An online petition launched towards the end of 2016, calling for cyclists to pay for road tax and hold insurance in order to ride on British roads, has led to a huge debate among the cycling community.
The petition which has been signed by over 35,000 people, and can be viewed in full here, had been aimed at Prime Minister Theresa May and pleads for “cyclists to hold insurance and pay road tax to use public UK roads”, as evident by the petition’s URL on Change.org.
Earlier this month, we spoke with road bikes stockist Leisure Lakes Bikes who details three key reasons why cyclists should not, in fact, pay UK road tax:
1. Road tax no longer exists in the UK
The first argument is also the one that could settle the debate before it has the chance to develop — road tax does not exist in the UK. In fact, it hasn’t for many years!
Winston Churchill set the wheels in motion for road tax to be abolished across the country in 1926, with this finally achieved in 1937. More recently, motorists are required to pay a Vehicle Excise Duty (VED for short) and the maintenance and creation of roads in the UK are paid for through both general and local taxation schemes.
2. It would be a waste of time for cyclists to pay VED
When it comes to Vehicle Excise Duty, the rates are split into bands and are based on a vehicle’s engine size or fuel type and carbon dioxide emissions — all dependent on the date that the vehicle was registered.
Bring a standard road bike into the equation then and the following will be recorded:
– It doesn’t have an engine.
– It doesn’t use fuel – just the power exerted by the rider.
– It doesn’t emit carbon dioxide.
The result of these findings is that the VED to the cyclist for their bike would be £0 — the same rate applied to Band A motorists.
3. Cyclists already pay their way in the maintenance of UK roads
Another matter to consider is that any money from the Vehicle Excise Duty charge goes back into a central pot. This does not necessarily go back into looking after UK roads.
Instead, money from such schemes as income tax and council tax will pay for the provision of public services. This can be the maintenance of the nation’s hospitals, train services or, of most importance to this piece, the road network.
Of course, cyclists will pay both council tax and income tax in the same manner as everyone else in the UK but should not be obliged to pay for the use of public UK roads.