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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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Cyclists pay to use the road (So why say they don’t?)
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Postalgeek 9:50 am 01 May 09

Fishbat said :

Why is this rot in the environment category? Seems to me like political arse grease from pedal power… get it on your bike chain instead.

I think what you might’ve experienced on your chain was Arse Lube… no self-respecting cyclist uses Arse Grease.

Fishbat 11:36 pm 30 Apr 09

Why is this rot in the environment category? Seems to me like political arse grease from pedal power… get it on your bike chain instead.

PsydFX 5:18 pm 30 Apr 09

@Jim Jones

Jim Jones said :

There’s been some retarded comments in this thread, but you’ve really excelled yourself there champ.

Where this post is long dead, I wanted wanted you to know how you’ve excelled youself at looking ignorant, again, “champ”.

I had meant to make the following point shortly after my last comment, but sometimes, I do like to do other things than camp out on RA all the time.

Anyway, if the idea of Third Party Insurance for cyclists is so retarded why is it included with Pedal Power membership?

BeardBoy 10:45 am 29 Apr 09

Well said Jim Jones!

Pegs & Holes. Proportionality. Economies of Scale. Live & Let Live. ex-cet-era.

or to take another perspective…

Would you prefer that all the cyclists on whatever part of the road start using cars instead? “Ooo… it makes me wonder.”
Of course folks will understand this means more traffic, but add to that increased demand for (& so prices/competition for) every bit of car stuff- fuel, parking, booking a service, yadda x3.

So, in a way, cyclists are doing you a bit of a favour, how about a bit of…

Reciprocity.

Jim Jones 10:03 am 29 Apr 09

“What the majority of the comments have had are that bicycles should be as accountable as any other road user, given that they do have potential to do others injury and they DO have potential to damage property, why shouldn’t they be subject to the same rules as ALL other road users?”

Horses for courses. Cyclists have the ‘potential’ to do injury and damage property, but realistically this only happens once in a blue moon (and then it’s usually the case of a cyclist being hit by a car and leaving a dent). Why bother creating an enormous administrative monster, all for little to no result beyond wasting public money and wasting time.

As has been pointed out previously, cyclists are subject to road rules – there is a necessary difference because they are not cars.

The real problem here is the assumption that it’s only ‘normal’ or ‘natural’ for cars to drive on the road, and that anything else is impinging on this ‘normal’ way of doing things and needs to be reduced to this norm as much as possible. You can’t force an apple to be an orange, and I don’t know why anyone would bother.

harvyk1 9:48 am 29 Apr 09

Horrid said :

Summary:
No-one has raised a serious argument to prove that cyclists don’t pay their way. As already made clear, very nearly all adult cyclists pay registration and insurance on vehicles they then leave at home.

So what??? Everyone who has a vehicle has to purchase rego and insurance for THAT VEHICLE. It doesn’t matter if it’s a daily driver or only driven once a year. As we’ve pointed out numerous times, Rego and Insurance are not transferable between vehicles. I can’t simply register one of my cars and then drive the other because “I’ve already paid my taxes to drive”.

Also I have yet to see one truly anti-bike comment from the “bicycle haters” as you’ve put them. No one here has said that bikes shouldn’t be allowed. What the majority of the comments have had are that bicycles should be as accountable as any other road user, given that they do have potential to do others injury and they DO have potential to damage property, why shouldn’t they be subject to the same rules as ALL other road users?

Now the comment about pedestrians was made as road users. I disagree that they are road users. (Notice how I didn’t call you an idiot for holding a view point I don’t agree with), given except for a few circumstances, pedestrians are simply on the road for the purposes of crossing it. It’s rare that they will walk up the centre of a lane and expect cars to go around them.

Finally I’m in no way jealous of cyclists, because if I wanted to I can just as easily start ridding my bike for commuting. Furthermore even though bikes may get through built up traffic quicker than cars, they are still significantly slower than most of the arterial roads in Canberra, which means me as a driver will typically get to my destination faster than a cyclist.

Aeek 12:06 am 29 Apr 09

The cycle lanes on major roads are mostly for those drivers who can’t cope with cyclists, they shift the cyclists off to the side “out of the way”. Sorry, can’t see the problem.

dvaey 11:55 pm 28 Apr 09

Horrid said :

Summary:
As we are at post 100 or thereabouts will summarise things so far. This will be especially handy for those that have asked questions/made arguments that were already answered/rebutted in previous posts you did not bother to read.

So far…..
No-one has raised a serious argument to prove that cyclists don’t pay their way. As already made clear, very nearly all adult cyclists pay registration and insurance on vehicles they then leave at home, and then use a form of transport that takes up a fraction of the roadspace….

If you have two cars, one new one old and the new one is insured, if the old one is in an accident it is in no way covered by the new cars policy. The same applies to the CTP component of your motor vehicle registration. Also how have you proven that a cyclist pays their way anymore than a non-cyclist has paid for the road? For a car owner its easy, their registration contribution amongst other things.

So it is firmly established that anyone who says that cyclists don’t pay to use the roads is either ignorant of the facts and needs to educate themselves, or is deliberately making false statements seeking to incite hatred against a minority.

I havent seen any facts of how a cyclist pays more than a non-cyclist.

Being unable to accept these facts, the anti-bike brigade has gone into its favourite desperate side arguments to distract attention from the original topic- firstly that some cyclists break the law and therefore ALL cyclists should have any rights removed entirely- a sickening double standard that they would never apply to themselves as motorists, who they of course would expect to be treated as individuals depending on individual behaviour, not punished collectively.

As a courteous professional cyclist, would you not appreciate the chance to get the ID of people you see commit an offence on a bike to report them, the same way you could report a motor vehicle? We’re not saying remove rights entirely, we’re simply saying have some accountability. Motorists are all required to have a number plate displayed on their vehicle, as are all other road users (even excavators that crawl along at 5km/hr).

Some of them are so concerned about the need to identify lawbreaking cyclists that they want millions of dollars wasted on a cyclist licensing and identification system … Such is their hatred for cyclists and desire to ‘make them pay’ that they would prefer this to spending the same money in ways that would save a greater number of lives.

Slightly off-topic but it just cost me $15 to register my dog, for life. Do your comments above not apply similarly, that paying a small amount for registration in the event of any incident happening is unfair?

This will not, of course have any effect on removing cyclists from the roads that cyclist taxes pay for. We will still be there, like it or not. Accept it or get off the road yourself.

This brings me back to my original point back in the first dozen posts of this thread. My objection is in no way directed to cyclists in general, but to those who use the cycle lanes on public roads. This is a different situation to suburban streets where traffic levels and speeds are much lower. Someone above talked about parents having to register their kids bikes, which would not be an issue unless those kids were in the bike lanes on major roads. In which case, is it not in the parents interests that the kids at least have been taught the basic rules? These bike lanes dont appear on small suburban cul-de-sacs, they appear on major roads where in my opinion kids and people who dont understand the traffic rules shouldnt be.

bigred 10:25 pm 28 Apr 09

what does all this have to do with people pushing in down at woolies Dickson? How will it be solved?

Aeek 9:29 pm 28 Apr 09

Identifying? a cyclist is as identifiable as a pedestrian (they use the roads too) – you can see the person clearly, something that is not true of drives in these days of tinted windows.

Genie 9:08 pm 28 Apr 09

Oh and as a double post…

Clown Killer pointed out about people failing to indicate…. Were you not aware that indicators seem to be optional extras these days ??

Genie 9:07 pm 28 Apr 09

Cyclists DO pay to use the roads, HOWEVER cyclists DONT pay to use their BIKES on the road.

Deckard 8:55 pm 28 Apr 09

So, what the hell’s going on at the Brumbies??

monomania 8:45 pm 28 Apr 09

Horrid said :

Thanks Mono for so helpfully illustrating and reinforcing every point I was trying to make.

Well it’s a real shame that you believe that.

A point I was trying to make is that unless it is a toll road there is no user pays.
It really isn’t very smart to play into the we pay too argument. They’re everybody’s roads.

Another point was that the OP was essentially dishonest. A pretense for sensible response but essentially a rave.
You accuse people of getting off the point. How could one not. There was no real point other than having a bit of an argument.

And your purpose. To put the issue to bed once and for all. I doubt that comments will be censored regardless or that a controversial post will be denied unless you have convinced the proprietor that the opinions you have spotlighted really do incite cyclist hatred.

Horrid 7:22 pm 28 Apr 09

Thanks Mono for so helpfully illustrating and reinforcing every point I was trying to make.

monomania 7:00 pm 28 Apr 09

Of course this is as blinkered a view as any of those posted in the comments. Did you really begin this post with the view that people who hold the view that cyclists don’t pay their way would respond with a sensible argument or tell you why they held that view. You had already told them they were wrong in the nicest way because they were either a) ignorant b) stupid or c) motivated by spite or jealousy.

You advanced a range of arguments. Everyone pays for the roads through other taxes not through registration. We register other vehicles. We benefit the community in other ways. Both latter are completely irrelevant in the light of your initial reason and the second one somewhat overblown but obviously it makes you and others happy to believe and it seems, feel superior.

Then throughout the post anyone who doesn’t fully agree with you is only trying to distract from the purpose of the post. One can disagree with your views and not be anti-cyclist. For instance licensing drivers is a way of indicating that these people are qualified to use the roads not as a means of identifying them. The cost would not be high. That is not anti cyclist.

That a few people having the idea of user pays and cyclists don’t incites hatred is a real stretch. It just gets up your nose.

Horrid 6:09 pm 28 Apr 09

Summary:
As we are at post 100 or thereabouts will summarise things so far. This will be especially handy for those that have asked questions/made arguments that were already answered/rebutted in previous posts you did not bother to read.
So far…..
No-one has raised a serious argument to prove that cyclists don’t pay their way. As already made clear, very nearly all adult cyclists pay registration and insurance on vehicles they then leave at home, and then use a form of transport that takes up a fraction of the roadspace, causes negligible wear and tear on roads, does not require the massive infrastructure things that really cost money (flyovers and suchlike). Cyclists also pay very nearly all taxes that go into providing roads, and the very small proportion of taxes that they don’t pay is too negligible in the context of the total funding to make any fundamental difference to the argument. Cyclists also reduce traffic congestion, parking shortages, pollution and health problems saving taxpayers millions of dollars.

Some have pointed out that they also use more than one vehicle but have to pay rego on all of them even when driving just one. Instead of the logical approach, which is to lobby the government for a different system to eliminate this unfairness, they simply want to extend the injustice to include cyclists- which does not help them at all.

So it is firmly established that anyone who says that cyclists don’t pay to use the roads is either ignorant of the facts and needs to educate themselves, or is deliberately making false statements seeking to incite hatred against a minority.

Being unable to accept these facts, the anti-bike brigade has gone into its favourite desperate side arguments to distract attention from the original topic- firstly that some cyclists break the law and therefore ALL cyclists should have any rights removed entirely- a sickening double standard that they would never apply to themselves as motorists, who they of course would expect to be treated as individuals depending on individual behaviour, not punished collectively. And of course, completely irrelevant to the original topic. Of course the fact that a staggering proportion of motorists also break laws (but in vehicles with much greater capacity to hurt or kill people) is not a problem to them.

Some of them are so concerned about the need to identify lawbreaking cyclists that they want millions of dollars wasted on a cyclist licensing and identification system that might actually prevent a death every second decade or so, given the microscopically small proportion of total road deaths caused by cyclists to someone else. Such is their hatred for cyclists and desire to ‘make them pay’ that they would prefer this to spending the same money in ways that would save a greater number of lives.

Finally, several others have commented on how ‘done to death’ this topic is (but can’t resist adding to it anyway) however I indicated in an early post that this is precisely why the original posting was made- to expose this furphy once and for all.

I think that sums up the main points. Naturally, this will not change the opinion of the cyclist haters one bit- they will always view the world from the “fact” that all cyclists are lawbreaking freeloaders (after all they KNOW this, so any evidence to the contrary, no matter how overwhelming, must automatically be wrong). They will therefore continue to make completely false statements about cyclist contribution to road funding and incite hatred.

This will not, of course have any effect on removing cyclists from the roads that cyclist taxes pay for. We will still be there, like it or not. Accept it or get off the road yourself.

Postalgeek 6:00 pm 28 Apr 09

Zombie thread neeeds braaaainnnss… zombie thread starving!

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