The bailout bill that recently passed the Senate contains a host of little tax provisions. One of them extends the commuter tax benefit to bicycling. Qualified benefits include:
the purchase of a bicycle and bicycle improvements, repair, and storage, if such bicycle is regularly used for travel between the employee’s residence and place of employment.
Bicycle commuters in at least one Wisconsin town might have a tough time feeling safe while using their tax benefit. When Milwaukee-area cyclist Jeff Frings reported a driver almost running him off the road, police in Brookfield, Wisconsin told him he had “no right to be in an active traffic lane if [he’s] not going the speed limit.” Shockingly, the town prosecutor actually issued a legal opinion backing them up. (Local attorneys and Milwaukee police agree Brookfield is absolutely wrong.)
After a run-in with a road raging driver who threatened him bodily harm when he was riding his bicycle, Frings attached a camera to his bicycle helmet, and has captured hundreds of clips of drivers passing far too close, sometimes in ignorance, sometimes to “teach him a lesson” that he shouldn’t be on their road. Some police departments have issued tickets after looking at his videos; Brookfield is the sad exception.
Sadly, Milwaukee’s Fox 6 News doesn’t make it possible to embed or even link directly to the video; you can see it by going here and scrolling to “Dead Right (9-30-08)”.
Tip: Jeff Peel.