So now people don’t have to wander off the trail to go to a coffee shop or restaurant.”

Colorado Springs’ $4-per-bike sales tax has brought in an estimated $2.3 million since it was enacted, all earmarked for use on bike infrastructure like the path outside Ponsor’s shop.

“Once we explain to customers what it’s for, 99.9 percent of people are fine with it. … As far as I know the money is going where it’s supposed to go. Without it, it would be hard to fund some of the new stuff getting done around here.“

The tax applies to bikes with wheels larger than 14 inches — including those sold in big-box stores.

As the rest of the country eyes Oregon’s new bike tax — the only state bike tax — it’s worth a quick look at two smaller-scale but long-standing programs, in Colorado Springs and Hawaii.

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