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Cyclists pay to use the road (So why say they don’t?)

By Horrid - 27 April 2009 118

I want to confront head-on something that usually comes up as a side issue in countless Riot Act threads, especially recently, and has offended my sense of justice and fairness. In any thread remotely related to road transport , sooner or later, someone always posts something that essentially says or implies that “cyclists don’t pay for the use of the roads”.

Yet, as has been explained countless times, 1) very nearly all adult cyclists pay registration fees on vehicles they leave at home while taking up less road space on their bikes, 2) most road building revenue comes from funds other than registration fees anyway, ie taxes paid by cyclists the same as anyone else, and 3) in any case, the benefits that cyclists bestow on the community (health, pollution, congestion, etc) more than outweigh the costs of providing cycle infrastructure.

So my question is not intended to restart the debate about whether cyclists pay to use roads- this is a question of fact, rather than opinion, and has already been answered above- they indisputably DO. Rather, my question is to those that, despite the well known facts above, still choose to make completely false statements to the effect that ‘cyclists don’t pay their way” or similar. Why is this?  Is it because you A) have never bothered to find out the facts? Or B) do know the facts but don’t understand them? Or C) you both know and understand the facts but choose to make such statements anyway, knowing they are false?

As a follow up question, if your answer is C) above, then why do you do it? Jealousy? A desire to create ill feeling against a minority? Because you want ALL the road space for yourself, including the part paid for by cyclists? Is it the feeling that says “until ALL cyclists obey the road rules then NONE of them should have any right to be on the road (which you would never apply to yourself or other motorists)?

None of this would matter too much were it not for the fact that such statements incite hatred (as I suspect is the deliberate intention of many of those making them) by falsely portraying cyclists as free-loaders, and thereby giving people an ‘excuse’ to drive less carefully and considerately than they otherwise might. This in turn leads to more dangerous conditions and ultimately deaths and injuries (perhaps something for discussion board editors, as well as posters, to think about?)

I doubt I will get any sensible response, let alone an honest answer, to the above questions from those that make the false accusations that cyclists don’t pay- but if nothing else, it’s worth reminding people that these accusations ARE false, and should be disregarded in any sensible conversation on transport.

What’s Your opinion?


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118 Responses to
Cyclists pay to use the road (So why say they don’t?)
vg 6:58 pm 27 Apr 09

“You always have to move into the second lane when passing”

Only if you’re driving a Sherman tank

rephlex 6:41 pm 27 Apr 09

@Tony – Strawman much?

The point being made here is that Cyclists do pay to use roads, not about the occasional cyclist riding on a road where the lanes aren’t so wide, which might cause someone to move over slightly, or change into a second lane if they have difficulty judging distances between their car and other objects.

Furthermore, your argument works just as well against Busses.. they should probably just bugger off as well huh

Horrid 6:22 pm 27 Apr 09

Ah the good old fuel excise furphy- a tiny fraction of the total revenue spent on roads, and used by the (C) brigade (to continue the adopted classifcation) to justify their entire argument.
Which reminds me- someone is bound to mention GST paid on cars and petrol, conveniently ignoring the fact that cyclists who save on these items simply spend their money on other things and still pay the same GST.
Good to get this garbage out and dealt with.

vg 6:13 pm 27 Apr 09

fiddlybits said :

Road construction and maintenance is funded by fuel excise (well, that part of the collected excise that isn’t used to pay for various non-road related follies). Fuel excise is paid by people who purchase fuel to use in motor vehicles. Bicycles do not use fuel. So apply (A) and (B) to yourself and stop doing (C).

But what if you drive and ride Einstein? Why don’t we licence people to get on buses using that logic? I mean ACTION pays for the fuel but the bus riders are ‘using’ your road

The sound you hear is your argument flying out the window

fiddlybits 6:07 pm 27 Apr 09

Road construction and maintenance is funded by fuel excise (well, that part of the collected excise that isn’t used to pay for various non-road related follies). Fuel excise is paid by people who purchase fuel to use in motor vehicles. Bicycles do not use fuel. So apply (A) and (B) to yourself and stop doing (C).

OpenYourMind2 5:49 pm 27 Apr 09

Why not have a RiotACT FAQ to cover off issues like this??

Jazz 5:49 pm 27 Apr 09

Josh,

There are about 20,000 new readers here since the last time this debate was had on RA. Its not old news to everyone.

josh 5:13 pm 27 Apr 09

the-whingeact

If it wasn’t cyclists, there’d be whinging about something even more relevant like, I dunno, the weather.

Cyclists and motorists won’t just magically get along, and shiny flu stated it pretty accurately above. Let’s quit beating this dead horse, hey?

Horrid 5:04 pm 27 Apr 09

It’s precisely because I am sick of seeing the same nonsense endlessly regurgitated that I made the original comment- if it were filtered out, as I too wish it were, it would not have been necessary to do so. Funny how it only becomes a boring repetitive topic when someone corrects the record.
But I am glad that others have identified the need for bike lanes on all roads not just some. Usually the same people that complain about cyclists holding people up are the same ones who think that no money (including that paid by cyclists) should be spent separating them.

monomania 4:58 pm 27 Apr 09

…… make a real mess.

shiny flu 4:57 pm 27 Apr 09

The simple answer is this:

When you realise that the world is populated with more idiots than people of reason/intelligence, it suddenly becomes a much easier place to live in.

monomania 4:46 pm 27 Apr 09

Do you even want an answer or is this just a way to vent your frustration. Poor old put upon cyclist. Your no free loader. Buck up, here’s a tissue. Remember, sticks and stones won’t break your bones but suddenly swerving out in front of a car moving faster than you might.

hetzjagd1 4:40 pm 27 Apr 09

I look forward to the day that there is enough going on in Canberra that posting on this site can be moderated and filtered of repeated opinion content like this.

Tony said :

On roads without dedicated cycle lanes, cyclist cause more traffic problems then they solve. You always have to move into the second lane when passing them

Can you find anything false about that statement, Horrid?

pptvb 4:08 pm 27 Apr 09

FOTW ?

Tony 3:46 pm 27 Apr 09

On roads without dedicated cycle lanes, cyclist cause more traffic problems then they solve. You always have to move into the second lane when passing then, usually causing a backup of traffic if the other lane already has traffic, and you have to slow before you overtake the cyclist.
Seems cyclist should be forced to sport rear view mirrors so they can actually see the chaos they cause behind them.

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