Is cycling being oversold as free?

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Guy951
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Re: Is cycling being oversold as free?

Postby Guy951 » 8 Nov 2010, 8:15am

OldGreyBeard wrote: I would dearly love to see far far fewer cars on the road.

And you think the best way of doing that is to make cycling more expensive?

I don't own a car, yet the tax taken from the money I have to work to get is used to subsidise those people who get in their little tin boxes and drive ridiculously short distances*, clogging up the roads I have to use and polluting the air I have to breathe.

Why should I then have to pay more to not clog the road and pollute the atmosphere?

As for cycle parking at stations, that is a matter for Network Rail and the train operating companies. If they want to provide it for free (which they don't round here - they don't provide it at all) that's up to them.



*Something like 80% of all car journeys in England and Wales are under 3 miles!
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Si
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Re: Is cycling being oversold as free?

Postby Si » 8 Nov 2010, 9:11am

Guy951 wrote:
OldGreyBeard wrote: I would dearly love to see far far fewer cars on the road.

And you think the best way of doing that is to make cycling more expensive?


No, I believe that OldGreyBeard's point is that if you made cycling more acceptable to its decriers then that would encourage more cyclists and thus, fewer cars.

For instance, when cycling was seen as something that "poor people" who couldn't afford a car did, it was not so popular. But as cycling has become "sexier", and people can express positive life-style choices through ownership and use of a bike and all the accessories that go with it, cycling is becoming more popular (e.g. the recent articles about Alan Sugar cycling, and cycling being the new golf, etc). In this case, the expense is helping to sell bikes! Of course, this argument only applies to some, and there are as many reasons for taking up cycling as there are cyclists.

However, I have to agree with the criticisms of OldGreyBeard's suggestion - compared to private motor vehicles, cycling does seem to be under subsidised, and making people pay for the basics could be a mistake that puts the new bread of utility cyclists off.

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[XAP]Bob
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Re: Is cycling being oversold as free?

Postby [XAP]Bob » 8 Nov 2010, 11:33am

Don't know where my post went...

My local station has a decent amount of free cycle parking (which is normally pretty full) and some secure lockers.

The lockers have about a 25 year waiting list (based on current turnover and length of list), but even in the recent station renovation they did not increase the number available.


The costs of parking etc are there to reduce demand - see how much it takes to stop some people using the facilities so that there is enough supply.
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NUKe
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Re: Is cycling being oversold as free?

Postby NUKe » 8 Nov 2010, 1:16pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OcSD5MsQuVo

I think I see where the OP is coming from. I'd possibly be prepared t pay for a system like this. Although I don't commute by train. If I did then this would be worth having even if it cost money
Last edited by NUKe on 8 Nov 2010, 1:18pm, edited 1 time in total.
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kwackers
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Re: Is cycling being oversold as free?

Postby kwackers » 8 Nov 2010, 1:18pm

NUKe wrote:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OcSD5MsQuVo

I think I see where the OP is coming from. I'd possibly be prepared t pay for a system like. Although I don't commute by train. If I did then this would be worth having even if it cost money

I once rode all the way to work wondering why my bike felt odd. Guess I'd have found out pretty soonish with that system.

(I'd forgotten to tighten the front wheel).

Jonty

Re: Is cycling being oversold as free?

Postby Jonty » 8 Nov 2010, 2:12pm

I've no problem with Network Rail or whoever charging for the use of good, secure bicycle parking. Generally I go with the proposition that the people who use facilities should pay for them because if they don't someone else has to.
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mark a.
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Re: Is cycling being oversold as free?

Postby mark a. » 8 Nov 2010, 2:12pm

What's all this stuff about cars being subsidised? Can anyone point me to a source? Surely it can't be a net outlay for the economy? I would have thought that any subsidies are paid for by fuel tax, employment and whatnot.

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Re: Is cycling being oversold as free?

Postby MartinC » 8 Nov 2010, 4:31pm

mark a. wrote:What's all this stuff about cars being subsidised? Can anyone point me to a source? Surely it can't be a net outlay for the economy? I would have thought that any subsidies are paid for by fuel tax, employment and whatnot.


There are others better placed to reference the government's figures on this. My understanding is that about £4 billion is collected in VED and about £30 billion is spent on the roads (both annually). The other income and costs are less tangible. On one side there's VAT and other duty on fuel and car purchases. On the other side there are all the costs for administrating and policing car use, the cost of accidents (emergency services, medical, benefits, etc.), general health costs, pollution, congestion (including all the resources committed to parking). They're harder to estimate and attribute but they are significant. It's clear that motoring requires every tax payer to contribute because taxes attributable to motoring don't cover the cost by a large margin.

Whether and how much this subsidy contributes to the economy is a whole other argument in itself. What's clear to me is that this countries choice to subsidise the private motorist has produced a disfunctional transport system that's failing - ask the CBI for their view of the cost of congestion. It's easy to argue that in one of the most densely populated countries in Europe subsidising other forms of transoprt would benefit the economy much more.

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Re: Is cycling being oversold as free?

Postby mark a. » 8 Nov 2010, 5:06pm

Thanks Martin. I agree that it's not an easy question to answer, which I suppose I wonder where the £1500 - £3000 numbers come from.

By the way, this BBC News article says that fuel duty raised £26bn this year, so that plus VED seems to cancel out the road expenditure. Then it comes down to the costs of policing, accidents etc vs economic benefits. The devil will be in the detail, though.

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hubgearfreak
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Re: Is cycling being oversold as free?

Postby hubgearfreak » 8 Nov 2010, 6:06pm

asthma in children is higher in large cities than those in the countryside. i don't think ved covers this cost to society
also, what price 3000 deaths pa? - it's not cyclists, mobility scooterists, pedestrians or horse riders doing them

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Re: Is cycling being oversold as free?

Postby snibgo » 8 Nov 2010, 6:20pm

I recently saw a list of costs of congestion and so on, but can't remember where.

From "Reported Road Casualties Great Britain 2009":

The total value of prevention of reported road accidents in 2009 was estimated to be £15.8bn. This includes an estimate of the cost of damage only accidents but does not allow for unreported injury accidents. A number of assumptions have been made to produce a broad illustrative figure which suggests that allowing for accidents not reported to the police could increase the total value of prevention of road accidents to around £30 billion.

Edit: Of course, not all of this £15.8-30B is "subsidised", ie paid for by the government. For example, damage to a vehicle would be paid by an insurance company.

OldGreyBeard
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Re: Is cycling being oversold as free?

Postby OldGreyBeard » 8 Nov 2010, 6:44pm

Guy951 wrote:

OldGreyBeard wrote: I would dearly love to see far far fewer cars on the road.


And you think the best way of doing that is to make cycling more expensive?



No, I believe that OldGreyBeard's point is that if you made cycling more acceptable to its decriers then that would encourage more cyclists and thus, fewer cars.


Not really. My point is that if cycle facilties such as cycle parking at stations can make money, people will invest in them and us cyclists wil get better facilties. At the moment they are just a cost unlike car parking which makes money as the charges are totally unregulated.

There is a clear tension within the train operator that serves my local station between those who want to get people on trains and those who want to make money from car parks. For example, weekend and off peak parking used to be free, then they cranked it up to full price. (£6.50 per day). The number of passengers fell significantly and so they have had to introduce discounts for off peak.

The thing to remember is that the train operators are in it to make a profit, not provide a public service. Any public sevice input tends to come in the form of public subsidies which will inevitably reduce. These subsidies like those for buses are very visible unlike those for cars and are thus vulnerable.

Thanks to all those taking part. This is a really interesting thread!
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cjchambers
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Re: Is cycling being oversold as free?

Postby cjchambers » 8 Nov 2010, 9:14pm

(Focussing on the railway aspect rather than the VED aspect. . . )

Surely a 'two tier' bicycle parking system can be made self funding? Paid-for lockers for regulars alsongide free sheffield stands for casual users or less-well-off people. I'm sure it could be made so that those who wanted the luxury and security of a locker would also be paying for the sheffield stands?

Another thought - in a town/city (like my own, Salisbury) where the car park is pretty much full by 9am, cycling is the only practical way for people to get to the station, so the rail companies really could make more money by encouraging people to make a cycle/train hybrid journey. My local MP put something in his election manifesto about "Improvements to rail links by improving railway car parking capacity". I thought about writing to the local newspaper pointing out the irony, but I don't think many people would have recognised it as irony.

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Re: Is cycling being oversold as free?

Postby OldGreyBeard » 8 Nov 2010, 10:11pm

But how willing are cyclists to pay for facilties? Judging by this thread, not very!
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One of the most important days of my life was when I learned to ride a bicycle - Michael Palin

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Re: Is cycling being oversold as free?

Postby Jonty » 8 Nov 2010, 10:15pm

snibgo wrote:I recently saw a list of costs of congestion and so on, but can't remember where.

From "Reported Road Casualties Great Britain 2009":

The total value of prevention of reported road accidents in 2009 was estimated to be £15.8bn. This includes an estimate of the cost of damage only accidents but does not allow for unreported injury accidents. A number of assumptions have been made to produce a broad illustrative figure which suggests that allowing for accidents not reported to the police could increase the total value of prevention of road accidents to around £30 billion.

Edit: Of course, not all of this £15.8-30B is "subsidised", ie paid for by the government. For example, damage to a vehicle would be paid by an insurance company.


The "costs" of road congestion in the UK vary depending on the assumptions. Some put it at about £12 to £15 billion, roughly 1% of GDP.
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