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Cycling - Comparing the costs

Here are some of the factors you may need to consider when counting the costs of your choice to use a bicycle over a car.

Initial outlay

  • the cost of a bike is a fraction of that of a car
  • interest lost is considerably less for a bike because of the lower cost
  • depreciation is considerably less costly for a bike


  • minimum third party liability is mandatory by law for motorists. However cyclists do not, at this time, need insurance
  • insurance against theft of a bike may be worthwhile
  • membership of some cycling organisations includes insurance cover

Vehicle Excise Duty

  • Vehicle Excise Duty is mandatory for most cars
  • Vehicle Excise Duty on motorised vehicles is linked to vehicle emissions - very low emission vehicles (including electric vehicles) have a nil rate of duty
  • Cycles, as the ultimate low emission vehicle, are not liable for Vehicle Excise Duty

Ongoing costs

  • an MOT test is required on all cars more than four years old
  • fuel costs is a major factor where cycling benefits over motoring
  • maintenance and parts is another instance where cycling benefits over motoring
  • parking charges for cars in most major town centres
  • in many areas cycle parking, if available, is not secure and open to the elements, but is free
  • Did you know that travelling 10 miles by bike instead of by car could save you up to £1,700 each year?

Support organisation

  • this cost may not be absolutely necessary for cyclists or motorists but many consider it beneficial. An example of this would be breakdown recovery for motorists
  • benefits from respective organisations are similar, although cycling groups include insurance
  • for motorists, groups such as RAC and the AA can cost from approximately £30 a year upwards, depending on level of benefit sought
  • for cyclists, groups such as CTC (Cyclists Touring Club) can cost approximately £30 per year (includes insurance)

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