Ravings of a raconteur and randonneur

You cyclists don’t pay registration!

by JR on 1 Dec ’14, no comments

To the abusive, grumpy bloke in Collaroy, who told us to not ride on the road, but in the bus lane with all the parked cars in it (he had his own lane, by the way, wasn’t stuck behind us), here’s what your bullshit spray made me go and fact-check, and find some sources. After much copying and pasting, I came up with this list just for you. Actually, it’s not just for you, I though it would help others too.

Yes, I must be a hippie.

Basically, car registration doesn’t pay for roads.

It’s a shit of a fact really, because it means you got all worked up for nothing. Here’s some details you can think about while you are waiting for Alan Jones to answer the phone:

  1. Rego actually goes to State revenue, but notionally it is supposed to fund Main Roads (or “State Controlled Roads”). That is mostly the highway system plus a smattering of urban arterials (definitely NOT all of them). Most roads, even the busy ones around Sydney aren’t actually “main roads”. The RMS publishes a scintillating document called the “Schedule of Classified Roads” which has a list — Here’s a quick summary – the road you saw us on, is not a main road.

  2. Car registration generates a fraction of revenue required for these State Controlled Roads. There are about 5.1 million motor vehicles registered in NSW for 2014 ( After taking out the various costs for managing the system (like running the registration system, various levies, and registration plates) what’s left is an average of $72 from your rego; or $367M for NSW (p. 6 – 13, The 2014 RMS budget is $5.5B, and remember that the $367M that is raised from rego is counted as State revenue, not specifically applied to roads. Anyway, let’s keep playing your way — that $5.5B goes to projects such as building highways, and digging big fucking tunnels, neither of which cyclists will or can use — they are, as they say, all yours. But really, they are not all yours, because if you are calculating on your non-existent user-pays system, motorists only contribute a maximum of 6.67% to that infrastructural budget.

  3. The residential streets and collector roads that cyclists actually use were mostly built by property developers as part of the original land subdivision. So the capital cost was met by the people who bought the blocks — that would include everyday people, like cyclists. Motorists contribute nothing through registration. And for the other stuff there’s the Federal Government in Canberra – and they don’t get any money from registration. They do get money from the tax all of us pay, and that includes, you guessed it, cyclists!

  4. The maintenance cost of the road network (the ones cyclists use) is nearly all met by local councils, funded out of property rates. Rates which cyclists, either as owners or renters, effectively pay.

  5. I have a car, a licence, pay insurance and registration, too.

So there you go. But why let the facts get in the way of a good moan? I hope you slow down for mounted Police and give them a blast for riding their unregistered horses on “your” roads, too.

The Federal Department of Infrastructure (yes, under the current coalition government) values the economic benefits of cycling at $1.43/km. Come year end, I’ll have ridden about 13,000km in 2014, and most of that is getting to and from work. That’s worth over $18,000 to the economy, according to the department.

So tell me, who isn’t paying their way?