Sun | Dec 17, 2017

Letter of the Day | Bike tax hike makes no sense

Published:Wednesday | August 30, 2017 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

I cannot believe that the National Road Safety Council would seriously consider recommending that the taxes on motorcycles be increased so as to discourage the purchase of these units, in an effort to help reduce road deaths.

Motorcycles require much less space to operate on our busy highways and are more economical to operate than the motor car. To suggest that the drivers of the bikes be taxed out of existence and replaced by the said drivers buying very old, inefficient and often unsafe motor cars, as would likely happen, is insanely illogical.

What we should be doing in our tropical climate, conducive to this form of personal transport, is to encourage the use of motorcycles. Another benefit would be to reduce the need for building expensive, multi-lane highways through or around the two cities and major towns of Jamaica.

What is wrong is that the traffic laws need amendment and/or police enforcement that control their operations.

1. The bikes should not be allowed to ride between lanes of traffic. In the USA and Canada, a motorcyclist riding in traffic is not allowed to ride between lanes to overtake a vehicle or wait for a traffic signal to change.

In Britain, this is allowed, and I suspect it is lawful here. I believe we should adopt the North American standard.

2. The law should be enforced regarding the requirement of wearing helmets, both by the driver and pillion rider.

3. The learner's licence should not be able to be renewed without the applicant actually taking the tests for a licence during the said period of the provisional licence.

There appears to be the practice for riders to simply renew the provisional licence, without going through the rigours of learning the road code and taking the competence tests.

4. Have the Island Traffic Authority check the roadworthiness of motorcycles on a regular basis. This should include checking the colour of the tail and turning signal lights, where many of these lamps have been replaced with blue lights - a practice whose usage is widespread among all types of motor vehicles.

5. Encourage the insurance companies to be stricter in issuing policies to owners of motorcycles.

I believe if these suggestions are followed, we would see significantly fewer fatal accidents on our roads.

WINSTON DEAR

Montego Bay