We’ve seen the ABD (Alliance of British Drivers) given lots of airtime over the years despite them being extreme in their views. Recently Fair Fuel UK and their leader, Howard Cox, have also got some air time in the media.
I don’t believe their views are a true reflection of most motorists in the UK, as a motorist my self, their views towards vulnerable road users is certainly questionable. With Howard Cox being published in the Express this week as he is in an uproar about changes to the road network to make cycling that little bit safer! Despite him also being a cyclist (so he says).
Motorists at the moment have it good, and I say that as a motorist. We get spaces to keep our cars on the road, we can drive to most places for free and because of Fair Fuel UK we pay less tax on our fuel than we would have.
Since 2010 FairFuelUK has saved drivers over £110bn in planned tax hikes in duty and VAT through constructive and objective campaigning.Fair Fuel UK website
Fair Fuel UK isn’t just campaigning for fair fuel prices at the pump, they are also campaigning for the following.
Effective ways to lower emissions but not through tax hikes – Stop the perennial demonisation of van drivers, hauliers and motorists – More investment in UK roads similar to the level of HS2 spend – Establish a long term Government strategic roads transport plan – Halt unnecessary cash generating congestion zones and ULEZ expansion – VED and its future – Influence fairer future road user taxation plans and road funding with fuel duty revenue predicted to decline – Help role out new vehicle technology in a way that does not hit drivers in the pocket – Scrap hospital parking charges – Other related motoring costs and driving issuesFair Fuel UK website
To sum it up, Fair Fuel UK want to make motoring as cheap as possible and they want huge investment in the road networks, similar to HS2!
In their recent comments in the Express, Howard Cox stated the following
..free-to-use dedicated cycle lanes…
…While car drivers and motorcyclists pay for road space, this form of highway robbery swipes vast tracts of road away…
…But now cyclists have gone too far, and it’s time to reclaim the streets for the people who actually pay for them.Howard Cox – Express
Howard implies on multiple occasions that cycling is free, and he isn’t wrong. It’s a great form of transportation as the costs are relevantly low in comparison to other forms. The damaged caused by cycling on the roads is also relatively low.
But let’s be honest here, the money that motorists pay doesn’t even cover the costs of motoring in the UK.
A common trait amongst these extremist motoring lobbies is they are happy to point out the naughtiness in cyclists but completely gloss over the bad drivers, who let’s be honest are much worse.
I previously wrote about how motorists kill and seriously injure more pedestrians on the pavement and at red traffic lights than cyclists do. But that’s rarely pointed out by motoring lobbies.
Drivers were happy to coexist with bicycles even though many on pedal power ignore the rules of the road.Howard Cox – Expresss
Drivers may well be happy to coexist with cyclists, the point however is that cyclists are not happy to coexist with motorists who do not follow the laws and do not drive safely.
Conveniently the DFT recently published its Walking and Cycling stats for 2019.
In which they detail that two-thirds of adults feel that it is too dangerous to cycle on the roads!
Why aren’t the motoring lobbies in favor of better cycle facilities? If we can get more people out of their cars and cycling, then that leaves more road space available to those that do need to drive!
As a motorist my self, I have to pay all the same things as other motorists.
- I bought my car brand new
- I pay for its upkeep
- I pay insurance
- I pay for the fuel
- I pay the VED.
I also have paid for and maintain 6 bicycles (which I also pay to be insured for whilst using the road), and my partner has 2. I obviously live somewhere, so I pay council tax, and I’m paid, so I pay income tax.
If anything I pay more than just your regular Joe motorist, so to call cyclists free loaders is rather amusing.
As a multi-mode transport user, I’m interested in being able to choose what mode of transport I take somewhere without the fear of being put in danger. Unfortunately, some of the drivers of this country are the cause of the danger I experience. Until the motoring lobby address this, we won’t be able to move forward.
Cyclists break the law!
When cycling is ever talked about in the media, be it a big story or when campaigners are being interviewed, bad cycling is always brought up. But that’s never the case when we talk about motorists!
This country is fixated on bad cycling, it’s brought up everywhere! In reality, bad driving is what causes issues on our roads. As I recently tweeted, over 1,700 people are killed each year on our roads as a result of motorists. And the costs of that are over £3,000,000,000!
We don’t hear any outcry about this in the media as it is so normalised, 5 people a day die on average in the UK due to motorists. We don’t hear the motoring lobbies stating they want to crack down on motorists that are giving them a bad name!
You get what you build for
Howard Cox and many other extremist lobbies often state that cyclists make up a small percentage of road users and that most of them are white males working in the cities in white-collar jobs. They wouldn’t be wrong, and that’s because we’ve built a road network that forces you to be brave in order to take to the road on a cycle.
I’m not saying that only white males are brave, or that they are any braver than others.
If we built better and safe infrastructure, we would remove that fear barrier that two-thirds of people say they have. We can change the demographic of people! As cyclists we know this, that is why we are vocal and why they might see this as being militant.
Its impossible to communicate constructively with the militant ‘one agenda to see cars extinct’ amoebas.Fair Fuel UK – Twitter
These extremist motoring lobbies thrive on creating clickbait and hate. They try to make it about motorists vs cyclists. But that isn’t the case. Most people would rather cyclists were separated from motorists so they didn’t have to worry about killing a person. And if they felt like it would be safe to cycle, they would!
..exposing the divide caused by cyclists towards driversFair Fuel UK – Twitter
On multiple occasions, Fair Fuel UK and Howard have mentioned that cyclists attack them/him or that they insult them/him. But I can’t actually see much evidence of that on twitter. They’ve taken advise from the ABD (Alliance of Bad Drivers) and have started to block almost anyone that comes across as a ‘militant’ cyclist.
You resort to type. Insults are your default position. You simply refuse to work with us for the benefit of all roads users not just yourselvesFairFuelUK – Twitter
Howard has given us a view on what Fair Fuel UK members want for cyclists
Our supporters want cycle dedicated tracks away from busy roads for cyclists safety. They believe 88% cyclists shld take road safety tests, wear visible ID, helmets, be fully insured & pay for dedicated lanesHoward Cox – Twitter
- Dedicated cycle tracks! WOOOOOOO. Good quality cycle tracks are great. But let’s come back to this.
- 88% of cyclists should take a road safety test? Is that just adults? is that what the 88% is? Should kids take them? What’s involved in this test?
- Wear visible ID? I presume like a number plate. I’m not against it, but it’s not necessarily practical and doesn’t stop motorists from behaving badly or using false plates.
- Helmets? Well if we are on dedicated cycle tracks will we need them? What about car helmets? Lots of people in car crashes suffer head injuries.
- Fully insured? most cyclists do have insurance through their home insurance, as its so low risk that they include it. Others (like my self) have more extensive insurance.
- Pay for dedicated lanes? I’m cool with this, as long as motorists pay for what they damage!
Cycle Dedicated Tracks
So we’ve just seen that Fair Fuel UK members want Dedicated cycle tracks. Buuuuuuuuuuuuut…..
Moreover, at the first sign of inclement weather, cycle lanes lie largely empty.
It rankles with motorists – who contribute the fifth largest amount of any group to the Treasury – when the cycle lanes next to them are empty.Howard Cox – Express
As with all extremest motoring lobbies, they want to appear like they care about cyclists, but realistically they want their roads to be as big as possible and not have empty cycle lanes next to them.
However, they completely ignore the fact that cycle lanes are so efficient that they can carry vast numbers of cyclists whilst looking relatively empty.
I tried to be reasonable and talk to Howard on Twitter, however, because I wasn’t an extreme cyclist that swore at him or insulted him, he didn’t actually respond. That is until I pointed out several times that he didn’t respond and asked him if he had seen my comments/questions, then he blocked me. LOL!
These are my tweets to Howard and Fair Fuel UK.
There is no divide between motorists and cyclists. People who want to cycle and do cycle are often motorists! Some people just want to be able to cycle safely, and unfortunately, that isn’t available in many parts of the country.
Media outlets love listening to extreme motoring lobbies, they think it represents them but realistically driving now in cities is a nightmare. It’s a nightmare not because of the cycle lanes, it’s a nightmare because too many people are driving!
Building good quality cycling infrastructure will get people out of their cars for some journeys and get them cycling. Which in turn will result in their being less motor traffic on the road and thus benefit those that do need to drive.