In recent days, the American Automobile Association has been an organization of conflicted identity. The Mid-Atlantic AAA came out in opposition to new cycletracks down the center of Pennsylvania Avenue in DC. Nevermind that the new bike facilities didn’t effect traffic capacity as Pennsylvania Avenue is one of the widest streets in the Western Hemisphere. [Not long after this public antogonation, I cancelled my AAA membership – not that I used it anyway – and let them know WHY I cancelled.]
Don Gagnon, President & CEO of Mid-Atlantic AAA, went on to argue that Highway Trust Fund (HTF) monies should be reserved for highways. HTF is also used to fund construction of tens of thousands of trail miles and other on-street bike facilities across the country. Yet, if your bike breakdown, you can use your AAA roadside assistance to get out of a jam. [Insert head scratching here]
AAA has revived a debate on whether cyclists should pay an extra tax to help fund some of the highway maintenance and improvements that motorists pay in vehicle registration and gas tax. Analyzing our survey data, I found some pretty interesting numbers to refute this debate. Of all the cyclists (people who owned and used bikes), 9.5% did NOT own a vehicle, but 40.6% had ONE vehicle in the home, 40.1% had TWO and 9.8% had THREE CARS or more per household!