The Daily Express has launched an anti-congestion campaign called “Let’s Get Britain Moving” but instead of pointing out that cycling is one of the solutions to gridlock it suggests cyclists ought to “pay their way and be charged ROAD TAX to use UK’s shoddy roads.”
The newspaper, not renowned for its accuracy, quoted motoring campaigner Mike Rutherford who complained that cyclists should “pay for access to roads” even though motorists do not. 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.
The Express also allowed Rutherford to claim that cyclists were “oiks” and “complete losers”. The motoring campaigner made these hate comments when referring to Lord Sugar who has been complaining about delays on his chauffeur-driven commute due to cycle superhighway construction in London. (Lord Sugar is also a road cyclist who owns a fleet of extremely expensive Pinarello road bikes.)
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."
London’s cycle superhighways will attract more people to ride bikes, reducing the number of cars on the roads, but Rutherford and The Express use the short-term delays due to construction of these congestion-busting schemes to complain about congestion: “it is not fair that drivers are forced to suffer the woes of traffic as workers build a superhighway for cyclists to enjoy.”
Rutherford said: “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.
Compounding his ignorance of how roads are paid for, he added: “I don’t know why cyclists are the only ones who are let off from the charges.”