A survey from research agency Consumer Intelligence claims that motorists want cyclists to pay ‘road tax’. By not realising how roads are paid for the company is failing to live up to the second part of its name. Roads are paid by general and local taxation. The belief that roads are paid for by ‘road tax’ or the ‘road fund licence’ is 76 years behind the times (the tax was abolished in 1937). The actual name for the tax that motorists pay is vehicle excise duty, a tax on vehicles, not a fee to use roads. Cyclists pay more ‘car tax’ than the general population: in 2011, Ian Austin MP asked a parliamentary question about the numbers of cyclists who own cars. Minister for Local Transport Norman Baker revealed that, according to the National Travel Survey, 83 percent of cyclists own cars, which is a percentage point higher than the number of non-cyclists who own cars.
The survey claims that 18 percent of cyclists would be willing to pay to use public roads despite the fact nobody pays to use public roads.
The survey also finds that more than ninety percent of motorists want cyclists to wear helmets. It does not appear the survey asked motorists whether they should be made to wear helmets. Details on the survey have appeared on the website for a regional newspaper but there’s no information on sample size, date of the survey, online or telephone, or other information on which to base the validity of the survey.
Consumer Intelligence of Bristol is said to be “an independent research agency that specialises in providing customer and competitor insight, gathering critical information on pricing, service and customer behaviour.”
The company claims it has “the skills, experience and technology underpinned by a methodology that is accepted by all of the relevant regulatory bodies.”
The Consumer Intelligence survey claims that 83 percent of motorists want cyclists to pass safety tests before taking to public roads. According to the survey, 75 percent of cyclists would be in favour of a compulsory helmet law.
Consumer Intelligence PR officer David Black said: “The popularity of cycling is unprecedented…but there is also a lot of animosity towards [cyclists] in some areas from other road users, particularly in busy towns and cities.”
One of the forms of animosity towards cyclists is the erroneous, corrosive belief from some motorists that “cyclists don’t pay road tax”, an erroneous, corrosive belief now given credence by a market research company that has worked for many blue-chip clients.
“There is much more that the Government, local authorities and companies could do to encourage cycling while improving the level of safety for cyclists and other road users, from making roads more safe to improving road surfaces or creating more secure areas for bikes to be locked up.”
The Consumer Intelligence survey claimed that 42 percent of cyclists cited poor weather as the biggest obstacle to people using their bikes more often. Safety is the biggest obstacle for 22 percent of cyclists, with a lack of cycle lanes being cited by 13 percent of the cyclists in the survey.
Road tax doesn’t exist. The ironically-named iPayRoadTax.com helps spread this message on cycle jerseys.