In 2005, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty was stuck with a budget shortfall. He refused DFL entreaties for a general tax increase and instead went with a 75 cents-a-pack hike in cigarettes. He insisted the increase be called a "health impact fee" so he could maintain his no-tax pledge. To boost funding for cycling programs I am proposing that we add a new fee, which I am titling the Cyclist Annoyance Fee. Here's how the program will work:
Any time a coworker, friend or acquaintance asks a known cycle commuter "Did you ride your bike to work today?" and the temperature is below 32 degrees Farenheit, a fee of $1 will be assessed to the questioner. If it is raining, a fee of $2 will be assessed. Questions asked during a snowstorm or a thunderstorm will be assessed a $3 fee (double if lightning is present). Questions asked when the temperature is below 0 degrees Farenheit will be assessed a $4 fee. If the temperature is below 0 and it is snowing, a $5 fee will be assessed. If the question is asked with a smug "I'll bet you didn't ride." expression on the questioning party's face, the fees will be double.
To be fair, bicycle commuters will also be assessed fees. Any time a bicycle commuter is asked by a coworker, friend or acquaintance "Did you ride your bike to work today?" and the temperature is between 65 and 80 degrees Farenheit and the skies are clear, a fee of $1 will be assessed to the cyclist. If the questioner adds "Looks like a great day to ride." with a wistful/jealous expression on his or her face, the cyclist's fee will be waived.