Motorcycle riders roll out to oppose registration levy Article found here http://the.standard.net.au/articles/2006/03/15/1142098497377.html By LIZ McKINNON March 15, 2006 THE region's motorcycling fraternity will flood Melbourne's CBD at the weekend as part of a statewide rally calling on the State Government to abolish a $53.90 motorcycle registration levy. The rally is scheduled to travel through Elizabeth Street from 10am on Saturday. It will include south-west politicians, member for Western Province John Vogels and member for South West Coast Denis Napthine, on board bikes with members of the Ulysses Motorcycle Club and other bike owners. The group has sent petitions to the State Government claiming the ``hidden cost'' singles out and penalises the growing number of regional motorcyclists. No other motor vehicle in Victoria pays an additional levy. The Motorcycle Safety Level Program was introduced in 2002 at a cost of $50 to provide funding for road safety programs. Riders, however, claim the revenue has been used inappropriately by installing wire rope safety barriers, known as cheese shredders, which can prove deadly for riders. Green Triangle Region Ulysses Club branch co-ordinator David Upton said 12 months' registration cost as much as $400, making riding an expensive exercise. ``This is stand-over tactics (sic). Everyone is annoyed by it. Why should motorcyclists only be paying for it? All motor vehicle drivers should pay,'' Mr Upton said. New licence-holder Mr Vogels said the levy was particularly unfair for people with more than one bike, who had to pay the full $53.90 fee. He said the 280,000 motorbike riders statewide were benefiting the environment, lowering congestion on the road and were using less fuel but were effectively being punished with the levy. A spokeswoman for Minister for Transport Peter Batchelor defended the levy, claiming it had contributed to world-first safety measures valued at $7.1 million. She claimed wire rope barriers reduced deaths and serious injuries from run-off-the-road crashes by between 50 to more than 90 per cent. ``Preliminary analysis shows the Motorcycle Blackspot Program, with expert riders and engineers working together to develop effective and targeted road improvements, is reducing crashes among riders,'' she said. ``Prior to treatment the first 20 blackspot locations recorded an average of 21 motorcyclist injury crashes per year. In the one year after improvement there have been nine injury crashes, only two of those serious, and no fatalities.'' Portland rider Dave Reynolds argued the levy contradicted the State Government's 1999 election promise to ban the use of wire rope barriers from future road developments in Victoria. ``If the posts don't kill you, the wire probably will,'' he said. ``They are badly placed and dangerous.''