What is road tax?

News  | By Asgard
What is road tax?

Many road users argue that they shouldn’t have to share the road with cyclists, because they don’t pay road tax.

However, as many people on two wheels know, there is no such thing as road tax. This taxation was abolished in 1937 and was replaced by Vehicle Excise Duty.

What is Vehicle Excise Duty?

This tax is a tax on cars, not roads and goes into the general Treasury fund. Many drivers still believe this tax is spent on the roads, but the reality is this money is spent on anything from hospitals to education.

Even though this change in taxation has been in force for over 80 years, many drivers still believe that they have more right to the roads than pedestrians, horse-riders and cyclists.  As highlights in the news have pointed out, angry drivers use the road tax excuse when confronting cyclists who ‘take up too much space’ or simply just ‘get in the way’. This small minority of drivers use this ‘I pay road tax’ mentality to drive badly and use abusive language towards cyclists. 

A recent poll by the BBC, showed that 75% of people still know this tax as ‘Road Tax’ and nearly four in five UK motorists feel the money generated should be used for maintaining and improving local roads. These results suggest that something needs to be done to change people’s attitudes and provide more information on what drivers are paying for when renewing their tax disc.


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