CAN, the national Cycling Advocates' Network, has strongly criticised motoring lobbyists and business interests who are campaigning against road funding for cycling despite indications that motorists are happy to pay for cycle facilities.
A recent Automobile Association (AA) survey of its members, reported in the AA's policy newsletter "Advocate", found 71% support by members (including 23% "strong support") for using road taxes and charges to build cycle paths.

"It seems particularly strange that the AA would go against survey findings from its own members." said CAN chairperson Jane Dawson.

Ms Dawson said that the findings were not too surprising, given that many motorists also cycled or had children who cycled.

"National activity surveys have found that over 450,000 people take part in cycling over a given year, and that doesn't include mountain biking."

It is often argued that cyclists don't pay road taxes and therefore shouldn't receive funding. "Yet surveys of our own members reveal that over 80% of them own a car and therefore do contribute to road taxes", says Ms Dawson.

"They also pay local rates, which currently contribute far more to cycling facilities than national funds do."

Ms Dawson also said that it was important to remember that road charges mostly pay for the damage and external costs of roading, not for usage. "Some of these external costs, such as environmental damage and the health effects of inactivity brought about by car dependency, are not being paid for. It's motorists who are getting an easy ride in transport funding."

"Cyclists barely cause any damage to roads or the environment and are far more cost-effective to build for as well."

"Indeed, overseas research shows that investment in non-roading improvements like cycling is likely to be more beneficial in the long-term to tackling congestion than spending the same amount on building more roads", said Ms Dawson.

"The AA and their fellow business group lobbyists would do well to remember this in their current campaign against road funding for cycling."


For more information, contact Jane Dawson, CAN Chairperson, phone (04)385-2557 or email Alternatively, contact Glen Koorey, CAN Technical Adviser, phone 027-4543085

Release Date: 
Monday, 5 May, 2003