Bike advocate and journalist Carlton Reid is gearing up to sell “I Pay Road Tax” jerseys and arm warmers.
In doing so, Carlton hopes to get the message out about a common misconception that motorists have about cyclists. Namely, that they don’t pay ‘road tax’ (Vehicle Excise Duty in the UK) and therefore don’t have a right to be on the roads.
In the UK and many other countries, the money to build and maintain roads comes out of general taxation, not just from motorists. Most cyclists pay tax and most cyclists own cars that they pay VED on, despite contributing less to the wear and tear of roads than normal motorists.
The catalyst came when Reid, a keen Twitterer, spotted a tweet posted by Nick Bertrand last Friday: “I pay road tax/VED for the car I rarely drive. Should I wear a copy of the tax disk on my jersey?”
After posting an encouraging reply to Nick, Carlton went for a ride and the idea began to take shape. When he returned, he registered iPayRoadTax.com and iPayRoadTax.co.uk, commissioned Rapha co-founder and former creative director Luke Scheybeler to produce a fake tax disc and tweeted to get an idea of how many would be interested in buying jerseys with “I Pay Road Tax” tax disc logos on them.
“There was an immediate interest,” Reid told BikeRadar. “There was a minimum of 30 ‘put me down for this’ orders within 15 minutes. I’m looking at getting it all online for Wednesday (18 November).”
While Reid doesn’t expect a 100 percent conversion rate from interest to actual purchase, he intends to get a club-sized production run done and sell them that way. Jerseys will cost at least £40 while Roubaix-style arm warmers could be done for around £15.
The proposed design for carlton reid’sLuke Scheybeler
This is not a valid tax disc
Does Carlton expect any pushback from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) for making ‘copies’ of tax discs? “This is not a tax disc,” he said. “My own feeling is that it’s clearly a parody. It’s not passing off as the real thing. Anyone trying to cut this up and stick it into their window is clearly a nutter.”
The ipayroadtax website will serve a greater purpose, according to Reid. He will use it as a defence for other ill-informed arguments that motorists use against cyclists. ‘You go through red lights’ is another, when it can clearly be demonstrated that motorists do it as well.