Bike levy ‘idiotic’

Macarthur Bicycle Users Group leader Ken Hall says Macarthur MP Pat Farmer’s new proposal is “the most idiotic thing I’ve ever heard”.Mr Farmer wants to introduce bike levies and on-road costs for cyclists.

He wants every rider on the roads to pay a registration fee.

“For far too long motorists have said I pay my registration fees to use the roads and cyclists get on having paid nothing for the privilege and slow me down,” Mr Farmer said.

“I believe the true way forward is to charge a small fee right across the board.

“The administration could be done through the cycling shops for every cycle sold to people over a certain age.”

Mr Farmer said that in return for the registration fee the Government would make sure there was a designated bike lane for every new road that was built.

He said there would also be programs to educate motorists about cyclists on the roads and sharing the road.

Ken Hall says this plan could stop people from cycling.

“Bike riding is environmentally friendly,” Mr Hall said. “It cuts down the increase of pollution and it helps people stay healthy.

“I think Pat is better off at Mosman.”

The Macarthur cycle group has been lobbying for safer bike riding zones for years.

Mr Hall said other councils in Sydney had used money to build bike lanes in their local areas without registration fees, but that Campbelltown Council had ignored the need for a better infrastructure to accommodate bike riders.

He said Mr Farmer’s idea to charge the public to build the lanes was “absolute rubbish”.

“What a joker!” he said.

“Why on earth would we need a levy?

“Just because Pat Farmer walks, he doesn’t have to pick on bike riders.

“This is insulting, because we reduce the impact of parking and fuel consumption and we don’t damage anything.”

Mr Farmer said he mentioned the idea to sport and recreation shadow minister George Souris, who he said supported the idea.

“George was fine with it, but it needs to be implemented federally, not just in NSW,” Mr Farmer said.

“I am looking at all the states.”

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2 Comments so far
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I don’t really have a problem with a levy providing it was put towards more cycle paths. I wouldn’t like it if the registration fee is Per Bike, as if you have loads it would be expensive.

Comment by cyclepod

Here we go again. Another politician invents the square wheel.

For a comprehensive overview of the pointlessness of cycle registration, log on to

As far as I can see, the MP’s motives consist of three ignoble emotions: envy, dishonesty and childishness.

Envy because cyclists don’t pay a vehicle tax (based on what, Mr. Farmer? Weight and damage to the road surface or environment-damaging emissions?)
Dishonesty, because he claims that he is slowed down by cyclists. Oh yes? I have just retired from 25 years of cycle commuting during which I discovered that, for distances from 4 to 11 miles, I could get door-to-door faster on my bike than I could by car. And that was up to the age of 65

Childishness, because he regards being slowed down (on the odd occasion) by a rider to outrage his status as a driver. I wonder how much time he has lost out of his important politician’s life behind the back wheel of a bike? In reality, zilch. In reality, he’s throwing his toys out of his pram because his vanity has been wounded.

As to the details of any such proposal, bearing in mind that the majority of cyclists also have cars, they have already paid the usual taxes. So would it be fair to charge non-car owning cyclists more on the grounds that they need to make up for the amount already excused car owning cyclists because of their prior payments?

He says it would pay for new cycle lanes. Since these largely consist of an inadequate line of paint and come to an end wherever the road narrows, and paint costs virtually nothing, the administrative charges would so far outweigh any work done that it would be a farce.

In any case, Mr Farmer should know that the costs of road building and maintenance are so great that they are not met from taxes on cars, but from the general tax revenue, be that income or sales taxes and various other duties levied on different goods and activities.

Also, since they would, presumably, be required to ride in those lanes, would they then have to stop, since they wouldn’t, in his view, have paid for the unlaned stretch of road?

Would bike owners have to pay a registration fee on every bike they own? Or would moutnain bikes be excused if teh owner can prove they’re only used for off-road. And what would you do if an adult rode a small bike, designed for the excluded under age rider. Or would riders below that age be required to ride on the pavement? Or would it depend on the height of the cyclist. Or perhaps the bike should be charged on a per unit of weight basis, calculated on the damage they do to the road surface?

When you combine the usual ignorant motorist with a politician, you get this perennial, unresearched bar-room opinion proposal.

Please do the arithmetic, Mr. Farmer or read the report produced by Toronto City council.

Bluntly, Mr. Farmer ought to look into the viability of such a scheme

Comment by Atbman

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