Invoice provides “folks” to the Oregon authorized definition of taxable bicycle

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Screenshot of LC 2448. Words in bold supplement the applicable law.

Here’s something easy to end the week …

We’ve been scouring the Oregon Legislative Information System lately to find all the bills worth tracking for advocates of transportation at this meeting. One thing we came across is a 93-page collective invoice (currently LC 2448) with some interesting nuggets on it. I’ll tell you more about this as the session progresses. For now I want to split section 34 of the bill.

It caught my eye because it is one of Oregon’s revised statutes that I hold dear: the definition of “bicycle”. In particular, it is about how “bicycle” is defined for the application of the bicycle consumption tax that came into force in 2017. Currently, the legal definition of a bicycle in ORS 320.400 is: “A vehicle that is designed to be operated on wheels on the ground and driven exclusively by humans” (based on the full definition of the bicycle in ORS 801.150).

LC 2448 would amend this definition to include (in bold) the following: “A vehicle designed to operate on wheels on the ground for the transportation of people and is driven solely by human strength; “

Don’t try to tax customers for buying any of these products in case you are wondering. (Photo: x1Brett / Flickr)

That struck me as strange and I wondered what the impetus for the change was. I emailed ODOT Economist Daniel Porter to learn more. He was able to confirm that the change came from the Treasury, which wants to clarify the rules for bicycle excise tax. Porter emailed me that they intend, “Only steer the bikes we ride, no such thing as a fancy wheelbarrow.”

I asked Porter if this was a problem that came up with DOR. Have people tried to tax fancy wheelbarrows or other two-wheeled vehicles that were not built specifically to transport people? “No,” Porter replied, “they just wanted to make sure there was no problem at some point in the future.”

OK then. I am happy to know that DOR is in the case.

Have a nice Weekend. And don’t forget to follow @BikePortland on Twitter and Instagram for live updates from the Flanders Crossing Bridge installation tomorrow. If you see me down there, ring the bell or say “Hello!” (from a distance, of course).

– Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
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