Bicycle Tax

Jonty

Bicycle Tax

Postby Jonty » 16 Oct 2010, 1:55pm

Should cyclists not pay some sort of "road tax"?
Other road users pay for the privilege of using the roads, so why not cyclists? Monies raised could be hypothecated to enhance cycling infrastructure and cycle training.
It could also result in cyclists having greater "political clout" as they would be seen to be contributing financially to our transport infrastructure, as well as possibly being treated with greater respect by other road users.
It would also raise some revenue which is not to be sniffed at in the current economic circumstances.
How would such a tax be collected?
An annual tax like the road tax for a vehicle could be impractical because of the costs of collection and, I suspect, there are many bikes which are only used infreqently, if at all.
On the other hand a one-off tax on new bicycle sales could be readily implemented.
jonty

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Re: Bicycle Tax

Postby rualexander » 16 Oct 2010, 2:07pm

:roll:

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Re: Bicycle Tax

Postby rower40 » 16 Oct 2010, 2:12pm

Excuse me while I take this one step further...

Should pedestrians not pay some sort of "road tax"?
Other road users pay for the privilege of using the roads, so why not pedestrians? Monies raised could be hypothecated to enhance walking infrastructure and crossing-the-road training.
It could also result in pedestrians having greater "political clout" as they would be seen to be contributing financially to our transport infrastructure, as well as possibly being treated with greater respect by other road users.
It would also raise some revenue which is not to be sniffed at in the current economic circumstances.
How would such a tax be collected?
An annual tax like the road tax for a person walking could be impractical because of the costs of collection and, I suspect, there are many people who only go out now and again, if at all.
On the other hand a one-off tax on new shoe sales could be readily implemented.

Reductio ad absurdum.

Simply raising the purchase price of bikes (or shoes!) will make fewer people take up the activity, causing increased obesity, health risks and long-term costs to the NHS. Cyclists (and pedestrians) will never get the respect they deserve from some motorists; a "Larger-vehicle-presumed-liability" law might change that.
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Re: Bicycle Tax

Postby meic » 16 Oct 2010, 2:12pm

You are a bit late coming up with this, it has been covered a few times already.

A BIG flaw in your argument is that it is based on a false premise that vehicles pay to use the road. In fact "Car Tax" is based theoretically but very inaccurately on pollution with many motorised users paying nothing, just like the almost perfectly non-polluting cycle.
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Re: Bicycle Tax

Postby meic » 16 Oct 2010, 2:17pm

A tax on new cycles would be fine by me as it would encourage a bit more use of old machines instead of them being (almost criminally) taken to the tip.
It would be a very odd move when the world is under a "greater threat than international terrorism" in the form of global warming and you get a £2,000 subsidy to scrap an old car inorder to buy a new one.
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Si
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Re: Bicycle Tax

Postby Si » 16 Oct 2010, 2:21pm

Jonty wrote:Should cyclists not pay some sort of "road tax"?

Why, no one else pays "road tax" so why single out cyclists?

Jonty wrote:Other road users pay for the privilege of using the roads, so why not cyclists? Monies raised could be hypothecated to enhance cycling infrastructure and cycle training.

Other road users don't pay for using the roads. They pay to license a vehicle based up criteria such as emissions. Low emission cars, such as some hybrids don't pay VED, so why should virtually zero emission cycles?

Jonty wrote:It could also result in cyclists having greater "political clout" as they would be seen to be contributing financially to our transport infrastructure, as well as possibly being treated with greater respect by other road users.

Transport superstructure is payed for out of general taxation, so any cyclist who pays tax already supports it. The fact that bottom feeders come up with "you don't pay road tax" despite the reality being that no one does, demonstrates that they care little about "road tax" and are just looking for reasons to get rid of cyclists - in my experience when it is demonstrated that no one pays "road tax" they quickly move onto some other equally insane justification for their prejudices.

Jonty wrote:It would also raise some revenue which is not to be sniffed at in the current economic circumstances.

No it wouldn't - based up on emissions, which VED is, the stupidly small amount that cyclists would have to pay would cost more in admin and collection than it would make.

Jonty wrote:How would such a tax be collected?

It wouldn't.

Jonty wrote:An annual tax like the road tax for a vehicle could be impractical because of the costs of collection and, I suspect, there are many bikes which are only used infreqently, if at all.

There is no "road tax".

Jonty wrote:On the other hand a one-off tax on new bicycle sales could be readily implemented.

You mean like VAT - the tax that is already charged on buying bikes and goes into general taxation to fund the transport infrastructure as well as many other things?


Sorry, but this subject has come up so many times and the suggestion has been proved over and over again to be totally impractical and illogical.

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Re: Bicycle Tax

Postby essexman » 16 Oct 2010, 2:35pm

<mod: please refrain from using the 'T' word>
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Re: Bicycle Tax

Postby snibgo » 16 Oct 2010, 3:06pm

As others have swiftly pointed out, road tax on cyclists is a seriously bad idea.

Come the day when few vehicles emit nothing worse than water, I expect VED will be revisited. But I doubt that human-powered (or animal-powered) vehicles will ever be taxed more than the usual VAT, nor should they be.

If we ever reach a state where most vehicles are powered by humans or animals, society will have other more interesting problems to resolve.

Jonty

Re: Bicycle Tax

Postby Jonty » 16 Oct 2010, 4:04pm

If such a tax were introduced I suspect it wouldn't be popular with cyclists!
Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) commonly known as Road Tax is simply a tax-generating measure. It main purpose isn't to reduce pollution but to generate revenue. It's dressed up in a way to give the impression that it's a "Green" tax for political reasons IMO.
I'm sure that if the amount of revenue it generates started to fall the tax bands would be quickly revisited.
Why should certain road users pay this additional tax such as motorists and motorcyclists and others like cyclists not pay it.
Surely that's unfair?
I think extending the argument to pedestrians is going to far. I'm certainly not suggesting it. I would suggest that a cyclist who's "competing" for road space with a car or lorry driver has more in common with them as a road user than a pedestrian.
Of course all taxes go into a big pot and this is used to fund road infrastructure and all public services. There's nothing to stop any monies raised by a bicycle tax going into the same communal pot.
I suggest the principle of a bicycle tax is a strong one: it would raise money for the Exchequer; it would be more equitable to other road users; it could increase the political clout of cyclists; and the attitudes of some other roads to cyclists might change if they thought cyclists were no longer getting a "free ride".
I think that VED and fuel tax should be abolished and replaced by a compensating tax on fuel. This would simplify administration and ensure that those who drove most paid most.
If the same principle were applied to cyclists perhaps a higher rate of VAT - say 25% - should be applied to bicycle tyres, tubes and other components, all of which seem to be imported.
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Re: Bicycle Tax

Postby wirral_cyclist » 16 Oct 2010, 4:09pm

Jonty wrote:<BIG SNIP>
If the same principle were applied to cyclists perhaps a higher rate of VAT - say 25% - should be applied to bicycle tyres, tubes and other components, all of which seem to be imported.
jonty


I think you have an idea at the bottom here, but 20% would be fairer, how about we start it at New Year :wink:

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Re: Bicycle Tax

Postby snibgo » 16 Oct 2010, 4:17pm

Jonty wrote:Why should certain road users pay this additional tax such as motorists and motorcyclists and others like cyclists not pay it.
Surely that's unfair?


Cars that emit no CO2 pay zero VED. While that is the case, it would be unfair to charge cyclists.

If you want cyclists to pay the equivalent to fuel tax, you'd have to tax food more. And why not? Pedestrians who expend energy walking would pay more of this new tax, while people who sit in cars all day wouldn't.

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Re: Bicycle Tax

Postby Si » 16 Oct 2010, 4:22pm

Jonty, could you explain exactly what costs are coming out of the road maintenance/building budget and going towards cyclists? I assume that you have actually checked your facts before making this proposal haven't you? Now that you are looking at what is spent on repairing the damage done by cyclists, please compare it to what is spent on repairing the damage done to the road system by motorised vehicles.

OK, done that? Now, does it not occur to you that either the amount that cyclists would have to pay is so small that it would cost more money to collect it than it actually brings in - thus it depletes the amount available to spend on roads. Or, if the amount is to be big enough to make a contribution after collection costs are paid, you are vastly overcharging cyclists for the damage that they do, now that is what is known as "unfair" and likely to put people off cycling.

The comparison with pedestrians is perfectly reasonable - both do similar amounts of damage (ie virtually none) to the roads compared to motor vehicles.

Given that cyclists do an infinitesimally small amount of damage to roads, why are you insisting that they pay even more than their fair share when the vast majority are already doing so?

I think that you really should re read the explanations given to you so far as you do seem to be going to great pains to dig yourself into a bit of a hole here :wink:

Jonty

Re: Bicycle Tax

Postby Jonty » 16 Oct 2010, 5:30pm

snibgo wrote:
Jonty wrote:Why should certain road users pay this additional tax such as motorists and motorcyclists and others like cyclists not pay it.
Surely that's unfair?


Cars that emit no CO2 pay zero VED. While that is the case, it would be unfair to charge cyclists.

If you want cyclists to pay the equivalent to fuel tax, you'd have to tax food more. And why not? Pedestrians who expend energy walking would pay more of this new tax, while people who sit in cars all day wouldn't.


Some very strong points here, snibgo, iMHO. Perhaps VAT on basic footstuffs needs to be revisited. I agree that whilst no CO2 cars pay zero VED, it would be unfair to charge cyclists.
Si - my argument isn't to do with road maintenance. My reasons as set out above are to do with equity of approach and the benefits to cyclists which could arise from cyclists being seen to make an additional contribution similar to other road users, excepting pedestrians of course.
I agree that any bicycle/cycling tax would be small compared with the additional taxes levied on other roads users like motorists. But that doesn't negate the principle.
The only outstanding issue is how much and how?
As stated above one possibility is for bicycle shops to charge a higher rate of VAT, say 22% from January 2011. :wink:
Another possibility is to have a bicycle licence, say £10 a year or £15 per household per year. This money could be used to establish mandatory cycle training before cyclists are allowed to cycle on public highways.
jonty :wink:

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Re: Bicycle Tax

Postby snibgo » 16 Oct 2010, 6:08pm

I'm not sure if you are being serious, Jonty. I'll assume you are. It's worth revisiting the arguments from time to time.

Jonty wrote:... cyclists being seen to make an additional contribution similar to other road users, excepting pedestrians of course.

And horses? Dogs? Mobility scooters? Ordinary scooters?

You see, the current approach is that some (but not all) motor vehicles pay VED. No one else does.

In my view, it makes more sense to abolish VED entirely than to apply it to more road users.

And I agree with the others that cyclists wouldn't benefit from making "an additional contribution", whether as some form of license or extra VAT. In addition to the reasons already given, it would be regressive, taxing people who can't afford to drive.

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Re: Bicycle Tax

Postby [XAP]Bob » 16 Oct 2010, 6:14pm

Jonty wrote:The only outstanding issue is how much and how?

The only amount that doesn't simply cost the gubbinment money is zero.

Driving reduces CV activity and therefore has a direct and significant contribution to the nations health (or lack thereof).
Cyclists should (by this measure) be credited, not taxed, as they save large sums of money which the NHS would otherwise have to spend.

At is is "official policy" (i.e. we'll talk about it but do nothing) to promote cycling I'd like to see essential* cycling paraphernalia VAT exempt. That would actually bring the costs of cycling down - and probably do more to promote cycling than many of the recent efforts (Bike to work scheme is no best if you pay LOTS of tax (i.e. need it least))

* I think we can probably save money by just granting exempt status to everything, including track and CF bikes.

Additionally all bikes not explicitly marketed/sold as competitive racing bikes should have provision for mudguards, panniers and lights. Most road bikes (i.e. non racing, non off road) should have them fitted by default (in the same way that the motor industry now has an "average mpg across your range must be...)

jonty :wink:

I do hope this means that you are simply playing devil's advocate...


I do however agree with your proposal to scrap VED and put an equivalent amount on fuel.
I also propose that we increase the cost of an MOT, have an associated displayed disc which constitutes third party insurance for that vehicle (Individual drivers may also take out further insurance at their own discretion)

In other dreams:
Initial drivers training should be done off road (on abandoned air fields or similar) and should include a theory test as well as 'normal', night, rain and skid pan practicals before the provisional license is issued. A further motorway practical would also be required.
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