Road tax, such as it was, was a hypothecated tax paid by motorists that went towards the maintenance of roads was indeed abolished in 1937. What is paid now is vehicle excise duty (VED) which, as few people who don’t own a bike seem to realise, is a tax on emissions, not on road use. It’s not ring fenced (hypothecated) for spending on road maintenance. The huge cost of maintaining our roads in the pitiful state they are in comes from (amongst other things) general taxation. You know, income tax and that. As cyclists, we know this and have the argument well rehearsed so we can trot it out when some moron in a car falls in to the cunning ‘get out of my way you Lycra clad freak, I pay my ROAD TAX you know’ trap we have cleverly set for them.
For the moment, I will leave aside the fact that most cyclists pay VED at some level anyway – 87% of British Cycling members own a car.
After mulling these fascinating facts over for literally minutes, I am firmly of the opinion that Road Tax should be re-introduced (ducks for cover). More particularly, I think Road Tax should be introduced for the first time specifically for cyclists (pulls covers over head) and furthermore it should not, under any circumstances, be paid by the drivers of cars or other vehicles (concretes self into cold war style bunker). I did say you’d need to bear with me didn’t I?
I am determined that I and my fellow cyclists have the option to take the moral high ground and not only avoid the ‘tax dodger/soap dodger/buy a car’ insults but also pay for roads in a way that car drivers can only dream of. Consequently, I am delighted to announce that Mamil Cycling will shortly be launching a voluntary ‘Road Tax’ for cyclists. For 10 quid a year, you will get annual ‘Road Tax’ disc sticker for your bike proving that you have paid your tenner. At least half of this will go directly to Local Authority Highways Departments on the understanding is it spent on road maintenance, the remainder will go to cycling charities to promote training and safety for riders. A small proportion of it will go to making me a millionaire as other schemes I have launched along these lines have disappointingly so far failed to make this happen.
While I’m at it, rather than having those completely pointless reflectors on handlebars of new bikes, there will be the option of displaying your 10 pence size ‘Road Tax Disc’ in a retro style holder. It can’t be long before there are fetching T shirts and enamel lapel badges can it?
Leaving competitively priced attractive merchandise to one side for a moment, image your satisfaction in being able to tell drivers that actually, yes, you do pay road tax and surprisingly, they don’t. Further, they should ‘get off your roads’ because they don’t pay for them and that they should ‘get a bike’. Even more importantly, imagine my satisfaction in becoming a millionaire and not having to go to work any more leaving me more time to ride my bike – on roads that I bl**dy well pay for...
I sense a massive victory over ‘readers’ of ‘newspapers’ like the Daily Mail is only just around a corner that you and I have paid to have maintained...
It may surprise you to learn Rich Smith has written a book 'ReCycled' now available in ebook and analogue (you know, paper, with a cover) via Amazon.
Further the Great Britain Transplant Cycling team are raising money to compete in the World Transplant Games in Durban next year and have a Just Giving page should you feel so inclined.