Loads of cyclists have had abuse hurled at them by motorists, who assume that car drivers should have priority on roads because they pay “road tax” and cyclists don’t.
Don’t let the fact that road tax was abolished in 1937 and replaced by Vehicle Excise Duty get in the way. Or that VED is a tax on cars and not on roads, which are paid for out of general taxation.
It caused me to smirk though, when I read that a record 68.6% (or just over 2/3rd) of new cars registered in 2014 did not have to pay VED in their first year, because they are below the CO2 threshold, with the average new car emitting 125.6g/km. On that basis, they too “shouldn’t be on the road”!
While some media portray a conflict between car drivers and cyclists, the reality according to some market research is that the people who cycle the most are likely to own at least 2 cars. And few people realise that the number of bikes sold per year outstrips the number of cars sold and have done since 2002. In the last year for which figures were available there were 3.6 million bikes sold compared with 2.04 million cars.
Perhaps the answer would be for bikes to pay VED but be zero rated because they don’t emit any CO2 per kilometre. Then I’d be paying the same for my bike and my (hybrid) car – a nice round zero. Which means that it is just the gas-guzzling cars that get to pay.
Interestingly, the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT) believes that the UK’s shift to smaller, more fuel efficientand less polluting cars will lead to a hole in the government’s finances as they collect less VED, leading some to warn that higher bills are on the way for cars that consume more fuel and pollute more. Given the EU wide CO2 target of 95g/km by 2020, changes will continue to need to happen.
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