a call to arms, or at least a whinge

THE recent hike, and in some cases a drop, in Compulsory Green Slip price increases has seen motorcyclists up in arms. On

Tuesday, August 31 a large turnout of riders voiced their displeasure at the CTP changes by marching on Parliament House in Sydney.

It seems motorcyclists have always been keen to stand up for their rights. From demonstration runs to Canberra over the years, to similar voices of opinion in Victoria when the government slugged its motorcycle riders 50 bucks for some safety tax. You can't blame riders for feeling targeted. We are just a little group compared to mum-and-dad car drivers, so we are easier to have a go at.

You know, I used to think

Victoria was THE nanny state, mainly because every time I rode to Phillip Island for the bike races I wondered if my licence was going to remain intact. I had a very real fear about getting a camera speeding fine from some dodgy van sitting on the side of the road. You could argue I shouldn't be speeding but the low tolerances made it all seem, well, not right.

Now the NSW Labor Party has decided to implement a number of mobile speed cameras around the state. Originally they were not marked, but now because of public uproar the politician in charge of such matters has decided to put orange stripes on the cars so we can see them. I have a major issue with how the whole scheme has been implemented though. A private company is running these money making mobile cameras and personally I see a major ethical dilemma here. Call me cynical but I think this will bite the NSW government in the backside at a later date. The NSW Labor Party can't govern itself, let alone govern the state, so I suppose we can't expect them to make the right decisions.

Now we drive and ride around trying to keep exactly to the speed limits when our focus should be on driving safely. In my pretty extensive experience with NSW's road traffic laws I believe the vast majority of drivers travel at safe speeds most of the time, even if that speed is a little over the limit. We will never see a zero road toll, even if there were no cars on the road because someone somewhere will be killed by an out of control skateboarder or an oldie in an electric wheelchair intent on getting a bet on before the TAB shuts.

A perfect example of excessively low speed limits is the fixed speed camera at the bottom of a very big hill just north of Bangalow on NSW's north coast. I was up there a couple of weeks ago for the launch of the new Triumph Sprint GT. As a group we were cruising along at the speed limit which from memory is 100km/h, or at least 80km/h as it's on the Pacific Highway. I was in this line of traffic plodding down the hill at the speed limit when all of a sudden brake lights are on, cars and bikes are braking hard and squeezing the two second

gaps toabouthalf a second.Thenlsaw the reason, a 60km/h speed camera head everyone on the picks. Straight after the camera the spe ed limit goes back up to 100km/h. I couldn't believe what I was seting. The road is divided by big barriers and there is no validreason why the camera should be set at 60km /h. I was so cranky it occupied my thoughts for the next half an hour or so.

While I'm on the bandwagonI think there's something else wee nee d to complain about in NSW. Something needs to be done about recreation registration in the Premier State.

In Victoria you can get rec rego for off-road bikes. Just the other day Publisher Nigel and I were having a convers ation about taking the kids riding in the bush It went along the lines: "I wan. to take the kids in the bush for a ride."

"Because it's a public road and the bike needsto be registered and the rider licensed."

"No, it's a road or road related area, according tine Australian Road Rules oJ 1999."

"That's bullshit."

"That may be io, but iS's the way it is. Now I don't necesearily agree tota"y with it because I rode bikes Sn the bush when I was young, like lots o' peopledid. But there is theissue of insurance, if your letds collect someone riding aheother way, who's liable, you?"

" Something should be done about it."


In Victoria they don't have the CTP setup like we do so I have been led Ssbelieve it's easier to implement a rec rego scheme. We do hava Sto ckton Beaah up here in beautiful NewcssSle, where you can ride rec rego quads and motorcycles. Becauae of CTP legislation it cost" nearly as much eor a rec rego permit as it does to fully register a motorcycle. Of course you can't fully register an ATV so Jor many ATV ownert it's worth it.

There's no doubt riders of loud and unregistered motorcycles have done themselves no favours over the years, and even if we had a rec rego scheme in NSW you would still have a number o f half-wits and bogans riding pit bikes and the like on the streets and in the bush.

If you live in an area turroundbd by forest, like I do, it juat doesn't seem right fo be unable ts take you" kids ribing the re.


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