Hello fellow cycling enthusiasts,
I recently watched a new movie trailer ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’, a 2015 sequel of the Mad Max movie franchise starring Tom Hardy as the iconic Mel Gibson character ‘Mad Max’. A post-apocalyptic world where people live in the desert wasteland fighting over water and fuel (what a sad world to live in). However, seeing that they are fighting over fuel for their transportation (and mauling) needs, I have a solution for their conundrum. Since they still have roads, why not use BICYCLES!?!? Thus less reliant on fuel. Now they just need to fight over food.
But before we start preparing for the end of the modern world, let’s expand more on the idea of seeing bicycles as the solution.
Recently there was a bicycle accident that occurred on the highway near Rimba (nearby JIS) where a cyclist riding his tri bike smashed into the back of a stationary car that was parked on the shoulder while there was a traffic jam. The cyclist sustained heavy but not fatal injuries. The tailgate lights and rear windows of the car were smashed (I bet some of you right now are wondering “WHAT HAPPENED TO THE BIKE?!”). Don’t fret as the bicycle is still in one piece. However after experiencing a crash like that I’m sure there was at least some damage to the front wheel. Hopefully the cyclist makes a speedy recovery and gets back on the saddle again.
Why am I bringing this up? Well a photo was taken of the accident and uploaded to Facebook where the uploader commented that that particular cyclist regularly cycles within the road lane on the highway and not on the shoulder. And to rub salt into the wounds the uploader goes on to say that 90% of road cyclists are regular line encroachers on the highway (I’ve no clue where he/she gets that made up statistic from). A comments frenzy ensued and opinions from pro-cyclists and pro-motorists bombarded the comments box.
We all know not all cyclists are perfect. Just search ‘Silly Cyclists’ on YouTube and you’ll see hundreds of examples of how not to cycle. Motorists too are at fault for thinking that they have sole ownership of the road (Don’t forget reckless driving, speeding, texting, etc).
But what really struck a nerve was when someone commented the following:
“You have no right to be on the road – you don’t pay road tax!”
Are they right……..? HECK NO! Just because a bigot driver pays road tax does not mean that cyclists do not belong on the road.
I did some digging and found out that in the UK the concept of ‘Road Tax’ actually does not exist anymore (source). They have Vehicle Excise Duty (what you pay for your car’s tax disc) is based on your vehicle’s emissions. Since a bicycle creates no emissions, it is not liable for Vehicle Excise Duty.
VED tax is based on engine size/emissions. No engine/emissions = not liable for VED Tax
So from my understanding, it is the right to OWN a vehicle of any type of engine/emission (even a vehicle with NO engine or ZERO emission. This means for bicycles, VED tax is $0.00). It is NOT a tax for USING the road. If it was for using the road, you might as well tax pedestrians!
Some pro-motorists argue that ‘Road Tax’ funds road maintenance. If the construction or maintenance of roads are indeed funded by ‘Road Tax’ or ‘VED Tax’, cars/trucks/motorbikes are usually the ones causing damage to the road anyways. In fact, road maintenance and road construction come from other sources of taxes (I pity the Brits). So even a cyclist/pedestrian who doesn’t even own a car in the UK would have contributed to funding the road.
What angers me even more is when pro-motorists say that we should have a cycling license to ride. Don’t get me wrong, if there was a law in Brunei that states cyclists have to pay a tax to use the road, I’d be more than happy to line up at the land transport authority to pay. But at the moment, there is no imposed ‘Road Tax’ law and drivers can’t use the ‘Road Tax’ excuse because it doesn’t exist. Hopefully the same applies on Brunei’s roads.
Moving away from arguing about the nitty-gritty details of ‘Road Tax’, let’s have a look at the bigger picture of cycling. A lot of non-cycling people state that cycling is dangerous and that it causes headaches for other road users. I argue that cycling is growing every day (I’m sure that these people are not all insane…well, maybe some) and that the probability of getting into a car accident is much higher than bicycle accidents (I think death by bees is higher than bicycle accidents as well). Motorists should realize that being patient for a few seconds would make little to no difference to their destination arrival time.
In conclusion, I’d like to recall watching a video (I can’t seem to find it anymore on YouTube) where a panel of cycling and motoring experts were debating about the pros and cons of cycling. They discussed a lot about the above and made valid points. They rounded off the debate with closing remarks from each of the panel that had themes of safety and economics. A memorable closing remark from 1 of the cycling community panel made sense of the battle between bicycles and cars. She said that it is NOT about cyclists versus motorists or bicycles versus cars or even who is right or wrong. It is about “the fate of the human race where future dependability on dwindling non-renewable energy resources will result in a transportation standstill.”
QUESTION: What might be an answer to avoid a Mad Max-like apocalyptic future?
Don’t get me wrong, I love the Mad Max movies (except Beyond Thunderdome)
ANSWER: Walking is an option, but you have to admit bicycles are way more AWESOME.
NOTE: The Mad Max apocalyptic future might still happen, but they might just change the movie title to ‘Mad Max: Fury Road Bike’!
Thank you & Warm Regards
Share the road, respect the laws & drive/cycle safely