Should cyclists pay to use the roads?

Should cyclists have to pay registration fees, like other road users?

Earlier this year, an Australian MP raised the ire of many cyclists by suggesting just that. According to the SMH, the politician in question said the paying such fees would help legitimise the place of cyclists on the roads.

I take exception to the use of the word legitimate. How is my place on the road not legitimate now? Surely cyclists should receive credit for the fact that we take up less space on the road than we would if we were all driving cars (whatever some motorists may think) and bikes create no pollution.

Semantics aside, the theory seems to be that the cyclists' registration fees could go towards funding bike lanes and the necessary safety campaigns.

Great, so cyclists have to pay for campaigns urging drivers to not run them over? This plan just gets better and better.

At present, my tax dollars go towards many things I get no direct benefit from and as I'm not an extreme right-winger in my political views, I'm fine with that. Anti-smoking and alcohol regulation campaigns are not particularly relevant to my life, but I still pay for them. But it seems by the argument referred to above, some think that as a cyclist, I have to pay for my own safety campaigns.

(I know alcohol and cigarettes do attract higher tax that could be likened to a registration fee, but by the time we take into account the cost to the health system from these groups, my tax dollars are definitely being used somewhere along the line.)

Some of my tax dollars are even spent on the roads. So, why should I have to pay more for my right to use them? Yes, I know motorists do. But what about the fact the damage and wear my bike places upon the road is negligible compared to that massive SUV?

Furthermore, I cycle on the predominantly on city roads, rarely the state highways. So shouldn't I in fact be paying the council? The mind boggles at how complicated it could get.

Despite my tone of long-suffering bitterness, I can see some benefits in registration.

Depending on how much it was, I could potentially be happy to pay if the money was spent on proper cycle lanes. This is opposed to cycle lanes created by painting a cycle sign on the shoulder of the road or making cyclists dice with death by sharing bus lanes.

What do you think of the idea cyclist registration fees? Do you think it's something that should be considered in this country?



About 40-50% of rates typically goes to roading. We all pay rates, be it through rents or directly. I rarely drive in town, so more than pay my fair share to use the roads.


A fuel tax may be the fairest way. If you drive a fuel efficient or light weight vehicle, you pay less while generatig less wear/pollution. Oversize vehicles, which create inordinate wear, should pay fees equal to the damage they do. It is my understanding that commercial fees paid are inadequate to offset the damage done. The thinking is that they benefit the general economy. This is a precedent for subsidizing road users who create benefits for others.


Cycling England has shown that the health benefits of cycling are worth $3-5 for each $ spent. It is generally recognized that encouraging cycling is key to reducing costly congestion. Given how little is typically spent on cycling infrastructure it could be easily argued that the government should pay us to cycle.


Its safe to say that most cyclists are not in it for the money. We would be very happy to see adequate funding to provide a safe and inviting transportation experience which would reward and encourage cycling.


It is actually in politician's , and society's, best interest to realize this. Respect for cyclists extends beyond common courtesy on the road to recognition that cycling  reduces costs, keeps local dollars local, improves health and reduces pollution.


Now, if we can only find a way to get this message across to the majority whose auto addiction leaves them ill prepared to consider other options. Walk free, ride free; Pay to drive.

CSNZ put out a great pamphlet on all these issues.  To be attached here.