“Pay some road tax” – a modest proposal

Christ. This shameful incident, if true, should at least lead to a driving ban for someone who shouldn’t be allowed near a vehicle. I’d like to see motorists who hit cyclists forced to cycle for a year or two as part of their re-education. Snip:

I’ve been told to “pay road tax” more times than I can remember, though sadly explaining the intricacies of road taxation – deftly explained by the excellent site I Pay Road Tax – takes longer than the few seconds you get on the road. And when this entitlement dehumanises cyclists to the extent someone is happy to excuse hitting a cyclist by explaining they don’t believe they should be on the road at all, it becomes more than an annoyance – it’s an active danger.

via Twitter hit-and-run boast shows dangers of ‘road tax’ entitlement | Dawn Foster | Environment | guardian.co.uk.

You can’t actually win an argument with someone who is fundamentally irrational in their hatred and ignorant of the facts. This is the problem the teaching profession has with Michael Gove. My own modest proposal re “road tax” would be that road tax (which hasn’t existed for 70 years) should actually be re-introduced, and should be paid by all road users, including cyclists. And it shouldn’t be a flat rate, nor based on carbon emissions as the VED is now. It should be based on the amount of damage a vehicle is likely to do to the road.

I propose a simple formula based on kerb weight (in metric tonnes, as reported by manufacturers) and tyre width. This would mean that lighter vehicles with skinny tyres would pay less than heavy vehicles with fat tyres. It would make road tax really quite expensive, but the surplus over what is raised now could actually be used to repair and maintain roads, which is something that hasn’t been happening for about 25 years.

Example: My VW Touran, which has a kerb weight of 1.5 metric tonnes and has 205 mm tyres, would cost £307 per year to use on the public roads. A lot more than I currently pay, but a reasonable measure of the impact the vehicle has on the road. The amount of miles you drive and your driving style would determine the amount of additional (fuel) tax you pay for motoring.

A Volvo XC90 (2.1 tonnes, approx) with 255 mm tyres would cost £535 per year.

A Honda Jazz (1 tonne, approx) with 185 mm tyres would cost £185 per year.

My bicycle, which weighs about 0.013 tonnes and has 23 mm tyres, would cost about 30 pence per year to use on the road. Which I would, of course, be happy to pay, just so I could wave my tax disc in the face of shit-for-brains motorist fuckwits.

I’ve got no time, by the way, for those who complain about the cost of motoring, and whine about fuel tax etc. Motoring is still too cheap compared to its actual cost to society and the planet.

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