Cyclists road use levy


Hypothetically speaking, if one were to be set up, on a voluntary basis, how would people like to see it work?
Been thinking about this a lot recently, the whole motorist vs cyclist argument of “pay towards the road” vs “give us more space and cycle schemes”.
So if the local or national government were to set up a scheme where cyclists paid a fee per month or annually, and for this cyclists would be covered for liability (accidents not vandalism) and the rest could go towards cycle schemes (paths etc) and to the NHS for treating the numerous cycling accidents a year.

A/ as a cyclist , would you participate?
B/ as Joe public, how much should it be?


It’s an interesting question, but from my personal PoV, I already pay road tax and plenty of council tax to Lewisham council for their lovely road-based projects. I’d begrudge paying tax as a cyclist. For environmental reasons, I think cycling should be encouraged by the State, not taxed.


I share that pov to some extent. With 2 cars I pay my fair share also. However many cyclists are not motorists, as you can usually tell by some of the comments made by them. The problem with local council based cycle efforts is that they all differ, there seems to be no fixed guidelines, and as you travel borough to borough, the provisions and the way they are managed can be miles apart. Which is why we end up with so many pathetic attempts at cycle lanes etc.

Forget the road building part for now, how about the liability aspect?


That to me is the kicker. As cycling is becoming/has become (POV I guess) an accepted form of public transport there should be some insurance/liability to protect other road users. I’ve often felt cyclists like any other road user should be licensed to use roads, or at least main roads to ensure they are competent enough to not be a public risk.


Agreed. The whole thought behind the scheme is more about the liability than the road improvements. However, with an officially run scheme, fairly priced, given the number of cyclists on the roads, I am sure it would easily cover more than liability.
This isn’t about damage to your own property, but that of others, in a your fault accident. I am sure some would try and scam it, ride into a friends car to get their car repaired after a parking oopsie. But as a whole it would give people peace of mind.

As I say, I am only thinking out loud here. But if TfL or the Mayor of London were to consider such a scheme, I for one would be interested. Rather than hunting around for a legit, decent company to be privately covered by.
A little hologram registration sticker for under the seat, or top tube, so in the event of an accident the other party could take your ID for reference rather than all your personal details. … Food for thought.,

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Speaking as a current cyclist and a licensed driver (but who has never had a car in London and uses bicycle/public transport), I think:

  • The point about mandatory cycling insurance is a fair question for debate I think. Sadly when I do cycle in central London I am always far more upset at the behaviour of fellow cyclists than I am at the behaviour of motorists (though of course there is a very different threat profile - one bad HGV driver has the capacity to cause considerably more damage). I don’t know if there are any reliable statistics on the frequency of who is at fault in cycling accidents but I’d be very interested to know them. I wouldn’t object if it was mandatory to have cycling insurance within the London congestion zone for example, though it would be incredibly difficult to enforce.
  • The point about “road tax” I don’t accept. Correct me if I’m wrong but there’s no such thing as “road tax”. There’s an element of council tax (which cyclists pay just like everyone else) that goes to road upkeep and likewise with general tax (taken from everyone’s income). What you are taxed on as a motorist is fuel and emissions, and given the damage car emissions due to the environment and everyone’s health, I support those taxes (and will do even if/when I get a car). People should be encouraged to get out of their cars and use public transport or alternative greener forms of transport like cycling and I don’t think cyclists should have to pay an additional levy to be able to cycle on roads that are safely laid out and fit for purpose.
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I’ve often pondered some kind of licencing for cyclists - not just for liability (which is definitely lacking) but also for accountability - here I’m thinking of the “light hoppers” who are a danger to themselves and everyone around them.

The best I can come up with is something similar to vehicle number plates, but I’m not really sure how effective it would be in practice.

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@stepover The Road Fund Liscense covers this:

I had to look it up as I was uncertain my self.

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I agree completely with the cyclist vs cyclist issue, Every day I see some appalling riding out there, most of the near misses are indeed amongst cyclists. Just like motorists and pedestrians, most have become blinkered and are only interested in their own progress. Sadly this is refuted by a lot of cyclists who claim to be perfectly safe and considerate, while calmly riding through a red light or along a pavement.

Enforcement is indeed the big issue, which is why I would always suggest is was opt in, mandatory would never work purely because of the sheer number of cycles out there. However I am pretty confident that the majority of daily commuters would love a system where they are covered for a small fee. Legal advice, contributing to the healthcare part, and being accountable and responsible.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting that it would be a tax. But given the revenue that could be raised through such a scheme, I am sure there would be funds left over from the liability side of things to fund something else.
Just to add, any claim should attract a small excess to discourage cheats.


Just to add I am a regular driver, and cyclist on London roads, as well as others. I am trying to see this from both sides of the fence. As a driver, cyclists have caused near misses etc in the past for me, however never been in a collision with one.
As a cyclist I have had numerous encounters with motorists and cyclists. A cyclist was my most recent encounter, swerving into me. Thankfully I had seen he was a bit of an idiot so had allowed room. He did not escape without hearing my opinions on his riding.

Also with car vs cyclist encounters which show up on YouTube and Facebook. There is a fine line with speaking to a driver who has caused an accident or near as dammit, and relentlessly riding around filming and shouting at every driver who comes within 4 ft of you.

A fantastic example was the elderly gent who drove straight in front of me in Lewisham the other week, claiming I had jumped a red light.


Re Road Fund Licence, but I’m pretty sure the calculation of Vehicle Excise Duty is directly linked to emissions and fuel type? So my point is that, yes some of the revenue from VED may be spent on road upkeep, but what you are being taxed on is emissions. So if you buy an electric car you pay no VED. So if you are operating a mode of transport that has zero emissions (like a bicycle) then you should pay no tax.


It is all very confusing these days. Now VED, is indeed emissions based, but has been pledged that it will all return to the road infrastructure.


Yes zero emission cars are £0 BUT, we tend to forget that they need to be charged and that uses power (unless you have a solar or some similar way of charging). Having said that, if I drove a 1968 Mustang I will pay no Road Fund License either :frowning:

The suggestion that the cyclist pay some sort of fund for insurance only, is a good one.


One other observation, as anyone who has ever driven along Dartmouth Rd will confirm, is that cyclists cause no structural damage to roads when they use them. Whereas Buses and HGVs (and I suspect to a lesser extent all cars) do. So every two years when Lewisham spends millions fixing pot holes and resurfacing, I don’t think Cyclists should be paying for that. (I accept the weather is responsible to some extent!)

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Again, the idea is not so much to pay for the upkeep of the roads, but if anything is left after liability is covered, the idea that some could go towards cycle projects, segregated lanes, alternative routes, proper markings and maintainence of the paths.


This has been tried before (in Switzerland). It cost the state so much to run, they stopped it within a few years. See (google translate is your friend)

There are other issues, it actually discourages cycling (is my insurance up to date?) and there are anomalies eg when does a minor become responsible for their actions, and would a 5yr old be covered while riding on the pavement, or would they have to ride on the main road.

Once cycling becomes more mainstream, I think a lot of these issues just go away. At the moment people are fearful for their lives when they are out riding and this manifests its self in many different ways. If you cycle in (other) European cities you find people are more comfortable with their space on the road and do far less silly things. At the same time they enjoy better protection from the law, other road users and from the roads themselves (segregated paths).


Such a scheme sort of already exists - Just join CTC or cycling UK as it now is - it comes with 10 million 3rd party cover and you get other benefits as well.£10m-3rd-party-insurance-cover


Like all of you, I (a driver and cyclist) pay for the upkeep of the highways through general taxation. “Road Tax” hasn’t existed since 1937 and VED is, as already pointed out, based on tailpipe CO2 emissions. Whilst some drivers don’t have any issues with electric cars not paying any VED, the idea of tax-dodging cyclists not paying their way makes their blood boil. I thus offer a modest proposal:

If we’re going to all pay for the roads fairly, we should do so based upon the wear and tear we inflict upon said roads. We know that road wear is proportional to the 4th power of axle weight, so that leaves us with a couple of options when comparing my 2000kg car to my 90kg bicycle (plus rider):

  1. I currently pay £165 a year for my car’s VED. If we scale that accordingly, then I should pay £0.00068 a year for my bike. This is a difficult amount to collect, and the revenue generated probably wouldn’t cover the costs of administrating the collection system.

  2. We could thus decide that cyclists should pay a reasonable sum of, say, £20 per year to use the roads. If we scale that for my car, I end up owing £ 80,475,537.12 in VED. If I could afford to spend £80m on running my car each year, I’d take my helicopter instead.

We can make insurance and licences compulsory for cyclists mandatory just as soon as you can prove that driving licences and insurance have reduced the number of pedestrians killed by motorists each year to zero.


That’s one hell of a zombie post for your debut. Nice work.


You might want to check your calculations against this version: