“You Don’t Even Pay Road Tax!”
So this afternoon, on my way back from the Team Valley, I dropped in to my local Apple dealer to see about some more memory for my PowerMac.
The guy I usually deal with was outside indulging in his recreational drug (nicotine), chatting with a friend of his. As I rode up, this guy looked at me, looked at the bike, and said,
I hate cyclists - you don’t even pay road tax.
How to win friends and influence people. Not.
So I tried the usual lines:
- Actually, I DO pay ‘road tax’, as I do also drive a car
- OK, so you’re right, I don’t pay tax on this vehicle (bike). But do you seriously believe that it creates as much wear and tear on the road as a car?
- Oh, so I shouldn’t be on the road anyway? Right. Here’s my thing - bikes, pedestrians and horses have a right to use the road. YOU are using it under license, which can be taken away from you.
At this point, the guy decided that he had to be going, and I think we were both thinking the same thing as he walked away:
Good grief - what a total a-hole.
So just in case you get into this kind of discussion and want a snappy comeback that’s even better than, “Yeah, well why don’t you just f*** off and die”, here’s some facts to have to hand:
- Road Tax (Road Fund Tax) was abolished in 1936. Since then, tax collected on vehicles (Vehicle Excise Duty - VED) has been part of the Treasury’s general tax income, spent on whatever the government see fit. It is not a hypothecated tax that raises revenue for roads.
- Tell them you pay ‘Road Tax’ at the same rate as the current models of the Ford Fiesta, VW Polo and Seat Ibiza. For climate change & environmental reasons, VED is based on a vehicle’s emissions, and currently all vehicles with emissions less than 100g CO2 per km traveled pay VED of £0.
- If the motorist you’re talking to still doesn’t want bikes on the road, ask where they should be. The usual response will be “On the pavement” (that’s the sidewalk if you’re over there), to which you can reply that you would ride on the pavement, but that would be a breach of Section 72 of the Highway Act 1835, amended by Section 85(1) of the Local Government Act 1888, which specifically extended the prohibition to include cycles.
- Finally, if all else fails, you can just point at the motorist’s flabby body and laugh. Because as we all know, cars really do make you fat.