Cyclists “more dangerous” than drivers so should pay “road tax”?

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A councillor in Kent claims that soft, squishy cyclists are somehow more dangerous to other road users than speeding, heavy cars. Cyclists, said Larry Abraham of Sevenoaks District Council, were “more dangerous than any car I’ve ever seen.”

Abraham was responding to calls for more cycling facilities in Kent. He dismissed such calls, saying “cyclists should be paying road tax and have insurance.”

His views were echoed by fellow councillor Alison Cook, who also believes cyclists are blameworthy:

“A lot of cyclists, as soon as they set off, see themselves as king of the road. And a small child hit by a bicycle could have a nasty experience.

“We don’t often see cyclists on cycle routes but we do see them on the road. It’s galling when they have cycle routes and don’t use them.

“Maybe cyclists should pay some sort of contribution or be licensed in some way.”

John Morrison of Sevenoaks Cycling Forum told Sevenoaks Chronicle: “We thought we’d knocked those clichés on the head and got beyond that. But there’s still some hostility towards cyclists in the council from a minority and there seems to be a reluctance for some of them to inform themselves.”

Those two local councillors could start by paying a visit to their closest A&E and ask how many locals have been killed by drivers in recent years, and how many by cyclists.

They could then inform themselves of how roads are funded. The majority of UK roads are funded by local authorities. ‘National’ roads are funded by the Highways Agency. All roads are paid for out of general and local taxation, not by “road tax”, a tax on motorists started in 1911 and abolished in 1937 and which only ever paid for piecemeal resurfacing and a small amount of road widening in a few areas.

In short, motorists do not pay for roads, we all do.