On Saturday I rode my bike 80 miles out to Paoli and back to Madison. There are some great new bike trails and instead of riding the roads, I decided to try the trail. This was a great day; 75, sunny, and lots of people on the bike trails. All good until my wife, Tania, and I came upon an intersection and were stopped by someone from the Dane County Parks Dept. who wanted to know if I had my trail pass. "No, I don’t have a trail pass”, I replied. “Well,” responded Mr. Dane County Parks, "that will be $20 for a trail pass for the year and a $5 fine for not having one.” I happily accepted my fine, which is much better than the speeding ticket I received in the past. Smaller fine, no points, and no police lights.
As I rode back to Madison I thought about whether charging a $20 fee for using the trail is a good idea or a bad idea. I started with the good idea first:
1. Cars pay taxes to use the roads.
2. The county needs the money and they are providing me with a service
3. It is the law.
Then I moved over to the bad idea side of the argument:
1. Bike trails are freeing up the congested roads.
2. Bike trails help the environment.
3. Bike trails get people active.
These are all good things and shouldn't the county be encouraging this behavior instead of handing out tickets?
I don’t know, what do you think? A. Counties should charge for people to use bike trails. B. Counties should not charge for people to use bike trails.