Calls for cyclist tax badge to make bikes pay to use German roads

Calls for cyclist tax badge to make bikes pay to use German roads

While all drivers in Germany pay vehicle taxes to use the roads, cyclists are able to get about pretty much for free. Many people think that’s the way it should be, but some politicians are calling for bike users to pay their share, in the form of a cyclist tax badge (Vignette). 

Germany considers asking cyclists to contribute to infrastructure

After a party in Switzerland floated the idea of a “cyclist tax badge”, the same scheme is now being proposed in Germany. The plan would see all cyclists in the country asked to pay a small annual fee of around 20 euros as a contribution to the infrastructure they use. 

The government is seeking to massively promote cycling in the federal republic by investing in things like cycle paths, bike parking garages, and e-bike charging stations. So far, these costs have been borne centrally, but there is some feeling that cyclists should be asked to contribute more. 

According to a report in the Neue Presse, the town of Coburg in Bavaria has recently proposed introducing a tax badge for cyclists, at a cost of around 10 euros per year. The revenue from the badge is to be invested in infrastructure projects like bike paths and bridges. The FDP city council declared this “appropriate cost-sharing”. 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the cycling community has responded negatively to the proposals, with the blog writing, “The costs for the construction and maintenance of roads are significantly higher than the income collected from drivers. The additional costs are therefore theoretically borne by everyone, including people without a car.” 

How will Germany pay for roads after green revolution?

The question of how Germany’s roads are to be maintained as people gradually switch to electric vehicles and bicycles has been frequently raised in recent years. Since both modes of transport are currently exempt from taxation, a mass switchover would leave the federal government with a massive hole in its budget. 

Recently, a group of German researchers called for a new toll of 5,4 cents per kilometre to be levied on all vehicles using German roads, arguing that this could be one way for the government to make up the financial shortfall. As well as roads, the researchers argued that the money raised could be invested in infrastructure for cyclists, pedestrians and public transport



Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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