posted 2 years ago

Is there such a thing as Road Tax?

Road Tax abolished in 1937

Last year a young driver boasted on Twitter about hitting a cyclist, the tweet went viral and this driver later appeared in court. She was charged with driving carelessly and failing to report an accident, she later said in a TV interview that she regrets the tweet and didn't drive badly.  Her tweet enraged cyclists because she claimed right of way because #bloodycyclists “don’t pay road tax”.

Cyclists often report that aggressive motorists justify their behaviour on the basis that they alone pay "road tax". But there is no such thing. In fact road tax was abolished in 1937 and replaced by Vehicle Excise Duty.

Vehicle Excise Duty is a tax on cars not roads. This tax goes into the general Treasury fund, sometimes referred to as VED ‘car tax’ it could be classified as a pollution tax since it is now based on the size of the engine of the car and and the emissions. Ultra low emission vehicles are exempt.

The word "road tax" implies that the tax should pay for roads and that drivers have more right to road space than pedestrians, horse-riders and cyclists. In another confrontation recorded by helmet-camera a cyclist accuses a driver of missing him by just a few inches. He is asked in return "do you pay road tax?" In another a cyclist is told he has no right to be on the road "no pay, no say".

Motorists who've been cut up by aggressive cyclists or seen them jump red lights may have some sympathy with the idea that the roads would be better if those in cars had formal priority.  The "but I pay road tax" syndrome so annoyed cycle journalist Carlton Reid that he set up a website, Its purpose is to persuade official bodies to lead the way in banishing this durable phrase. "It's dangerous if motorists think that because they pay car tax they have an entitlement to the road," he says. "A small minority of drivers seem to think it gives them the right to drive badly. Language is very powerful. If we can persuade all official bodies to use the term car tax then maybe in a generation or two Mondeo Man will have stopped calling it road tax.”

So we pay ‘car tax’ not ‘road tax’ but the motorist is still paying either way? What do you think should cyclists pay a tax? Should anyone riding a horse pay a tax? 


It's all good that both car and cyclists have to share the roads, but cyclists also need to follow the high way code. manya time time have I seen cyclists jump red light carry on cycling when people a re crossing at zebra crossings ect....

Everyone is entitled to use the roads where applicable, be them a pedestrian, cycist, horse rider, motorcyclist, car, van, truck, lorry, bus dtivers not forgetting the disability scooter rider however they should all have some sort of insurance as all are capable of causing an accident not just motorsits, learn to be more forgiving as errors can be made we're only human with plenty of things going on in our head besides getting from A-B whichever form of transport we use or bring back trams.

as a motorist of long standing i do not feel that cyclists or horse riders should pay the tax levy, however, i do feel the the cyclist or horse rider should have some form of insurance to allow them to be on the road. i was involve in a accident when a cyclist road a red light and caused a accident.

It is not about the old wear and tare of the road issue which is the first excuse the cyclists come up with, or the amount of pollution which is just another excuse to raise more tax to squander on the EU, its about the right to use the road and each vehicle on the road should have a licence, and the bicycle user should also have a licence and insurance as a bicycle is a machine which can cause hurt and damage. When the government have sold off the roads to foreign investors everybody will be charged the same to use the road, and then this argument will not exist, the road owners will keep the roads in good maintenance so there will be no bills for the government or tax the payers, and people will only use motorways when its absolutely necessary, when this comes about, and it will if we motorists let it ; it will be so costly to use the roads your gas and electric will seem cheap. Do not forget when a charge is introduced however small, it never comes off, and can only go up and up and up.

This storm in a teacup is going to rumble on and on even though it is caused not by road tax but by ill-mannered and bad-tempered people who both drive and ride who are itching for any excuse to kick off. Most motorists begin as cyclists and some return to 2 wheels and so it would be reasonable to assume they should have more sympathy with each other's needs but it seems being on wheels robs a person of everything but the most primitive of instincts. It is true lots of cyclists completely ignore the Highway Code to the point of extracting the urine out of the motorist and beyond and some motorists are just as bad. The worst offender in this is the police for not enforcing traffic law on cyclists who are obliged to obey the same moving traffic laws as any other vehicle. I can't remember anytime in recent years either seeing or hearing of a cyclist being publicly bawled out for breaking the Highway Code or being fined for speeding or something else. A fit man on a modern racing bike has no trouble hitting 45mph and they do this sort of thing regardless of speed limits or footpaths, on which incidentally the speed limit is 4mph. When I took my cycling proficiency test and both my driving tests it was stated overtaking vehicles should provide a six foot safety margin. This unfortunately seems to have been dropped. Certainly cyclists should be covered by insurance and some should be forced to take a test - perhaps if the police ever has to book a cyclist...

Cyclists should not pay road tax. The wear on the road due to such a light vehicle is negligible. Also, road tax is a tax on cars due to their pollution to the environment not due to damage to the road. If you have an economic and environmentally friendly car (ie, low CO2 emissions) you pay less or no road tax whereas gas-guzzlers pay through the teeth, and quiet rightly so. I am both a cyclist and car driver. I believe that we share the road and the Highway Code states that we must be considerate of all road users, particularly the most vulnerable, like pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists (Codes 204 to 213). "Code 204: The most vulnerable road users are pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and horse riders. It is particularly important to be aware of children, older and disabled people, and learner and inexperienced drivers and riders." It is arrogant and selfish of any driver to tell someone else to get off the road because they pay less or nothing; this is abuse of cyclists not a complaint they don't pay tax or insurance. No-one has ever shouted at me or told me to stop driver my 1.6ltr diesel car because I only pay £30 per year! And I'm sure nobody's been accused of not paying car insurance. However people have told me to get off the road and cut me up when I'm on my bike. Utter discrimination and abuse, not to mention illegal!

as I pay £475 a year and do under 6000 miles a year I think it is unfair on the older car

Without doubt all cyclists should pay a tax to compete on the road, and they should have done so many years ago. At the moment cyclists are a law unto them selves as they disregard traffic signs at will, and undertake motor vehicles when it suits them, they dismount to ignore traffic lights which a moment ago was controlling them as part of the regulated traffic flow, they use both footpath and road when it is advantages to them, and take no heed whatsoever of the highway code. The cycling clubs who are supposed to set an example fall so short, as they cycle three or more abreast on country lanes with the blatant intention of making motor vehicles stay behind them. Many cyclists are so blas'e about their rights that they ride with ear phones and listen to music which should be highly illegal, as they ride on a busy roads unconcerned of the dangers to themselves theoretically “protected by their rights”, and are are totally unconcerned about the inconveniences which they cause to other road users, because they can. 60 years ago when I was at school the police came periodically to teach us bicycle maintenance and road safety in the school yard, and if you were caught by a policeman with no lights or poor brakes you were told off, and made to walk the bike home, unthinkable today, as in my view they are fat, lazy, and only concentrate on the motorist cash cow.

I own two cars & pay a little over £600.00 a year for the so called road tax. I live two miles from work & so I cycle there & back. How can another driver say to me "get some road tax" when I probably pay more than they do a year???

I think cyclists should pay a tax and have insurance to be on the public roads and they should be stopped from using the public footpaths

Why do all motorists assume that 'cyclists' don't also drive cars? They're not some other breed of 'untermensch', they're usually commuters who like to have their journey to work take the same time every day bypassing jams that are not of their making. I drive about 8,000 miles a year in one of my two cars and cycle about 4,000 miles on one of my three bikes. Maybe we should all try the 'walk a mile in my shoes' approach - I do! I agree with the sentiment expressed that cyclists should be insured, and as a member of the Cycle Touring Club, I am automatically for less than 40 quid a year. Not so sure that they should be forced to use cycle lanes though. The people that design them clearly don't try using them - most of my local ones are covered with dustbin bags usually put out days in advance, and fractured by tree roots. How the hell can you safely turn right from a bike lane invariably on the left without coming 'out of lane'? As for paying for the roads, I pay income tax, council tax and any other tax thrown at me. I have been since I was 18 and am now pushing 64. Tell me that bit again about cyclists not paying for the roads.

Car drivers only get annoyed by the idiot cyclists. If they all needed insurance and had highly visible number plates the aggressive morons could be driven out in the same way that idiot car drivers are forced off the road

I have more of a problem with them not using cycle tracks when they are provided it is as if they have a death wish especially when they weave in and out of traffic. i have more of a problem with people using phones when they are driving

I live on the coast in a tourist area. In the main most cyclists ride sensibly - the ones who do not are usually the ones dressed as if they are on the Tour De France and they ride the same, bunched up, 5-6 abreast, ignoring traffic built up behind them, they overtake with no hand signals, even overtaking cars by using the white line in the middle of the road. The average family cyclist no problem - the problem is these race wannabees in tights - we should have more cyclist behavioural rules and compliance

if cyclists want the same highway code rules as the highly taxed motorists surely they should abide by them, eg, where does it say you can jump red lights or mount the pavement when there's to much traffic or drive with no lights, no brakes, bald tyres, etc etc etc, maybe they should bring in an mot for cycles that way we all have to abide by the same rules,

It's not completely an emissions tax. Electric vehicles pay £0.00, BUT: picking an electric car at random from the web; it does 68 miles on full charge of 21.75 kwh. The Drax power station can generate 3960Mw of power and in a year creates 22,800,000 tonnes of CO2, which means 1 kwh electricity generates about 658g CO2; if that electric car is fully charged and driven for the full range, it actually generates approx 132 g/km CO2 (albeit not locally) which would put it in Band E petrol/Diesel of £125 year tax being avoided. [Assuming it was charged from the Drax power station feed to the National Grid.]

"So we pay ‘car tax’ not ‘road tax’ but the motorist is still paying either way?" Actually, anyone paying ANY tax is paying for the roads equally(ish) as it comes from the central pot. VED is a very small amount relative to other taxes that build this fund. We wouldn't want to go down the line of those who pay the most income tax have priority would we? ;-)

I live in the middle of the country, I come across hundreds of cyclists on a weekly basis, and on the whole I don't have a problem with them, its when you get groups of cyclists 4/5 wide and 15/20 long occupying more space than a lorry needs making all the traffic travel at 15mph, I'm sure there's a whole section in the highway code on travelling in groups on bikes, stating spacing between groups, single filed to allow larger vehicles to pass without incident. But the amount of time I have come across a pair of cyclists that decide that as its a country road they are just going to take the whole thing for themselves, sometimes you do want to get out and have a word, not worth it though, being the car driver you are automatically in the wrong, I've had a cyclist go into the back of my car because he was following too close, stupid fool, I got out and made sure he was alright, then issues him with a case for criminal damage, £200 for a new rear windscreen and re-spray. He tried to get out of it so many different ways, but luckily it was all documented :)

All cyclists pay the same rate of VED as zero emmision cars (£0.00). When I'm riding my bike, it means I'm causing less wear on the road than if I was to chose to use my car (for which I pay VED). It appears to me that many people who have a personal issue (some legitimate some not) with cyclists just use the whole VED/insurance rant as a stick to beat cyclists with (however illinformed their arguments are).

I think cyclists should be insured to ride on public roads and pay towards accidents in which they cause, instead of mororists losing some of there no claims discount.

If it's not Road tax but an emmisions tax then put it on the cost of fuel, more use more pay..Much fairer

I believe everyone who uses the road, whether it is by car, bus, bicycle or horse etc. should pay a proportionate rate towards the upkeep of the roads in addition to anything taken out of their 'general taxation' to pay for it. Heavier users who cause more damage should pay more. After all the wear and tear on our roads (no matter how small) caused by any road user has to be paid for and all road users want better and safer facilities. So everyone who uses the road should, in varying degrees, have to pay for the right. I bore witness the other day to a cyclist who, having damaged his bike riding into a small pothole, got off and took his vengeance out on the pot hole by continually kicking it and leaving a much larger pot hole to be repaired in his wake! - Maybe this is not the normal behaviour for cyclists but this sort of behaviour does happen in a minority of cyclists just in the same way that a minority of motorists behave badly too. I am also in favour of cyclists having to have insurance BY LAW if they use the public roads. I have been victim to an impatient cyclist's carelessness and lack of consideration for motorists. He tried to ride his bike past me while I was stationary at a junction. In doing so he scraped his handle bar along the side of my car resulting in my vehicle needing a full nearside re-spray. I challenged the cyclist who promptly told me to "F OFF", refused to give me his details and rode off knowing I was still stuck 3 cars back at the junction. He promptly disappeared from view. Police could do nothing even though the cyclist had broken the law and, I was stuck with having to claim on my insurance and seeing my insurance premiums increase! If ALL ROAD USERS, be they using, cars, lorries, bicycles or horses were by law required to pay an appropriate amount of insurance then a ‘road users tax’ could be added to that, easily collected on behalf of HMCE and used for the good of all.

cycles with no lights is the biggest problem for me

All cyclists over 16 should pay a 'vehicle' tax and have a disc showing they have paid. They should also pass a road test with knowledge of the Highway code especially the stopping distances of cars. students from all over the world attend Cambridge University and have no idea of how to cycle safely and with consideration. Clem Anderson's comments are spot on. He must live in Cambridge.

If cyclists had their bikes confiscated by police for ignoring red lights, one way street signs,riding on pavements and pedestrian centres, word would soon get around and we'd see more law abiding riders.

the tax should be scrapped and a new levy added to fuel,encouraging drivers to drive less and/or in a more fuel-conservational way.Nor could it be illegally avoided,and those using the roads more would pay their fair share.

Hi, I have an LPG car with zero emissions . How do I stand with tax on that..

I recently paid £280 tax on my Peugeot 307 - then I noticed that a BMW diesel car tax disc said "Nil" It's an emissions tax and there are plenty of cars on which no, or little, tax is paid. On that basis I think I should be paid to ride my bike !

Common sense and logic is now obsolete. Seen cyclists on pavements alongside cycle lanes, we have scooterers and skateboarders on pavements ! These are wheeled vehicles, so should they be on the road ? How about a scooter/skateboard tax ? Should there be a speed limit on pavements ? The worlds gone mad - just thought I'd join in.

Looking at the various comments I can see the many varied and interesting views, however, what no one has mentioned is insurance, surely if a car has to be insured and MOT tested then all forms of transport should be insured and tested, drivers have to wear seat belts for their safety then why are helmets not compulsory for cyclists and why is their no minimum age limit set for cyclists

I would argue that the majority of cyclist also have a car and therefore do pay a vehicle tax already. Patience is all that we need whether it be the cyclist jumping a red light or the motorist held up for a few seconds because of a cyclist. I don't worry about something today I will have forgotten about in 3 weeks time.

if it's a "Car Tax" and not a "Road Tax" why then are cars not allowed on the road if the have not got yet can park off road legally????

OK - it's car tax - not road tax, but let us not be kidded that it is any form of POLLUTION TAX - IT IS NOT! People are describing ELECTRIC CARS as pollution free - what a nonsense! If the electricity that charges the batteries for theses cars comes from a coal fired power station - then they are far from pollution free. All we have done is move the point of pollution. Consider also the vast amount of energy consumed in the making of the huge battery packs for an electric car - it's all a big con. Cars have been fitted with catalysts for twenty years now, the pollution from exhausts is minimal. The greatest source of pollution associated with the motor car now, is it's manufacture. How much power does a steel works and a car assembly plant consume? Vastly more than the pollution created by keeping post 1994 cars on the road. Be Green - keep your old car going. Buy second hand when you upgrade.

Perhaps the best way to convince everyone,is to call it pollution tax.

Can I just say to all those in favour of imposing a tax on cyclists You have not understood the story. As both a driver and cyclist I would happily display a tax disk on my bike. Happy in the knowledge the disk would be free as my bike is a zero emission vehicle, hence it would cost the tax payer for admin etc rather than raise revenue. This all depends on a level playing field regarding the criteria for taxation remaining the same as that of vehicles.

I'm a driver and a cyclist and would like to say cyclists do not wear out roads or damage curb stones like cars and vans do when they illegally drive on the pavements also I think the cost and job of trying to tax bikes and horses as someone suggested would be impossible.

As the argument is mostly about cyclists not paying road tax,it worth pointing out that the MAJORITY of cyclists I encounter, ride on the pavement.Their response when I remonstrate with them is, that it is not safe to ride on the roads.It may indeed not be safe to ride on the roads but it is a criminal offence to ride a bicycle on the pavements.When I was a thirteen yr old teenager I was punished in court for just for scooting by bike on the pavement and fined thirty shillings.When you consider that this was fifty years ago,that was a hell of a big fine.And the law regarding cycling on the pavement was vigourously implemented.In some cities there are cycling lanes and these are no doubt payed for by the taxpayer and as such, remuneration for the taxpayer should paid for by way of some sort of bicycle tax to be met by people of working age.There are millions of cyclists on the roads and one wobbly cyclists takes up as much room on the roads as a family car.So to stop ALL arguments a tax, even a small token tax of around say,£10.00 yearly,would help to meet the cost of providing cyclists with safe riding lanes..I believe this has been going on for years in Holland and perhaps other Euro countries.

I think ALL road user's, whether they are motorized or not should pay a tax. Why should car driver's and motorcycle's be penalized and not cyclist's and horse rider's.... I know that it's all being put down to pollution but does horse poo not give off some sort of emission, because it smell's awful enough to. I just think that all road users should pay a road tax regardless of how they get around our road's !!! I think insurance too !!

It is preposterous to claim that cyclists do not pay "car tax", I pay to keep four vehicles on the road three commercial vehicles and one car (about £1275) and I am a cyclist. I cycle to keep fit and look after myself as a responsibility and also because I enjoy it. So stop whingeing about cyclists and live and let live! Incidently I also have a qualification to ride bike, I passed a cycling proficiency test back in 1966 and I still proudly have the certificate and badge to prove it!

Way back in the mists of time - about a century ago (when I wuz in me yoof) - the government of the day decided that the roads were in such a dire state of repair that extra funding was required. So, a 'Road Tax Fund' was set up to maintain them and even pay for more of them. As the general populace wasn't able to afford the cost of a private motor car at that time it was decided that those who could - including general goods vehicles and traction engines - should bear the brunt of them. Unfortunately successive governments 'dipped in' to this fund to help keep the books balanced. Eventually the greater percentage of the fund was being (?unlawfully?) being so diverted that it became difficult to keep up the pretence that it was a 'road fund' and therefore it was renamed 'Vehicle Excise Duty' and simply sent, in toto, to the Treasury. Which brings us almost up to date. Following the Kyoto Agreement on atmospheric chemical pollutants - especially those that have been identified as greenhouse gasses - it has been seen as Politically Correct to tax those vehicles which emit more of these gasses per mile/kilometre than the ones that don't. For some of us this is not much of a burden as we drive cars which predate the introduction of the new regulations. But is it true that it's the "10% of old clunkers that produce 90% of the crap in the atmosphere"? I think not! I currently own and occasionally drive four such cars. One does 50mpg; one is run on LPG and the other two use 95% vegetable oil (mostly reclaimed) with a tinge 5% of unleaded to keep the viscosity down to levels the injector pump can take. Who is the greater polluter? Me, who can only drive one car at a time? Or a dirty great bus carrying a handful of passengers? You choose! In conclusion: Would you prefer to believe a politician or some random idiot (?what, me?) ranting on about the lies and thefts of the former?

It matters little what it is called, it is a charge which, if you are a motorist, you are not permitted on the road without having paid it. Simple as that. Logic would say, however, that whatever you are in/on/around, if you are in the road, you pay a tax or no-one pays a tax. this should apply whether you are sitting on a seat or a saddle of any sort. Nor should it matter how the transport is propelled, everything on the road should pay something, car, truck, bike, caravan, horse, trailer, whatever - or no-one?

The problem with our Country is unequal accountability, I seem to read about the most ridiculous cases where the Police prosecute a Motorist, for example, a chap sat stationary in traffic with his hand brake on, but because he didn’t have both hands on the steering wheel he was fined, another eating a chocolate bar when he was driving. It’s not an offence to smoke so why if you eat chocolate. I live near a one way circuit that has a cycle lane, whilst on it a cyclist came toward me on the wrong side of the road going in the wrong direction, he had no hands on the bike as he was texting so not even looking where he was going. I gave him a blast of the horn and got the finger and a mouthful of abuse. Road tax isn’t really an issue, consequences are. I see no reason why Cyclists shouldn’t have insurance and perhaps something like a number plate so we can report their recklessness and why shouldn’t they have to pass a test before they can use the open road. Also cycle lanes are provided from out tax’s to keep cyclists safe they should be fined if they don’t use them. When there is true accountability then cyclists would have an argument but there isn’t so they don’t!! So there !!!!!!!

OK it's now car tax but not road tax,so it's now down to pollution blah,blah.What do the government spend this revenue on the atmosphere.It's another tax making subject.Change the name back to road tax and improve the roads,what a joke come on you here,here men in parliament and look after the motorist's it's us that gets hit in the pocket's not your Lycra Cyclists,and that's no disrespect.

All cyclist's should be made to take a road user test both practical and written if they intend to use main roads. How many times do you see some idiot taking short cuts on public path ways and riding two abreast on roads and they are the first to complain about manourism to car drivers. Some are total posures with their fancy bikes and clothing but brainless to vehicle traffic Same with some horse riders on the roads, total nightmare with the horse sh--e.By the way do these people have to have insurance to use public roads,end of story.

if you don,t drive or drink or smoke you will not pay much tax when is the government going to wake up to a fairer united kingdom for all instead of the few

If VED is an environmental tax how come my P207 van costs £215 pa just because it has no windosw behind the doors a P207 car with same engine costs £30pa Hmmmm

I have nothing against cyclists. Riding a bike can be great fun. There is a certain breed of cyclist, usually in Lycra that is arrogant and confrontational, that ride on the road right next to a cycle path and two/ three a breast thus stopping traffic behind them. I wonder why car drivers get hot under the collar!!!

It would be great if we could reply to individual comments on here. There's so much bovine excrement that really needs addressing!

I am quite happy to pay an emissions-based tax and have no problems paying the same as an electric car or a Golf Bluemotion. Or maybe a tax based on the amount of damage my bike does to the road. But I also want a rebate based on the fact that I'll be saving the NHS money whilst contributing to lower congestion. And if this tax is to pay for the roads, then I want the duty I pay on cigarettes to pay for luxury smoking shelters every half mile. And I don't want non-smokers to be allowed in unless they pay a tax too. Maybe pedestrians can pay a pavement tax. Bunch of freeloaders.

Here we go,I had a bycycle years ago which I used regular and to get me to my work place doing shift work. On the front was a regular white lamp and the rear was a red lamp. This was to give you a beam of light to see a head,and the rear red light was to an indication for you to be seen by other road users so it was safety front and rear to your self. Well I now use a car and what I see on the roads today is ludricus. Cycles that must cost a fortune and the gear the cyclist has on must cost as much as the bike.What I am getting at is those stupid flashing lights they have fixed to the bike,their helmet and their backpacks. These lights have no viability until what so ever until you are up their ar-- e-- ,and how they can see in front of themselves on a foggy night is pure magical They are a danger to themselves and car users. The law should change so they must have high visibility front and rear lights