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  • Why cyclists don’t pay road tax

    A ride into town this week nearly derailed me. For once it wasn’t a car – the culprit was the route itself. Heading into Covent Garden along Kemble Street I just about negotiated the undulating patchwork effect that passes for a road but on Bow Street a giant chasm that seemed to open beneath my wheels nearly sent me flying. Advice from cycling organisations when faced with pot holes is along the lines of: ‘Don’t swerve to avoid it, stay on course but raise up out of your saddle.’ To recap: faced with a sizeable hole in the road I should head towards it full throttle, pausing only to destabilise myself further first.I managed to stay the course but the chippy octogenarian in my block of flats got short shift later that day when she commented, ‘You lot should pay road tax, you know.’ #The state of London roads is diabolical. My bike contributes less to this deterioration than anything else yet I suffer much more than any car.More pertinently, ‘road tax’ was abolished in 1936. Its replacement, the Vehicle Excise Duty, is based on carbon emissions. Vehicles (eg bikes) emitting less than 100g of carbon dioxide per km are exempt. Frankly, in light of the damage I think the stratification should be taken further: road-wearing vehicles, lorries and Chelsea tractors alike should actually pay us cyclists. Just make those cheques out to ‘Pedal Pusher’. Fiona McAuslan

    Route rating

    Route 0.25 miles (Kemble St to Bow St)Calories burned 15Potholes swerved Half a dozen

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