Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Thought for the Week–Cyclists and Taxation–Pay me £2000 to register (and ride) my bike(s) and service and insure them

Wednesday, 7th May 2014: When out cycling I do a bit of thinking, it can be to do with cycling or work or something else. On this ride it was about cycling and the vexed issues of registration and taxation.

Now you might say the issue has been done to death. There is even a website dedicated to the issue – “I Pay Road Tax” – which points out a number of issues such as road tax doesn’t exist and since Vehicle Excise Duty is based upon the amount of CO2 vehicles emit then if a fee were to be paid it would be £0.00. There is another excellent self-help post from People’s Cycling Front of South Gloucestershire entitled “Questions for anyone proposing cyclist registration” to help those idiots people suggesting it ought to happen to work out the absurdity for themselves.

So here is my proposal, to try and move forward.

If you must (State), I will register my bicycle(s), and yes it will cost money, I would reckon that I will tax the State around £2,000 a year as a partial contribution to the significant benefits to society that would arise. In the spirit of generosity I would be happy for some of that to go to straight to my local bike shop (Ben Hayward Cycles) to pay for regular servicing of my bike(s). Heck I would be happy for some of that to go the CTC and then that would be my third-party insurance taken care of as well.  In fact add a bit more onto the cost of CTC membership and make it fully-comprehensive insurance – you really can’t trust motorists nowadays, so many are uninsured. (1.4 million as of April 2011 – Confused.com)

Why? Well put simply:

                                                             Cars                      Cycles

  • Congestion costs money:       create congestion      ease congestion
  • Pollution costs money:           create pollution          don’t pollute
  • Road damage costs money:    cause damage          don’t cause damage
  • Lack of exercise costs money: poor exercise            good exercise
  • Accidents cost money:            high speed & mass    low speed & mass

Note you could add buses and lorries to the list, but at least most lorries are carrying stuff and buses can (and should) carry lots of passengers. Which is why I singled out cars.

I could go on and on there are other things like: when I am cycling I am not driving my gas guzzler so given I cycle more than I drive I really ought to get back over half my Vehicle Excise duty. Also by using less fuel then it means the UK doesn’t have to import as much fuel – so it is better for the Balance of Payments. When I cycle it makes the roads safer for other cyclists – one less car rather than safety in numbers. Which should encourage more cyclists. Whilst my table has focused on cost, there are secondary factors such as the stress caused by congestion and noise pollution – which ultimately affect health and so cost money.

I know there are some practical details missing from my proposal like what would stop me registering my bike getting the money and then using another bike, or even worse not cycling at all but driving. But hey nothing that setting up an “Office for the Regulation and Operation of Pedal Cyclists and their Cycles” overseen by a mandarin couldn’t sort out, in the fullness of time.

So that is why although I have a decent ride up and around Wicken Fen I only have three pictures. With two of those the same, almost.  One thing I did notice what that I hadn’t realised that the national Trust had called this bit Tubney Fen. Tubney Fen does not appear on and older 25K OS map. I think of Tubney Fen as the bit down Little Fen Drove where the birds hang out.  When I say I didn’t notice, I mean I didn’t notice until just now as I was about to write this paragraph. See if you can spot the difference between the two pictures.

Tubney Fen, Reach Lode Bridge

Tubney Fen, Reach Lode Bridge

It was playing with the focus points. With modern cameras it is sometimes too easy to let the camera do all the hard work. I sometimes don’t realise that I might have gotten the wrong focus point until I get home and find that the picture I have taken is not what wanted.  Notice how the concrete lump just behind and to the right of the sign is out of focus in both pictures.

On my way back, because I was making good time, perhaps because I hadn’t taken many pictures I cycled the “back way” to Quy. The last bit is a bridleway onto Station Road in Quy. Look how the cow parsley lines the singletrack.

The track into Quy

A shaky Video from a previous ride along it (A Silent Movie)

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