CHICAGO — Early blasts of snow, ice, and below-zero temperatures haven’t stopped a surprising number of Chicago cyclists from spinning through the slush this winter, thanks in part to a city so serious about accommodating them that it deploys minisnow plows to clear bike lanes.
The snow-clearing operation is just the latest attention city leaders have lavished on cycling, from a growing web of bike lanes to the nation’s second largest shared network of grab-and-go bicycles stationed all over town. But it also spotlights questions that have been raised here, a city wrestling with deep financial problems, and across the country.
Who is paying for all this bicycle upkeep? And shouldn’t bicyclists be kicking in themselves?
A city councilwoman’s recent proposal to institute a $25 annual cycling tax set off a lively debate that eventually sputtered out after the city responded with a collective ‘‘Say what?’’ A number of gruff voices spoke in favor, feeding off motorists’ antagonism toward what they deride as stop sign-running freeloaders. Bike-friendly bloggers retorted that maybe pedestrians ought to be charged a shoe tax to use the sidewalks. Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.