Personal Blog

Cyclists Do Pay ‘Road Tax’

road-tax

One thing which annoys many cyclists is the fallacy perpetuated by ignorant motorists that ‘cyclists do not pay Road Tax’ and therefore somehow have less ‘right’ to use the roads and that they certainly should not have any right or consideration when it comes to transportation infrastructure. The argument is often thrown by poor drivers who use this as an excuse for their poor driving skills when complaining about cyclists on ‘their’ roads.

So let’s get one thing straight: Cyclists *do* Pay Road Tax. Well, at least as much as anyone else pays ‘Road Tax’.

You See ‘Road Tax’ Does Not Exist

What people mean when they refer to Road Tax, Car Tax, Road Fund Licence or the tax paid to allow a motorised vehicle to be used on the roads is Vehicle Excise Duty. Road Tax was abolished in 1939, as it was felt that having a tax to use roads, it could lead motorists to think that they have more right to use the roads than others. Therefore is no such thing as Road Tax.

Vehicle Excise Duty (VED)

Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) is a pollution tax which is loosely based on a vehicles CO2 emissions and therefore it’s fuel economy. From 1 April 2014 the keeper of a car in band A (up to 100 grams CO2 per km) pays nothing in VED whereas the owner of a car in band M (over 255 grams CO2 per km) pays £500 per annum (rates are even higher in the first year). If pedal cycles were subjected to the same pollution tax it would be as band A – zero, as bikes do not burn any fuel (other than pies and pasties).

Ah But Cyclists Don’t Pay Any ‘Vehicle Tax’ ‘VED’ Or Whatever You Call It

We do, actually. Just because someone owns a bike and cycles it to work, it does not mean that they do not have to pay VED on their cars or other vehicles. It would be fantastic if we could evade VED by just claiming that we are cyclists and therefore we don’t have to pay it. We can’t, we still have to pay VED when we own a car, even if we leave it in the garage.

But If You Do Not Own A Car – You Do Not Pay Towards The Roads

Wrong again I’m afraid. The funds allocated to road building, developing the infrastructure and for road repairs do not come from VED (otherwise wrongly referred to as Road Tax). The funds come from General Taxation: Income Tax, Council Tax, VAT and all the other taxes we are subjected to pay. Again it would be nice be excluded from paying all or part of these taxes on the basis of having a rusty bike in the garage which comes out once a year, but we can’t. Even a professional cyclist riding in The Tour de France cannot wriggle out of paying tax on that basis. You see, cyclists DO pay road tax just as much as anyone else does. We all pay tax, we all pay tax to support the road network, and we all have a right to use it.

One Response to Cyclists Do Pay ‘Road Tax’

  • Even if you don’t own a car or motorbike, you must use the the transport infrastructure at some point. No one ever accusses pedestrians of not paying to use the paved strip that runs parallel to most roads, and pedestrians get exclusive use of many town and city centre streets, all for “free” except, as my learned friend points out, they are tax payers at some point (VAT anyone!!).

    I don’t object to sharing the road with anyone, except complete and utter idiots, and they can be found walking, cycling and driving all manner of vehicles too. Impatience is the common factor in road incidents, some people are in just too much of a hurry to wait for a few moments aa others go about their life.