Guernsey Press

‘It is not logical or sensible to start taxing cyclists’

THE president of a local cycling group believes it would not be ‘logical or sensible’ for the States to start taxing cyclists.

Guernsey Bicycle Group president Sam Field. (Picture by Steve Sarre, 21107239)

Sam Field of the Guernsey Bicycle Group was speaking after Deputy Peter Ferbrache said that instead of increasing fuel duty, cyclists should be taxed for using the roads.

‘It is well known and proven across the world, that as more people cycle and walk the healthier the individual and the community as a whole become,’ said Mr Field.

‘They benefit from improved health, reduced obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease rates, as well as reduced incidences of respiratory disease and asthma rates, all of which mean reduced healthcare spending.

‘There are also reduced infrastructure spending costs on road and car park maintenance as more people walk and cycle.

‘It is not logical or sensible to tax a behaviour that has a positive benefit to the community.

‘Guernsey Bicycle Group views Deputy Ferbrache’s proposal as little more than a headline grabbing sound bite.

‘The proposal is not thought out, nor it practical, administratively, practically or financially.’

Deputy Ferbrache said he knew the idea was an ‘outside bet’ but thought it only fair for everyone using the roads to contribute.

‘I put it into the context of an alternative to the increase on fuel duty,’ he said.

‘Double the price of the tickets on the buses, tax electric vehicles when they’re registered and tax cyclists.

‘I wasn’t talking about 10 or 20 pounds, I was talking about one or two hundred.

‘There is no point in having a cycle tax that costs more to administer than it does to accommodate.

‘The logic is there are lots of electric push bikes now, people spend a lot of money on their bicycles.

‘It’s just a contribution, they use the roads, and the roads need to be maintained and resurfaced.’

Environment and Infrastructure president Barry Brehaut asked why individuals who use cars would have to pay another tax to cycle.

‘We shouldn’t be taxing something we are seeking to encourage, to place any financial impediment on an activity that has so many health benefits really does go against the grain of all public health policy,’ he said.

‘Tax payers pay for all road infrastructure now, cyclist are motorists too, why should they pay twice for doing something that is actually more environmentally friendly?

‘Deputy [Mary] Lowe floated the same idea some time ago, it was candidly ridiculed then, the response has been similar this time.

‘A number of children will have bikes this Christmas, I hope the taxing Grinch in the form of Deputy Ferbrache spares them a visit this year and for many years to come.’