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.