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Front Number Plates - VMAC reaction

Discussion in 'Politics, Laws, Government & Insurance' started by TonyE, Feb 15, 2008.

  1. At last nights VMAC meeting opposition to the front number plate proposal was again expressed by several members.

    The lack of evidence for their necessity, the technical aspects and the inequity of making riders pay for this were among the many points raised. The meetings displeasure that the paper had come to VMAC from an outside source and had not been presented previously was also made known. Not to mention the fact that the impression had been given some time ago that the matter was to be quietly dropped.

    This is what is currently happening at a Federal level:
    At present the Regulatory Inpact Statement (TIS) will soon be coming up before the Standing Committee on Transport. At this point SCOT will decide to shelve it or move to a consultation phase. After a consultation phase then a decision will be made whether to implement it. Then it will be up to the individual states.

    In order to prevent the impression that VMAC is at all in favour of this, Neil O'Keefe, chair of VMAC has given approval to release the following letter written over a year ago to the Minister.

    April 25, 2007

    The Hon Tim Pallas Minster for Roads and Ports Level 23
    80 Collins St Melbourne 3000

    cc: Hon Martin Pakula
    Parliamentary Secretary for Transport

    Dear Minister,

    Re: Ministerial Transport Council Front number plates on motorcycles

    I am writing to thank you, Martin and Jodie for your attendance at the VMAC meeting last Thursday evening and to raise with you an additional item which did not arise until after your departure.

    As you could see, VMAC members were unanimous in their appreciation of the opportunity to discuss a number of issues directly with the Government and are keen to continue dialogue at this level with you.

    Your decision to allocate direct responsibility for this area of transport and road safety policy to your Parliamentary Secretary is appreciated and understood.

    Ministerial Council: Motorcycle frontal identification

    This matter arose at our meeting as an urgent item after your departure when it was reported by members having access to material via other duties that Ministerial Council is meeting on Friday and that frontal identification is included in the agenda for attention.

    It also became clear that Vicroads has submitted a report recommending to Ministers that it is feasible to move ahead with a plan to require frontal identification on all motorcycles.

    This came as quite a surprise to me and many other VMAC members and as a result I agreed to write to you on the subject prior to Friday to ensure that you were properly informed of the position of a majority of VMAC members (including myself).

    Some years ago, in response to complaints from police that motorcyclists were avoiding detection by speed cameras due to the absence of front number plates, Ministerial Council commissioned work by Vicroads ( I assume Victoria volunteered or was the sponsoring state for the idea) to investigate the feasibility and policy considerations around installation of front number plates on motorcycles.

    At the time there was heavy negative feedback from motorcyclists and strong advice from industry that design, safety and aerodynamic issues made this proposal very difficult - if not ill considered.

    At the time I conveyed to your predecessor my view that the proposal was a "kneejerk" reaction to a few incidents which had little or no safety benefit and did not warrant this kind of effort or expenditure of political capital with the motorcycle community.

    The statistical evidence shown to me at the time seemed to indicate that .03% of motorcyclists were avoiding detection - exactly the same as the proportion of motorists avoiding camera detection through dirty, obscured or false front number plates.
    To give a nation wide priority to a measure with such minor impact seemed to me to have been skewed in the thinking behind it.

    These are probably the reasons why no other jurisdiction in the developed world has seen this as an essential safety measure related to motorcycling.

    VMAC has since been led to understand that Vicroads had continued to work on the brief but had taken on board the strong view that this was not supported as a measure - and the strong advice from industry that it was not technically feasible across the range of motorcycles now on the roads.

    At our meeting a valid example was given of the expectation that the "55 year old owner of a highly chromed, $35,000 Harley Davidson cruiser" is going to happily let someone drill holes in it to put on a front number plate - get real!!"

    It is now clear that Vicroads not only continued to work on the brief - but failed to consult with industry leaders in Victoria on the safety or technical issues.

    Vicroads also gave no indication to VMAC that the matter was still live or that Vicroads was recommending to Ministers that the project is technically feasible. In fact, in response to a number of informal requests for advice over time the very clear indication had been given that the matter was dormant at the level of Ministerial Council and that Vicroads was not putting a lot of energy into it.

    Hence this letter.

    Should the matter be discussed at Ministerial Council on Friday, I wish you to be informed that VMAC does not support this proposal and that there are very sound reasons for doing so.

    Given the nature of the makeup of VMAC I should also clarify this advice. Some members represent agencies involved in sponsoring the idea in the first place and may remain supportive of the idea. Others have never given it consideration. Not all made comment at the meeting.

    However, a substantial majority of VMAC members have been and remain fully informed on the topic and hold the quite strong view that the idea should be opposed for all the reasons I have outlined above.

    I trust that this assists in clarifying this question for you.

    Had I known that it was on the agenda for Ministerial Council this week I would have ensured that you and Martin were fully briefed on the issue from the VMAC perspective before meeting with us.

    I am sorry that it arises at such short notice..
    Kindest regards,

    Hon Neil O'Keefe
  2. to late for this guy

  3. Two questions, Tony:

    What if any response was received to the letter?

    What further action has VMAC taken on this issue from 25 April to date?

  4. the Minister stated that he would take the issue up with the appropriate people within VicRoads.

    Essentially we were then led to understand that they were no longer on the agenda and therefore no further action needed to be taken..
  5. RIders avoiding speed detection does not warrant the need to incorporate a front number plate. The financial implications to "Consult" such a service is in the Millions - not including the possibilities of trials and assessments on each and every motorcycle type out there.

    This entire process of Consult and Evaluate will cost the tax payer in excess of $10M

    Anyway, all we can do is hope that they see to reason and do not proceed.
  6. Which is an excellent point. I'm sure this entire exercise is driven by financial greed (yes I'm old and cynical), surely the cost of the project would take a very long time to recoup. Perhaps it would cost more to do this than ensure all new 'safety cameras' *cough cough splutter splutter* are rear facing...
  7. What sort of contract did the Vic state government sign with the privaye toll road operators? Motorcycles are exempt for ONE reason only, they have no front plate! Were they ever promised that this anomaly would be 'fixed'? I hate to be cynical or heaven forbid even a conspiracy theorist, BUT, you can bet that the day we have to wear front plates is the same day we have to pay tolls!
  8. I don't believe that it's about tolls. There's already enough for us to be paranoid about without adding more (just ask PP :LOL: )

    The technology exists now to toll us on the rear plates. Eastlink wants to toll motorcyclists at 50% of the car rate. It will be based on rear plate recognition (no processing charges though) and no electronic devices. Citylink can now do rear plate recognition.

    I have the impression it's about some senior cops and nutters like Harold Scruby who think that motorcyclists are getting away with something by not having front plates. They aren't quite sure what we're getting away with but they know that something's wrong because motorcyclists are always up to no good.
  9. I don't think that bikes are "exempt". Rather they're simply not tolled, but the mechanisms were in place to toll them if they so desire.

    I just looked up Citylink but couldn't find any reference to motorbikes and how they would be charged.

    Thing is what I don't understand is why NSW for example has no problems in charging bikes full price for all its tollways and they have to carry e-tags as well, despite there being no bike friendly e-tag that's available. I wonder why CL never went down the same path.

    But then, NSW has never been a bike friendly state, from all that I've read about the place.
  10. citylink cameras all face front on although they have also added rear cameras as well but they don't work all that well.
    The problem is more the etag coupled with the front facing cameras.
    The new eastlink will toll motorcycles as their cameras are better placed to take photos of plates front and rear.
    Everything about shittystink is wrong as opposed to eastlink (well apart from it being a tollway)
  11. Actually, we should be grateful to CityLink for not making bikes pay tolls.

    We should applaud them for enhancing motorcycle safety. By encourgaing bikes to use CityLinf for free - they are reducing motorcycle exposure at dangerous intersections and roundabouts, which are the source of many M/C accidents.... :grin:

    Now, I have it on good authority that M/C aren't going to need Etags on eastlink - But, they will use their camera technology to capture M/C rear plates and bill bikes that way - so that make EastLink look shiity and CityLink look really good in my eyes :)

    And - CityLink have a problem with their computer system which is too expensive to overcome - even with their recent ability to photograph plates from the rear. EastLink have learned from CityLink's mistake - so get ready to pay guys :p :p
  12. I hear you John
    It was more the stupidity that citylink did everything half arsed with their whole design.
    The monash is a dangerous place with the amount of truck activity and the shitful exits/entries and those tunnels which are nearly always half closed during peak hour.
    because they did everything half arsed is the reason we aint paying tolls.
  13. what's wrong with the exit/entry ramps? They seem to be designed in much the same manner as is on other roads?

    Thing is, Eastlink should never have been a toll road. Toll roads, in my view are part of public infrastructure. We pay for them out of taxes. To pay to use them on top of that, philosophically, is wrong.
  14. Eastlink is a Public Private partnership (PPP). Blame the loony economic right for these. They seem to have the idea that a government going into debt for infrastructure is a bad thing and all their little minions in the media agree.

    If it was a bad thing then I would expect that they would all be saving up and paying cash for their houses rather than taking out a mortgage.

    The original cost of building Eastlink was estimated at $2.5 billion, the cost of compensating the private investor for lost profits to make it toll free would have been about about $7 billion. This places the estimated value of tolls over the life of the project at almost three times the original cost of construction.

    While a PPP may have created the illusion of a debt free project, the reality is that the accumulated cost of tolls over the lifetime of the project is the equivalent of perhaps as much as $7 billion of debt: or, alternatively construed, as a regressive “flat tax†on Victorian motorists amounting to approximately $7 billion over the life of the agreement.

    Given that the interest rates that governments can borrow at is significantly less than the cost to private investors then even paying interest on the $2.5 billion makes it less than half the cost to the state in the long term than the PPP does.

    of course borrowing money to do this is regarded as a big no-no" by the "economists" of the right who would far prefer to see everybody paying more so long as their mates in the private sector can profit from it.

    I cannot envisage circumstances (after 5 years of working in infrastructure development - originally IT but latterly all kinds) where it is cheaper in the long run to use a PPP for development of large projects than for the state to borrow money for it.
  15. Is there anything we, as individuals, can do to help stop this campaign?
  16. protest your little heart out...I know I sure as hell will be :)
  17. protest your little heart out...I know I sure as hell will be :)
  18. Going through my files and I came across some work on FNP's done by Marcus Wigan some years ago. A couple of things in there caught my eye.
    First up is this response from Singapore. They can't even use Singapore as an excuse for them now.

    From Switzerland:

  19. You're wrong Dave.

    CityLink stuffed up by initially by installing front facing cameras plus where does a rider safely keep an e-Tag so it doesn't get nicked.

    As mentioned EastLink learned from CityLink's mistakes and you can bet CityLink will update their systems as soon as EastLink comes on line later this year after all it's another revenue stream they are missing out on.

    So a search on previous threads on CityLink and you'll find a letter from them stating they reserve the right to charge bikes but currently do not do so.
  20. TransUrban has in the past preferred front images because the prime mover of articulated trucks has the registration plate at the front of the prime mover itself, while trailers have separate and different registration numbers.

    They moved some years ago to a dual camera arrangement to take both front and rear plates.

    All the claims that it is to do with tolling only distract from the real issues.

    What we are hearing is that this is actually being driven by CrimTrak and acquiring the ability to track people - all being driven under the guise of road safety. It all sounds a bit like something PP might have posted but even the most paranoid person is sometimes right... :wink: