Whenever somebody mentions safety I normally say “And people don’t die in car collisions or crossing the street?”. It always seems easier to make them feel less safe about their current travel arrangements than to defend the safety of cycling. I also sometimes ask them where they get the idea that cycling is unsafe from, are they quoting confirmed statistics or just because they can’t ride a bike safely? Generally I think this comes from their fear and I agree, I’ve never been on a horse, so in my head I’m going to snap my neck the first time I try and ride one, but it doesn’t mean horse riding is dangerous, err, is it?
The key to discussing cycling is to first know if the person is an idiot, don’t argue with them if they are, you know the saying 🙂
Another approach is that you can always agree with them… “yes, bloody tree hugging cyclists, I know, but this driver this morning, I was stuck behind him for miles as he was doing 29MPH in a 30MPH limit during rush hour, can you believe it, some people shouldn’t be on the road should they?”
I like sums, so let’s do a few based on my limited knowledge of the figures involved…
Average car mileage is 10K miles.
Average car vehicle excise duty is £150.
150 / 10000 = £0.015 duty per mile
Average modern car does 10 miles to the litre.
0.015 * 10 = £0.15 duty per litre.
15p per litre wouldn’t really impact the massive fuel pump price we have at the moment.
So I propose to scrap vehicle excise duty and increase fuel duty by 15p per litre.
This would have cost savings to government including
1. Wouldn’t need to police or prosecute people for no tax
2. Wouldn’t need to post the reminders / forms in the post i.e. delivery costs
3. Wouldn’t need to administer the scheme
4. Wouldn’t need to pay a cut to the post office for taking payment etc
5. Wouldn’t need to maintain a whole heap of webpages dedicated to it
Benefits to me
1. If I do less miles I pay less duty
2. Car drivers won’t be confusing the duty with road tax, so it will help equality on the roads between vehicles and bicycles
3…. there are more I am sure.
Benefits to the environment
1. Extra fuel costs makes people focus on doing less miles
2. Less paperwork and resources wasted
Small one-off costs
1. Closing the scheme
2. Changing the law
3. Retraining traffic police
4. A small number of job losses
Why did I write this post?
Lots of reasons, but mainly because I hate hearing “cyclists have no right to be on the road, they don’t pay to use the roads” come up as often as it does.
See also ipayroadtax.com, a website dedicated to the misconception about the duty.
This might be a common misconception, but yes, I was right (for once), in the UK you do have to stop at a STOP sign, slowing and giving way isn’t the same thing!
Here is an extract from the Directgov website:
So whether a car, bicycle or other vehicle you must stop at the STOP sign.
For your own safety it is worth noting that I’ve witnessed a lot of drivers who do not stop at a STOP sign or give way at a GIVE WAY sign, so whenever you see a car approaching the junction always be prepared for the worst. In my eyes preparing normally involves cycling further out in the road and hovering my fingers over the front brake (or rear brake in winter).