As a cyclist who pays taxes, I'm consistently bemused by people who think I'm "entitled" for wanting safe, separated bike infrastructure to travel around on my bike.
We've really normalised the concept that motorists have paid for and therefore own the roads.
Buckle up, and put your motorist-helmet on, because I am about to disabuse you of some of your car-driving cognitive dissonance.
Roads are paid for by income taxes.
So as I also pay income tax, they're my roads too.
Roads cost on average $7.5 million per km. To be fair I searched for this data for an average city/suburban road - and that's not so easy to find. And to be fair I have excluded the following from that average;
WestConnex in Sydney which averages out at $486 million per km, and the Melbourne Est West Link at $1 billion per km, both before the inevitable timetable and budget over-runs.
Even back in 2005 the Sydney Westlink project came in at $58 million per km, and that's even got a bloody good shared cycle and walk way running alongside in parallel.
(By the by, that's 36% more expensive than the UK, 42% more expensive than the US, and 78% more expensive than average of 29 nations of Europe. Australia's infrastructure inefficiency is a whole other reason to stop implementing infrastructure as the only solution to congestion and pollution crisis.)
Bike paths cost on average just $1.5 million per km to plan and build.
Imagine if the idiots running WestConnex and NorthConnex had simply added parallel bike lanes, as they did for the M7 ?
Asphalt is expensive, and a major arterial road might require asphalt 30cm deep, a suburban road only 3cm deep.
Bike paths don't need to withstand constant traffic in excess of 1 tonne, so the road bed doesn't need to be as deep. There's less need for complex engineering, drainage and almost no need for traffic lights and signals. Bike paths are pretty light on resources and materials.
A bike path can be made of asphalt, or of many other surfaces; permeable bonded resin for example, which allows rain to penetrate to the ground below instead of sheeting off and creating a riding hazard or requiring expensive engineering and draining solutions.
Oh, and here's another good one; Australia's annual road maintenance bill $52.3 billion.
Revenue collected from active motorists and car owners $35.3 billion.
That's an annual roads deficit of $17 billion.
Your rego isn't paying for squat buddy.
So every year motorists come up $17 billion dollars short in paying for "their roads". The balance comes from taxes, so every taxpaying non-driver is subsiding every motorist.
Join us next week at Spokes(wo)man.com.au where we discuss how cyclists are less of a burden on an increasingly under-pressure health system.