Trails advocate ‘shocked’ by comment about cyclists
Bicyclists in Oakley beware.
After declaring Wednesday that cyclists should be taxed to use roads, Oakley City Councilman DelRay Hatch said, "so the ones that don’t pay I could run over."
Cyclists would be required to display a tag so he could identify people who haven’t paid the tax, Hatch said during a meeting the Summit County Commission conducted this week with other elected officials in the area.
During a telephone interview Thursday Hatch claimed his comments were a joke.
"I have no intentions of ever running over a bicyclist," Hatch said.
However, Mountain Trails Foundation Executive Director Carol Potter said Hatch’s comment is "sad."
"I’m somewhat shocked by the comment, even in jest," Potter said when contacted Thursday to respond. "There is so much energy going into safe cycling and I’m so sorry that he said that. That’s really too bad."
Hatch said he wasn’t aware of the death of Park City cyclist Bill Corliss last month. Described as a giant in Summit County’s community of avid bicyclists, Corliss, 49, reportedly died on impact of "severe head injuries" when he fell into traffic and was struck by a pickup truck in Utah County.
Though Hatch insists he doesn’t "intend" to run over any bicyclists, he said he would tax them to use roads.
"We pay taxes for the county, we pay gas taxes, we do everything. But in the middle of summer here, the roads are obstructed when they have these big races and stuff, and we can’t even get on the roads," Hatch said. "If we was to go from here to Park City it’s going delay us, oh, probably about a half hour I would like to see some kind of a tax put on bicyclists. If they’re going to use the roads and they’re going to obstruct the traffic they ought to at least pay a fair tax on it."
Pinebrook resident Don Brown countered, "I don’t believe that the tax infrastructure is a problem. We just have a case of people becoming more aware of the preponderance of non-motorized users of roads, and this is a good thing."
"When people make statements, be they positive or negative, it raises awareness of matters such as these," added Brown, who serves on a committee exploring alternative forms of transportation in Summit County.
Road features like "Share the Road" signs and bicycle paths prove cyclists are a recognized part of the transportation system, he said.
"I certainly believe that all roadway users are beholden to adhere to the laws and the usage requirements that are set forth," Brown said. "That we would need to change our tax base is dubious."
Hatch’s fourth term on the Oakley City Council ends in 2007.
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