Why UK Cyclists Shouldn’t Be Subjected to Road Tax

By Ryan.

A serious debate in the cycling community has developed after the launch of an online petition towards the end of 2016, which was calling for cyclists to pay for road tax and also to hold insurance in order to ride on British roads.

The petition, which can be viewed here, was directed at Prime Minister Theresa May, pleading for “cyclists to hold insurance and pay road tax to use public UK roads,” as evident by the URL of the petition on Change.org.

Stockist of road bikes, Leisure Lakes explores three key reasons why cyclists should not in fact pay UK road tax:

  1. In the UK, road tax no longer exists

As the first argument, this point could very well end the debate long before it even has a chance of developing properly, that being that road tax in the UK hasn’t even existed for years.

While in more recent times motorists are required to pay a mandatory Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) with the creation and maintenance of the roads in the UK funded through both general and local taxation schemes, the abolishment of road tax proper was set into motion by Winston Churchill across the country way back in 1926, with this finally being achieved in 1937.

  1. It would be a waste of time for cyclists to pay VED

With specific regards to Vehicle Excise Duty, the levied rates are spilt into bands, taking into account the engine size of a vehicle or the type of fuel it uses and its carbon monoxide emissions. All of these factors depend on the date that the vehicle was manufactured and subsequently registered.

Bring a standard road bike into the equation and it becomes apparent that what will have to be recorded will be quite useless, on account of the following reasons:

  • It doesn’t have an engine
  • It doesn’t use any fuel – it runs on the power exerted by the rider
  • It emits no carbon dioxide

Interestingly enough, as is the case with the rates that apply to Band A motorists, these findings would then have the VED cyclists’ “payments” amounting to £0.

  1. Cyclists already pay their fair share in the maintenance of UK roads

Another factor which needs to be taken into account is that money which comes from the Vehicle Excise Duty charge is channelled back into a central pot. This pot doesn’t necessarily go back into the maintenance of UK roads.

Instead, the money which is collected from such schemes as income tax and council tax is used to pay for the provision of public services, which can include the maintenance of the nation’s hospitals, train services as well as the road network, the latter of which is obviously of most importance to this piece.

Of course, cyclists form part of the tax base of citizens and residents who pay both council tax and income tax, in the same manner as everyone else residing and working anywhere in the United Kingdom.

Aug 18, 2017