Tag Archives: Road Tax

Clarkson talks tosh

I woke up this morning feeling angry. Jeremey Clarkson used not “paying road tax” as a reason to ignore the complaint of a cyclist. Propagating this nonsense is not on.

Complain here

I did:

Top Gear Feb 6 2011 BBC2

Around the 23rd minute Mr. Clarkson made reference to paying “Road Tax” in a context clearly ment to mean that drivers have more right to the roads then others, in this case cyclists. He also stated that “Cyclists need to behave”.

The most cursory possible investigation reveals that NO ONE pays Road Tax and that the roads are paid for by all for all to use.

Please see:


In fact cyclists subsidise other road users acording to the IFS:


This is old news. The issue here is simply that Mr Clarkson is a paid journalist and should be(is) well aware of the facts. His comments are worthy of an ignorant pub know it all and fall well below the standards we expect from the BBC.

He either has no idea what he is talking about or is simply lying to generate interest.

Why do I care?

I work for several London authorities as a Cycling Instructor. One of the problems on our roads is the bullying of cyclists on the basis that they “do not belong on our roads”, “we pay for the roads” etc.

This is the view of the DFT too:


How do his ignorant comments fit in with the idea of Public Service under which the BBC is constituted? Cyclists(who also mostly drive as well) do not need media figures propagating this sort of tosh.

He should make an apology, prominently, on the next show and clarify the position. Perhaps he could interview someone from the IFS and get them to do a lap of the track. Can accountants drive?

I would like to see this turn into an opportunity to spread some truth into an area of discourse that is currently blighted by BS.

The episode is available on iPlayer . The offensive comments start at about minute 21, including comments like, “they(cyclists) deserve it”. “it”, being cut up and having Road Rage attacks against them.  Have a look and please complain… if you are so moved.




The world of cycling is suffused with stats. The need to be accurate and root out any bias is paramount. But sometimes it is so much easier than that.

Recent surveys confirm that many people who drive (let’s call it 30% ish… now that’s accurate!) do not think people on bikes should be in the road because of something to do with not paying “Road Tax” or some such tosh… sigh. There is an excellent writeup of the survey on BikeHub.

Here’s another good stat:

No matter how it’s measured, slightly below 50% of people are of below average intelligence (a proven fact!) so it follows logically that the 30% mentioned above are the thick end of a wedge of idiots.

Revenue raised from drivers doesn’t even meet the wider cost to society. Effectively, when you ride your bike YOU are the one subsidising someone in their car! There is a great post on this courtesy of The Cycling Silk.