The things people say – number 1

This article was published in 2001, in Newsletter 39.


Often the people who come up to our stall with a bee in their bonnet or who harangue us on the roads don’t want to hear an answer. They just want to let off steam or display their prejudice or ignorance. We’ll put down some of our answers we might have given over the next few issues.

I pay my road tax (so I’ve got a right to use my car as I please), but you (b***y) cyclists pay nothing. Why should I pay for all this cycling stuff?

Not true. Most cycling initiatives and the local roads that cyclists use almost exclusively are paid for out of local taxes. We pay Council Tax, and the income tax that subsidises the Council, just as much as you do. And you get a bigger share of that than we do.

Part of my income tax goes to building motorways. As a cyclist I’m not allowed to use motorways. A motorway costs £30 million a mile. Cycling infrastructure costs peanuts in comparison.

I’m making your life easier. By riding a bike, I’m not one more car sitting in the queue in front of you, which is why you’re so mad in the first place.

If you take all the environmental damage and injuries that motor vehicles create into account as well as road construction and so on, what you pay in car-related taxes doesn’t pay for it all. We’re subsidising you with the taxes we pay!

And in any case, tax on beer doesn’t go to subsidising breweries, does it? Why should tax on cars go into subsidising motoring? It’s a way of raising money, just like any other tax.

David Earl