When motorists believe they’ve paid for use of the road, they can be dangerous

Some motorists believe cyclists are lesser beings, and shouldn’t get in the way of cars. Why? Because of the shockingly widespread belief that cyclists don’t pay for roads.

In fact, we do. We all do. Everybody pays. Every tax-payer, that is. Road maintenance, road building and road design are all paid for out of general and local taxation. Motorists do not pay for roads. Road tax does not exist, has not existed since 1937. It’s now car tax, vehicle excise duty, a tax on emissions.

In the Spring edition of ‘Good Motoring’ from GEM Motoring Assist, columnist Jane King said cyclists were “itinerant road users.”

Hating on horse riders, too (they also ‘get in the way’ of cars), King wrote:

“You’d think that cyclists, being at one with the elements, would be able to deal sensibly with [passing motorists]. Unfortunately, certainly of late, this group seems to consist of real and exacting enthusiasts who behave as if every training trip is a stage of the Tour de France. And, as such they have a narrow blinkered vision of how the road should be used at that moment – which is purely for them. The motor vehicle must, and will, take at least second place. Sorry – who pays road tax, exactly?”

Such ignorance of what and who pays for roads can lead to violence against anybody not in a motorised vehicle. There are legions of examples of motorists abusing cyclists for “not paying road tax.” (Although horse riders don’t get tarred with the same brush: it’s obviously a money thing. Some motorists assume anybody on a bike is a pauper, and can’t possibly own a car, too. Which is daft because cars can be pretty cheap, a lot cheaper than decent top-flight bikes, for instance).

In Brazil on Friday, one motorist took the law into his own hands and smashed into a peaceful, beautiful Critical Mass ride.

This helmetcam footage is horrific, showing a speeding VW Golf ramming its way through 150 cyclists.

Brazilian drivers pay Imposto sobre Propriedade de Veículos Automotores or IPVA, our equivalent of VED. However, this site for Brazilian newcomers calls it a ‘road tax’.

Who knows what went through the mind of the 47-year old male driver seen causing the carnage in that footage? He was held up for a few minutes by folks on bikes and he suddenly lost it, rear-ending unsuspecting cyclists in a few seconds of madness. Apologist commenters on YouTube videos of the incident have said he had a sick passenger in the car and was desperate to get past the cyclists, who were blocking just one road among many in this Brazilian city.

Do those who decry Critical Mass as “irresponsible” say the same about fuel protestors who block roads? Or how about taxi drivers blockading London for an hour? “We are sorry that we have to block the streets to make our voices heard, but we feel we have no other option,” said a London cabby last year, who very possibly rants when he sees the few minutes of disruption caused when Critical Mass rides past.

Thankfully, it appears none of the hit cyclists were killed, but they could have been. Many were badly injured and there was an ugly, sickening pile of smashed bikes. The driver absconded, but not before reportedly removing his number plates. So, did police chase him down? No, they are waiting for him to turn himself in, a promise made by the 47 year olds lawyer. In Brazilian media reports, the police are still calling the carnage an “accident.”

Back to the UK…
Motorists do not own the roads, nor do cyclists, or equestrians. We all have the right to pass and re-pass on public roads. Those motorists who truly believe their annual car tax payment is a fee to use roads are 100 percent wrong. Some who believe this, begrudgingly allow cyclists to “share the roads, paid for by motorists” but who knows how many close-shaves – the buzzing of cyclists – is due to this mistaken belief? Too many. Way too many.

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iPayRoadTax.com is an ironically-named campaign supporting the road rights of cyclists. The message that cyclists have equal rights on the roads is carried on iPayRoadTax t-shirts and jerseys.

  • Mr B J Mann

    No, no one’s sure of the spelling, or the pronounciation, hence the courtesy of the shortening.nnAnd Bogush is a diminutive for my first name, though most people settle for Bob (even when I’m one of several present.nnNone of which explains your obsessive desire to publicise my name, contact details, not just my home and work, but commute route, details, etc.nnPlanning an ambush somewhere?nnYou guys really, REALLY ought to read your responses.nnAll I’m doing is revealing some facts you’d rather not hear.nnI’t would be bad enough if you just put your fingers in your ears, and sang LA_LA_LA_ LOUDLY!nnBut the kind of responses, not just on fora, but out in the real world, is truly frightening.nnAnd that from people in charge of a few kilos of steel that can kill almost as effectively as an evil spedophiles one ton car!nnThe facts speak for themselves. As do the cyclists’ responses.nnAnd, more worryingly:nnTheir physical reactions!

  • Mr B J Mann

    “I am an investigative journalist. It’s my job to find facts, including working out the identity of a person with such inflammatory views.”nnFound the true facts on the fatality figures yet?nnOr even what this means in law:nn”We all have the right to pass and re-pass on public roads.”nnOr even that there’s a Cylists Section of the Highway Code (and what the significance of the Rules are).nnStating the facts on certain forums might inflame certain persons, that’s not the same as having inflammatory views.nnn”It doesn’t take much investigating to find out your views on climate change, cyclists, trams in Nottingham and other things which you appear to think hinder your right to drive.”nnReally? And ever thought that it doesn’t take much investigating to find out your views on motorists and other things which you appear to think hinder your right to ride?nnOr that someone trying to set the record straight on road safety issues is simply, errrmmmm, trying to set the record straight on road safety issues and make the roads safer for all of us.nnnn”It’s clear you delight in trolling on forums, it’s just unusual you do so using your real name.”nnUnlike you of course.nnBecause you KNOW you’re right.nnHave you found those fatality figures in Hansard yet?nnCyclists killed by cyclists as well as pedestrians killed by cyclists?nnnAnd would you like to answer this simple question:nnIf they managed to drive motorists out of their cars, and lost the near u00a350 BILLION pa in Road RELATED Tax, would the government:nna) Cut the NHS Budget by u00a350 Billion and continue maintaining roads, paths and pavements for cyclists, pedestrians and bus users.nnb) Cut the expenditure on roads and railways, and slap u00a350 Billion on public transport and cyclists.nnFeel free to add as many alternative ansers as you like.nnn”For that you should be applauded. If only more trolls were so up front.”nnSo your definition of troll is anyone who you disagree with.nnnn”I can see you don’t just troll on bike and tram forums you also upset fellow travellers on motoring forums. Heck, there’s even an entry on Urban Dictionary for one of your other forum names. Your real first name? Bogush.”nnYes, I upset a lot of people. I think it’s because I hold a mirror up to them, and they don’t like what they see.nnEven on motoring forums.nnFor example one forum insisted on highlighting the fact it supports rail as well as road (several of it’s supporters travelled first class, though I doubt they paid personally) and argued motorists shouldn’t be confrontational.nnEver seen a rail forum arguing in support of motorists?nnThey didn’t like me pointing that out, or the discrepancies in tax levels and subsidies (and, no, I’m not against rail, just wasteful subsidy, eg on rarely used branch lines where you could help more people by giving them chauffeur driven rolls for less cost, having said that, if it’s an importantu00a0strategic alternative link, I’m quite happy for it to be subsidised even if it’s never used).nnOr another which wanted to beat up a guy for daring to ASK (NOT do it) if it was true that blocking the exit from a drive was illegal, but not entrance to it (it is – the first stops you using the Highway, the second doesn’t!). They also mocked him for obvious dyslexia. And banned me for daring to defend him. The disturbing thing was a policeman in their inner circel had confirmed the same point a few weeks earlier, and none of them, including him,u00a0were aware of the fact when it came up again!nnnnSo, no, I don’t mind upsetting people with the truth.nnTo improve knowledge, and, hopefully, public safety.nnIf that makes me an unpopularu00a0troll, so be it.nnnnAnd as this forum amply demonstrates, not even those lovely, cuddly cyclists try to win an arguement by being nice.nnIn fact, they seem to think the way to win friends and influence people is to display a psychopathic hatred of anyone who doesn’t completely agree with them.

  • Bristol Traffic

    You will find that if you have a manual transmission, you can usually set your speed by the sound the engine makes in 3rd gear. If you go into gear 4 then you are going too fastnnRegarding this “ABD myth” -lives lost by people glancing at the speedo” it shows how out of touch they and you are with today’s drivers. Today’s drivers are looking at the phone, and even looking where they are going is something to be surprised by. You appear tou00a0 still be living in a world where people put gloves and caps on to go out in square-wheeled austin allegros.nnThe trains are an interesting story, because having lived in the US, where level crossings are ubiquitous, not only does the US driving test cover how to handle level crossings well, you soon learn to show extreme caution to them. In the UK, one could argue that it is lack of experience of level crossings that leads to problems, especially car/lorry and train collisions. Everyone is so used to running most red lights that when they reach a level crossing then they act the same way -at best hitting the gates, at worse hitting the trains.nnRegarding the MoT failure, yes, the punishment should be higher. That doesn’t mean that drunk driving penalties should be reduced. The other under-addressed issue is that there are too many people driving who aren’t medically safe to do so. The only illness that GPs are required to report is epilepsy, but there are many other illnesses that can affect driving -and are often used in defence of some crash- yet it still seems acceptable to go out when only slightly ill, when your vision degrades “a bit”, or when you are getting old and reaching a state where your neck brace prevents you turning your head to one side.

  • Mr B J Mann

    Sorry, but did you actually address ANY of my points directly?nnBut I wouldn’t dream of being so discourteous.nnn”You will find that if you have a manual transmission, you can usually set your speed by the sound the engine makes in 3rd gear. If you go into gear 4 then you are going too fast”You will find that cyclists “argue” that motorists are so cocooned in their whisper quiet one ton killing machines they are oblivious to everything.You haven’t bothered to check with your psychologist colleagues, never mind neuroscientists, about how the brain actually works, have you?And haven’t begun to address this point about speedos, hazard recognition, and the relative importance of speed, distance, cognition, etc.nn”Regarding this “ABD myth” -lives lost by people glancing at the speedo” it shows how out of touch they and you are with today’s drivers. Today’s drivers are looking at the phone, and even looking where they are going is something to be surprised by. You appear tou00a0 still be living in a world where people put gloves and caps on to go out in square-wheeled austin allegros.”And you in the days of wicker baskets, bicycle bells, and courteous cyclists.So your point is? Or haven’t you heard of the phone? Oh, you couldn’t because you were listening to your ipod while texting and hopping on and off the pavement.So your point is?n”The trains are an interesting story, because having lived in the US, where level crossings are ubiquitous, not only does the US driving test cover how to handle level crossings well, you soon learn to show extreme caution to them. In the UK, one could argue that it is lack of experience of level crossings that leads to problems, especially car/lorry and train collisions. Everyone is so used to running most red lights that when they reach a level crossing then they act the same way -at best hitting the gates, at worse hitting the trains.”Yada, yada, yada……And what has that to do with trains doing the ton past crowded platforms, through busy crossings, and along other stretches of track on which they know there is a high risk of PEDESTRIANS on the track GETTING KILLED?!?!Or of children being brainwashed into reclaiming the (rail) roads and believing vehicles MUST stop for them?!?!?!”Regarding the MoT failure, yes, the punishment should be higher. That doesn’t mean that drunk driving penalties should be reduced. The other under-addressed issue is that there are too many people driving who aren’t medically safe to do so. The only illness that GPs are required to report is epilepsy, but there are many other illnesses that can affect driving -and are often used in defence of some crash- yet it still seems acceptable to go out when only slightly ill, when your vision degrades “a bit”, or when you are getting old and reaching a state where your neck brace prevents you turning your head to one side.”Are you talking about sick cyclists there?And what has any of that distracting diatribe got to do with the fact that reactions to road safety issues are unreasonable,u00a0illogical, and hysterical?

  • Mr B J Mann

    Mr ReidnnI have pointed out it’s not very not very nice to broadcast people’s personal details to the world at large.nnI’ve pointed out it can lead to certain types of individuals using that information to make cyber, and real world physical, attacks on people.nnI’ve now, twice, flagged up the offending posts.nnKindly remove the offending material.nnOr is there a particular reason you want the cuddly cycling fraternity to know where I live?nnWorse, are you the individual who spent so much of his time trying to broadcast my personal details on other fora?nnThat was used to make cyber and personal attacks on me and my family.nnI think we should be told.

  • Wookey

    Please can you cite the source you used for these figures. They differ enormously from figures I’ve seen elsewhere (which are more like 2-3 peds killed by cyclists per decade than per year).

  • Guest

    WookeynnThe source used was cited above the figures!

  • MarkXBSDetector

    Wow, no wonder people fall out with cyclists. Is this even legal? I think too many people are getting a little too precious aboutu00a0their wheels, and star-boy needs to chill out and show some respect. Is “carltonreid” a typo for “cannotread”? You need to re-read this thread, especially your outbursts, and then get someone that’s unbiased to read the blogs and give you their honest opinion. Then again, the way you attack people, they should do it over the phone, or preferrably by email. On second thoughts, even email is probably too dangerous!

  • http://www.quickrelease.tv carltonreid

    Attack? Where, exactly?