'Road Tax' was abolished in 1937 and replaced by Vehicle Excise Duty (now referred to as Car Tax). This is a tax on cars and not road use. Funds go straight to the treasury.
On 1st April 2010, the IOM Government linked the rate of Car Tax to emissions. Essentially it is a pollution tax, with Ultra Low Emission vehicles being exempt. When this was launched, Mr Anderson – Transport MHK, said the new system would hopefully 'encourage motorists to consider purchasing a less polluting vehicle'. (What is less polluting than a bicycle?).
The vast majority of cyclists are also car owners. They pay car tax and yet choose to use their bicycle.
The income generated from Car Tax does not cover the bill for road maintenance and improvements. Vehicle duty will raise £12.5 million this year, whereas the estimated cost of maintaining the islands road network for 2015-16 is £16 million. The deficit is raised by general taxation.
'they should be made to have tax and insurance like a motorcyclist has to' - comment on IOM Police Facebook page 3/4/2015
Rule 66 of the Manx Highway Code states cyclists should never ride more than two abreast. Therefore riding two abreast is acceptable.
Most cycling organisations positively advise cycling two abreast, especially groups of cyclists. The reasons being:
It's safer - motorists are presented with a wider cross section to see. Also it encourages overtaking vehicles to wait and overtake in the proper manner (i.e. leaving as much room as you would leave a car - Rule 163 of the Highway Code) rather than being tempted to squeeze past in the same lane.
Vehicles take less time to overtake - there is less distance between the front and rear of the group. This allows motorists to pass the group quicker, spending less time on the other side of the road and along side the group and therefore safer all round.
There are occasions we would advise cyclists to single out to allow a waiting vehicle to overtake, for example on a narrow road. (see 'Advice to cyclicts')
The nature of the Manx roads actually makes a minimum overtake distance even more relevant. Rule 213 of the Highway Code says 'pedal cyclists may suddenly need to avoid uneven road surfaces'.
If a separation distance of 1.5 meters is what is required to ensure safety but the road does not permit this then it's not safe to overtake.
It is important, however, that cyclists are also sensitive to motorists and facilitate an overtake if a vehicle has been waiting.
The first group we consulted were the Isle of Man Constabulary. They are careful to point out that they cannot be seen to lobby for changes to the law; their role is enforcing the law. However, they welcome any initiative that improves road safety.
Laws define what is expected of civilized society. To a certain extent if a minimum overtake distance law needs to be enforced then the awareness campaign has failed.
A minimum overtake distance law is no different to other laws; there must be sufficient evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt. In other jurisdictions, on board video footage taken by the person on the bicycle has proved irrefutable.