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18 March, 2010

Not tax-dodging

There's a common misconception (foreseen by Winston Churchill, oddly enough) that because, unlike motor vehicles, bicycles don't require tax discs, cyclists don't pay 'road tax' and therefore have no right to use roads; that cyclists are only there at the sufferance of drivers, who 'own' the roads, and must always defer to motorists.


'Road tax' is not a payment to use roads – there's no "no pay, no play" rule.
There is no such thing as 'road tax' (nor 'road fund licence'), and there hasn't been since 1937. The tax paid by drivers is Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) i.e. cars are taxed, not their road usage.
The proceeds go to HM Treasury not the Department for Transport: VED is not specifically reserved for road building or maintenance. Those functions are funded from general and local taxation, so cyclists (and pedestrians) do pay their share, in full.

The misleadingly named makes an excellent suggestion: that the 'road tax' nickname for VED be discouraged, with organisations such as the DVLA or DirectGov only referring to it colloquially as 'car tax' or 'vehicle tax'. It's not a trivial point: the latter are a fair descriptions, whereas the former perpetuates antagonism.


And the other key point he forgot is a great deal of cyclists also own a car and therefore do pay their way in any case. It would be interesting to know how many cyclists drive as well and how many people solely cycle.

Posted by Richard at March 18, 2010 08:26 PM
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