The founder of the Motorists’ Association has called on the Government to charge cyclists road tax and force them to pay insurance. Mike Rutherford’s comments were made as part of the Daily Express’s new “Let’s Get Britain Moving” anti-congestion campaign.
The newspaper launched its ‘crusade’ earlier this week, demanding that the Government “sort out Britain’s disgraceful roads NOW.” However, Rutherford, who founded the Motorists Association 20 years ago, set his sights on cyclists and cycle lanes.
“If cyclists want their dedicated lanes and cycle lanes surely they, like drivers, plane users and boat users, should pay for the access. £50 is not a lot and it would help.
"Cyclists should pay their way. Drivers are one of the highest taxed motorists in the world and he or she pay their motoring related taxes, which total about £60billion a year. I don’t know why cyclists are the only ones who are let off from the charges.”
As Carlton Reid, writing over at BikeBiz points out: “Rutherford doesn’t appear to understand that roads are paid for from general and local taxation, not “road tax”. All tax payers pay for roads, not just motorists. Motorists have not paid for roads since 1937.”
As you’d imagine, Rutherford also had something to say about insurance. “Cyclists should be insured. They can run people over and kill them and hurt them. It’s happened, so there should be insurance for bikes.”
His comments came after Lord Alan Sugar recently complained about being held up by engineering works resulting from the creation of one of London’s cycle superhighways. Referring to this incident, Rutherford said: “How does some oik, a complete loser on a bike, go faster than Lord Alan Sugar, who employs a lot of people in this country and is a contributor to Britain?”
Then, in what we can only presume was a reference to his own views, he added: “It’s almost like a comedy sketch.”
Earlier this week, Transport for London announced that it was putting together a 40-strong team of officers with a view to tackling behaviour liable to cause congestion on the roads of the capital. Its main concerns? Not cyclists, but illegally parked cars and delivery vehicles. The city is of course investing heavily in cycle infrastructure having recognised that getting people out of their cars and onto bikes is one of the few ways in which congestion can effectively be tackled.