Category Archives: Costs of motoring

The silence over Osborne’s hand-out to motoring

Something didn’t happen in the wake of the Budget. There was practically no media response to the Chancellor’s continued refusal, yet again, to increase fuel tax duty. Below we put this in the context of continued discrimination against sustainable transport modes and support for a more car-based transport system, as well as showing how the costs of motoring stand in stark contrast to other expenditure. Continue reading

How pro-cycling is Labour?


Maria Eagle (Photo: Daily Telegraph)

In the parliamentary debate on “Get Britain Cycling”   it wasn’t just the CTC who thought that the most impressive speech came from Labour’s frontbench spokesperson, Shadow Secretary of State Maria Eagle”.

We look at her contribution below, in the context of the evidence we have to assess what Labour is likely to actually do if it comes to power. For while Labour formally endorsed “Get Britain Cycling” at their annual conference , there are key areas where necessary commitment to achieve the aims of the report is apparently lacking. Continue reading

Just how anti-cycling is this Government?

We have already given first impressions on the Government response to the “Get Britain Cycling” report .  After the dust has settled from the Parliamentary debate on the report, it’s time to take stock. The bitter truth is that there is a contradiction between Government pro-cycling rhetoric and what it is actually prepared to support, with fundamental ideological and institutional barriers in place to prevent genuine support for cycling. Continue reading


I nearly threw my lunch up in response to this gruesome bit of victim-blaming – so do prepare yourselves before viewing it. A natural reaction of any civilised person concerned with safety on the road would be outrage, and that’s entirely appropriate. I have to say that there is also plenty of justification for just expressing that outrage and refusing to go any further – many will feel that addressing elements of this message might dignify it as part of a responsible discourse on the subject.

Nevertheless, we will do so because, if nothing else, we can show how the ideology of traditional “road safety” allows those who endanger others to try and justify themselves. Critically analysing this garbage should help us in dealing with the problem of danger on the roads in general, and not just from the RHA.  So, have your sick-bags at the ready and here we go… Continue reading

The “Get Britain Cycling” Parliamentary debate: Should anything be “done for cyclists”?

Now that I have your attention: the clue to my question is in the quotation marks. As we line up for the September 2nd House of Commons debate on cycling  , I discuss below how the phrasing of the question tells us about many of the problems confronting cycling. Continue reading

“Get Britain Cycling”: Is Chris Boardman right to be angry at the PM’s response?


 Chris Boardman at the launch of the Mayor of London’s “Vision for Cycling ” (Photo: The Times)

Cameron climbs aboard cycle revolution” announced The Times (April 25th 2013) to describe the statement of the Prime Minister in response to the “Get Britain Cycling” (GBC) report. But describing his response we see that while he “endorsed the report”, he “stopped short of committing himself to forcing through change”. Chris Boardman, the former Olympic and World champion with years of experience in supporting cycling as a form of everyday transport, criticised the Prime Minister’s lack of ambition: “It is the kind of statement that is incredibly frustrating and even makes me angry”.  Is Boardman right to feel this way? Continue reading

“The True Costs of Automobility: External Costs of Cars”

First, the good news: another academic study  using conventional cost-benefit analysis finds that motorists in the 27 EU countries have a net economic cost to society, with the UK second only to Germany in costs. Take a look at the nice short summary  in the Guardian. It’s good to counteract what the Guardian correctly calls “The perennial complaint from drivers that they are excessively taxed”, not least the prejudice that cyclists are cheating by “not paying a tax”. The figure given for these external costs – £48 billion per annum, some £10 billion more than the total of motoring taxation revenue – looks pretty damning. However, it can be argued that the costs of motoring to society are considerably greater than those in the picture painted in the study, and that the report is inadequately critical of the status quo.

Let’s look at the report in a bit more detail. Continue reading

A bit of sanity

No, it didn’t come from Government or the “road safety” lobby. It comes from the mainstream Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) which calls for an end to delays in fuel duty increases. It is not radical in its recommendation – calling for no further cuts in fuel duty, rather than an increase. Nevertheless,  a mainstream think tank opposing the ideas that there is a war on motorists” and that fuel duty should not be increased is welcome. Here is what they say in summary: Continue reading