Ask the trade: What’s the greatest barrier to more cycle sales?

Quickly following on from our retail Q&A on the subject of cutting VAT from bicycle sales, CI.N returns to ask the trade what the greatest barrier to cycle sales really is; the response is unanimous…

IS PRICE REALLY THE BIGGEST BARRIER TO MORE BIKE SALES OR IS THERE SOMETHING ELSE THE GOVERNMENT COULD DO?

Neil Holman, George Hall Cycles

I don’t think price is the biggest barrier, there are still traders on eBay willing to sell a bike at £100.

I think to improve cycle sales we need to improve the roads. Making them safer is crucial. I don’t know if it is currently, but passing cyclists with good distance should be made part of the driving test. Most families will not ride on the road because of the danger, if they felt safe then they would be more likely to ride. You only need to hear “Bloody cyclists, don’t even pay road tax” to know how uneducated the average motorist is. I know the Government do allow you to claim mileage for a bike, just like a car.

David Barnett, Tring Motion

We need infrastructure and assumed liability, it’s not about the money – it’s about the perception of safety on the road.

Jef Sharp, Life on a Bike Price

is not the biggest barrier – culture change is. Road infrastructure is. Perceived danger is. Lower prices do help though!

Paul Corcoran, Pennine Cycles

Educating people about the health benefits of cycling, not only physical, but mental wellbeing too. Once again we are seeing an increase in fuel prices at the pump and Government could be sending out greener messages regarding the environment.

David Middlemiss, Rutland Cycling

Price is an issue, especially with regard to e-Bikes, but not the only one. Serious investment, coordinated at a national level, into traffic-free cycle routes would make the most difference to cycle use and cycle sales in the UK. Why such a straight-forward and cost-effective job creating policy, that meshes with the obvious requirements of climate change and social health isn’t proposed and put into practice bewilders me.

WOULD YOU WELCOME A CUT ON VAT ON BICYCLES?

David Barnett, Tring Motion

The Swedish model would be very appealing, this would be a reduced VAT rate for repairs to encourage repairs. Visitors also spend money on other things while in store. This would grow profitability through the supply chain, paying back some of the tax through profits – which would make the grumpiest bike shop owner smile (a bit).

Jef Sharp, Life on a Bike

Tax free schemes are fine, but can cut profit for retailers (particularly small indies). VAT reduced cycle sales will (hopefully) give retailers a sale without commission, therefore a better margin and hopefully a better future for your small cycle stores.

Paul Corcoran, Pennine Cycles

A VAT change won’t sell more bikes, in my opinion. At the present time i’m more concerned with cheap and unsafe bikes arriving in the country, each cutting corners on safety standards.