Despite falling temperatures in Victoria over the past few weeks, it seems that the number of motorcyclists still riding around without basic safety gear is as high as ever! My daily commute sees many riders wearing t-shirts, shorts, sneakers or combinations of the above on various types of machinery - from scooters to the latest 1000cc RRRRR. It occurred to me (as I grudgingly nodded to another of these nutters) that perhaps there is a solution to this problem - and a way to kill two birds with one stone, so to speak. At present, all Victorian motorcyclists are paying a hefty levy (about $62 at the moment, I believe) in addition to already high TAC fees each year - a discriminatory fee only motorcyclists pay. This is justified to us with a number of reasons: the main ones being that more needs to be done to improve rider safety (and so the money goes towards 'research'); and also that we cost the TAC more in the event of an accident, and so should contribute more. It was this second reason that gave me this idea: What if our levy amount could be instead spent on safety gear each year? Or, taking it a step further, could be used in additional training? This way, regardless of the levy amount, the Government could encourage riders to improve their own safety by purchasing approved equipment or rider training courses, instead of just paying more tax. The benefits of this are obvious: - more riders in appropriate gear; - better trained riders; - happier riders who can actually see a REAL benefit to the TAC levy; - less riders in our over-worked hospital beds; - shorter stays for those admitted; and, - lower costs to the TAC for motorcycle accidents. How this system could be implemented I'm not sure - but it's a similar system to the one employed on a federal level for private health insurance: earn $50k, pay $500 Medicare or get your own private health care. Despite have to pay more, people can see real value in getting private health cover when they're earning more money. Motorcyclists would feel the same - despite paying more for their registrations each year, they can see a real value in buying new safety gear or more training instead. I'd appreciate some comments from Netriders on whether you think this proposal is worthwhile, whether it is workable or whether we should just stick with the current 'discriminatory tax' system. You thoughts please!