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UPDATE: Georgia Lawmakers Want to Tax Bikes

Credit: Suriya Donavanik/

A group of Gainesville Republican lawmakers are coming after all you freeloading bike riders.

House Bill 689, introduced to little fanfare last year, has its first (and likely only) public hearing tonight in Gainesville. It would require bicycle owners to pay $15 for a tiny little license plate similar to a car’s.

One of the authors, state Rep. Carl Rogers (R-Gainesville) describes bikes as “a nuisance” and feels that cyclists do not pay for road upkeep, even though the vast majority own cars for which they pay tag fees and gas taxes, and bikes do very little damage to the pavement compared to a car or truck.

The fees would go toward a fund to build new bike paths and bike lanes (although legislators love to raid similar funds to close budget gaps in other areas, so it’s doubtful much money would ever go toward the fund’s set purpose).

The hearing is at 6 p.m. at the Hall County Government Center, so you better start pedaling now if you want to make it in time.

Really, though, that’s probably not necessary. The AJC‘s Jim Galloway (whose sarcasm-laden blog post you really ought to read) knocked down the idea that this bill has any chance of becoming law. For one thing, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle is an avid cyclist. For another, Republicans aren’t about to tax millions of bike owners in an election year. Even one of the sponsors, the outstandingly named Rep. Emory Dunahoo (R-Gainesville) has already disavowed the bill.

UPDATE: The three cosponsers said after the hearing Monday night that they would withdraw the bill, according to the Gainesville Times.