Correcting vision – putting it right

When it comes to cycling and cyclists there are many things that are misunderstood by the public.

Putting it right! We started an INFO sheet series. The first in the series is cycling & retail (attached). May many follow. Also, alerted by Cllr David Cook, we teamed up with Carlton Reid and have written to the Evening Chronicle following a spate of ‘road tax’ letters from readers. Let us know if you spot it!


A number of recent correspondents to the Evening Chronicle have suggested that cyclists should pay ‘road tax’, like car drivers.

However, not all motorists pay vehicle excise duty (VED). Disabled motorists do not pay VED: are they “road tax dodgers”? And motorists who own cars which emit less than 100g/km of CO2 pay zero for the VED on these low-emission VED Band A cars. Bicycles, which do not have exhaust pipes, clearly fall into the same category as Band A cars so would also pay £0, if VED were to be extended to bicycles.

Payment of vehicle excise duty is not a fee to use roads. Of those motorists which pay vehicle excise duty, none pay for road maintenance or road building. Roads are paid for by local and national taxation so all UK taxpayers pay for roads. VED, or car tax if you like, goes into the national coffers and is not ring-fenced for spending on roads.

In fact, it hasn’t been ring-fenced since 1937. This was when the UK Government absorbed the monies in the Road Fund and abolished ‘road tax’. The term, however, has lingered and many people assume, wrongly, that ‘road tax’ pays for roads. Some motorists believe cyclists have lesser rights to be on UK roads because they do not pay ‘road tax’. This is a mistaken belief. Motorists and cyclists have equal rights to use roads.

Should your readers wish to find out more about who and what pays for roads, or the history of the Road Fund, they should visit, an ironically-named website which just so happens to be based in Newcastle.

Cllr DAVID COOK, Newcastle City Council
KATJA LEYENDECKER, Newcastle Cycling Campaign

ipayroadtax template letter