AA President applauds iPayRoadTax.com campaign

Head of motorists' organisation a fan of initiative, and has the jersey to prove it

by Simon_MacMichael   March 11, 2010  

iPayRoadTax jersey

AA President Edmund King has given his backing to the iPayRoadTax.com initiative, applauding the website as a great example of online campaigning and calling its jerseys “ironic, iconic, iconoclastic” – and the keen cyclist has even been out on his bike sporting one.

While you’d expect the head of a motoring organisation with around 15 million members to have a better grasp than most of the intricacies of vehicle taxation, King’s public support of the website, which seeks to dispel myths about ‘road tax,’ is testimony to the campaign’s success.

King was speaking at a seminar at Newcastle University, during his inaugural lecture as Visiting Professor working with the Transport Operations Research Group, according to cycle trade website BikeBiz, whose executive editor, Carlton Reid, came up with the idea for iPayRoadTax.com last November.

Reid was at yesterday’s lecture, where King told him that the jersey was “great quality - I love the little zipped pocket at the back,” adding, “my kids loved it, too."

His inspiration for the side came from a post on the social networking site Twitter, in which a user wondered whether he should wear a cycling jersey emblazoned with a tax disc due to the oft-repeated – and inaccurate – mantra from some drivers that cyclists shouldn’t be on the road since they don’t pay ‘road tax.’

As iPayRoadTax.com makes clear, road tax itself was actually abolished in 1937, completing a process initiated by Winston Churchill in 1926. And while most motorists do pay Vehicle Excise Duty, funds raised through it do not go towards highway construction and maintenance, which are instead paid for out of general taxation.

14 user comments

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'I pay vehicle excise duty' doesn't quite have the same snap to it.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2111 posts]
11th March 2010 - 13:32

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And if cyclists were liable for Vehicle Excise Duty, then we still wouldn't have to pay, since the least polluting models of car don't pay anything.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1321 posts]
11th March 2010 - 14:17

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Cat - that's debatable. I pay vehicle excise duty for my motorbike. It takes up less space on the road and causes significantly less road wear than my car, yet the difference in cost isn't as great as you'd think. And it takes up a lot less space and causes a lot less road wear than a so-called green car. My previous motorbike was very fuel efficient, still had to pay vehicle excise duty on that too.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2111 posts]
11th March 2010 - 14:54

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These are new rules since May 2009. Cars such this Ford Fiesta pay zero VED.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1321 posts]
11th March 2010 - 15:07

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Cat - I know about the rule changes but it still begs the question why users of low fuel consumption motorcycles should have to pay VED either. My old bike used less fuel than that Ford Fiesta, took up less space and also caused less road wear. If I bought another one like it, I'd still have to pay VED. Something like a Honda C90 Cub is about as low impact a powered vehicle you can buy and yet it doesn't dodge VED, why?

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2111 posts]
11th March 2010 - 17:36

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Yes, I agree. Motorcycles should not be charged VED. Though I wouldn't want to see noisy, locally polluting, two-stroke engined bikes exempt.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1321 posts]
11th March 2010 - 19:02

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cat1commuter wrote:
Motorcycles should not be charged VED.

The Treasury disagrees. They tax what they want to, that's why there are Band A cars that DO pollute but their CO2 output is below a specified threshold.

Despite being space-efficient both on the move and parked, motorbikes pollute, lots of motorbikes do no better MPG than cars. In fact I know of plenty of people whose cars have better fuel economy. Maybe the VED banding team don't like bikers, or maybe they look at the road casualty stats and wish to discourage motorcycling. VED on motorbikes certainly isn't going to be dropped just because they're smaller than cars. And anyone who can afford a CBR6, Bandit or R1, lid, leathers and insurance won't struggle to pay the VED.

Personally I'd like to see luxury (i.e. German) and those hefty pickup-style 4x4s taxed to the hilt because it's obvious the drivers invariably have waaay more money than road sense.

When I see so much stupid driving - hard acceleration/overtaking immediately followed by unnecessary braking and people making so many unnecessary short journeys (school run etc) then I can only conclude that petrol is still too cheap.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [1884 posts]
11th March 2010 - 21:45

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Could it be the Politicians decided to try and change people's choice of vehicle habits by dangling the "Carrot"?
Getting people to think about pollution is all that can be done just now but a new government might consider "paying cyclists" to ride to work during "Rush Hour"! Fixed Hours on the Bus Lanes/Clearways might be a guide to the periods eligible! Clocking in machines of a sort would be needed for verification but bet that many motorists would be looking to benefit!
Healthier employees would pay dividends for the employers as well.
Many more ideas on my blog www.parrabuddy.blogspot.com
Today the Paralympic Games start in Vancouver take the time to check TV Networks to see the action LIVE ! Many of these Amazing Athletes served YOU and their nation in "Harm's Way" so deserve your attention and respect as they set out once again to compete on your behalf.

Skippy(advocate for "Disabled / Para Sport")@skippydetour. blogging as skippi-cyclist.blogspot & Parrabuddy.blogspot currently on the road with ProTour Grand Tour Events .

skippy's picture

posted by skippy [378 posts]
12th March 2010 - 17:33

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The low emission argument is an excellent one.

There's another. A while back the Road Research Lab said that road wear is proportional to the *seventh* power of axle weight. So if you double axle weight the wear goes up 128 times. If we paid say £1 with an axle weight of 40kg, cars would pay £170 million for an axle weight of 600kg, and lorries, with an axle weight of 10 tonnes would pay £600 thousand trillion (US trillion). It shows that even cars shouldn't pay. It's the lorries that wear out the roads, as if we didn't know.

Peter Scott's picture

posted by Peter Scott [16 posts]
15th April 2011 - 13:21

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@Peter Scott - those are some startling figures on road wear caused by vehicles! But it still seems that road condition is affected more by the weather than by the type of traffic - the construction of large numbers of our roads in the UK simply doesn't stand up to the rain, freezing and thawing we get, which opens up great big holes everywhere throughout the winter. I guess the type of vehicle travelling over the already damaged surface has a significant effect on wear after the holes of formed, but the construction methods and weather effect cant be ignored.

Of course, since vehicle excise duty doesn't pay for roads, this is (or at least should be) irrelevant to taxation. But if emissions are the key driver for taxation, then maybe we should install actual emissions meters on motor vehicles - that way, drivers would be actively encouraged to drive more sensibly in order to reduce their emissions.

posted by step-hent [644 posts]
15th April 2011 - 14:14

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The fourth power rule is the more accepted one worldwide. Even so, if bikes (40kg axle weight) paid £1, cars (600kg axle weight) would pay £50,000 and lorries (2000kg axle weight) would pay £6.25m. Given a more reasonable tax of say £200 for a car, lorries should be paying £25k and bikes 4p

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7231 posts]
15th April 2011 - 14:34

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sorry, 0.4p Big Grin

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7231 posts]
15th April 2011 - 14:40

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Hi Dave. You are right I am sure. The RR calculation was from some years ago. As you say the power makes little difference as the ratios are still huge.

As for the state of the roads, we all see that it is usually the edges where the crumbling starts. Cars rarely use the very edge. This is all lorry wear. Once water penetrates and freezes the damage spreads. Norfolk roads are getting very bad. It is rare to find a stretch, even 'major' roads, that doesn't have an edge without a 'canyon of death' or holes. I always ride out from the edge anyway, but damage is now stretching halfway to the crown of the road. I am lucky though. Unless I'm timing the ride I can use the lanes which are often in a better state than the main roads.

Peter Scott's picture

posted by Peter Scott [16 posts]
15th April 2011 - 14:59

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yes, the A4 has just such a canyon as it leaves Bath, even though the edge of the road is to some degree protected from breaking up by a kerb - that's the only way for HGVs to get out of Bath and up to the M4 and the camber of the road also forces more of the lorries' weight on the the kerbside. I 've also noticed the road edge breaking down over the winter on roads with unprotected edges and high lorry use, in some cases it's crumbling away pretty fast.

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4130 posts]
15th April 2011 - 17:20

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