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Government siege on motorcyclists

Steve Pearce Motorcycle Council of NSW treasurer texting distracted sentence siege
Steve Pearce in action

Most riders believe motorcycling is under siege by governments that want to legislate us out of existence under a thin veil of safety.

Now Motorcycle Council of NSW treasurer Steve Pearce (pictured above on his Triumph ST Sprint) has vocalised what we all think in his unprecedented attack on the NSW Government.

It follows their protracted battle over compulsory third party (CTP or “green slips”) premiums and the recent decision to reduce speed limits on the Oxley Highway.

Read about the Oxley speed battle here.

Save the Oxley organiser Ken Healey on his BMW K 1300 R - Motorcycle Friendly Town (Photo: Keoghs Vision Photography) siege
Save the Oxley organiser Ken Healey on his BMW K 1300 R (Photo: Keoghs Vision Photography)

“More than any other time since the 1970s, motorcycling in NSW is under siege,” he says.

You could say the same thing in most other states.

One example is Victoria where riders pay a $70 safety levy yet the government has failed to spend $18.5m of the $66.6m so far collected.

Usually rider representative groups play a cloying and obsequious role with incumbent governments, but Steve has decided to take the gloves off.

Rather than dilute Steve’s message, we have published the full text of his attack on the NSW Government:

Under siege, by Steve Pearce

Steve Pearce siege
Steve Pearce

Our sport, pastime, hobby, lifestyle, passion — call it what you will — is under siege.

Motorcycling is dangerous, it’s not for everyone. But we accept the risk and take the ride anyway. Make no mistake, the cost of green slips for motorcyclists will increase. Speed limits on the roads we enjoy will come down. Why? Because our Government has convinced itself that we can and should achieve zero crash fatalities and they want to risk price us off the road to achieve it.

Motorcyclists are being demonised. Driving a car is dangerous, it involves risk of injury. So is riding a motorcycle. But when our right to accept the risk and do it anyway is being taken away, we have to stand and fight.

My view is that in most cases, motorcyclists are safer road users, because we understand risk and road conditions better than drivers. And I argue we also make better drivers as we anticipate  risks and have a better relationship with the road and surrounding environment.

In 2015 there was a Joint Standing Commission into Motorcycle Safety with 22 recommendations for the NSW Government to act on. How many do you think have been actioned? None!

Yet the recent review into Green Slips which basically gives us nothing has been rushed through. And now we are being told that speed limits on the Oxley are being reduced, with no consultation, and after protests and a 10,000 strong petition, with no real supportable evidence that speed is the dominant factor in motorcycle accidents on this road. And this road is in the Roads Minister’s electorate.

Make no mistake, we have to act now to preserve our choice of lifestyle before the nanny state takes it from us.

  • How is your state government legislating riders out of existence? Leave your comments below.

  1. The NSW government has the highest amount of unqualified ministers ever. Not only with motor vehicles but water management and taxes that are to only raise revenue to fill their pension funds.
    I live in NSW and have a small unit in Victoria so you can guess where my vehicles are registered.
    My tandem axle van in NSW was around $380 p.a. and Victoria $56 p.a. How do they explain this?
    Back to the bikes .. I would happily waiver my third party fee and ride at my own risk. I am happy to pay the rego to the government and take my chances on the road with no Greenslip .. thieves.

    1. Just a word of warning, if you come up against a judge in the know, and he determines that your place of residence is actually NSW, you’re going to be in big doo-doo. When I was in the RAAF, they warned us specifically about trying to do that exact same thing.

  2. Very much the same story in S.A. We’re told we go too fast and have no respect for what we do. Fines go up, enforcement increases, levies get imposed and nothing changes. The only difference we seem to see is more money in the Govt coffers but will they spend it on what they suggest it’s being collected for..? Unlikely..

  3. Even before my riding days i did not fit in.
    But hey , if the homosexual community can get the support of the public to effect laws and legislation, surely the (larger, to be confirmed ) biker community can achieve the same.

  4. The current CTP insurance scheme in NSW is the biggest rort between insurance companies & the insurance companies that I cam imagine. Why doesn’t the Premier (with the unpronounceable name) change the system so that the CPT is linked to a driver/riders license? After all any driver cannot drive/ride more than one vehicle at a time AND some vehicles may not be registered correctly but all drivers SHOULD be licensed. So why isn’t it linked to licences and cheaper? Because the Insurance industry is an important (big) donor to political parties.

    1. I agree 100%, how can we be forced to pay rego and insurance for each vehicle, when if you get caught for lose of points you will lose all right to operate any vehicles. One vehicle registration, one insurance policy to cover the licensed operator, I’m sure the insurance companies will go for that.

  5. While we meekly accept the lies we’re told about safety, they will continue to force these stupid decisions on us. It’s time to stand together and protest in numbers. Let’s have marches and rides to parliament houses, park-ins at peak times in city and regional CBDs. We need a strong political voice and numbers to back it up.

  6. Terry your third party does not cover you covers your pillion or anyone else who might be injured by your negligence. Yes we pay far too much in insurance

  7. So true…instead of attacking motorcyclists when will the government start attacking all these unnecessary tech and touch screen rubbish in cars that are causing distractions

  8. On going restrictions for motorcyclists who pay more than most others for the sguare metre occupied and the unquallified non paying unlicenced ,traffic obstructing push bikes have free reign .Dont trust the government….

  9. Yep the same battle that had raged for decades only now the govt having consulted the bike fraternity had decided to ignore the input and act like they know what’s best for us . Don’t kid yourself selves people we do not live in a democracy . Every day our freedoms are being taken from us , our values are being prostituted and all in the name of fair for all??? . Bull$_&#. It’s not democracy it’s Communism by stealth .

  10. We are nearing the Golden age of motorcycling. Motorcyclists as group just need to hang on and stay strong for another decade at the most.

    The age of autonomous cars is just around the corner and will usher a whole new era of safety for us riders.

    1. Yep. And “smart bike” technology is coming too. The roads are going to be very different to now.

      Having said that, too many riders are still not helping themselves enough.


      Contrary to popular conception, motorists don’t deliberately try to hit us. They just don’t SEE us. They can be looking our way, but their eyes will always lock on to what is a threat to THEM….ie other cars. They look right through bikes.

      The answer is to be so visible that they can’t miss you. I ride a white bike with high beam always on (day time only) and flouro clothes. I don’t care what it looks like. People see me.

      A rider went past me the other day: black bike, black clothes and black helmet. And sure enough, about 100m down the road a car pulled out in front of him. They were probably looking at ME coming along behind him 🙂

  11. Im sick of the discrimination and the government is getting away with it. We pay extra on Greenslips and rego. Then get nothing for it. Country NSW roads are a death trap, waiting to happen. Then you have your helmet laws. One person can wear something into our servos, banks etc because of their religion. Isn’t it our religion to ride? The nanny state needs to get a grip on reality.

  12. We thought the filtering laws were a good thing but there were really no laws against it to start with and those that did had minor fines and no points or two points at most. Now 90% of what we may need to do to filter safely attracts a heavy fine and points. CTP makes no sense in the way it is applied in NSW they base it on engine capacity not on type of bike so you could have a 250cc rocket capable of doing over 200kph costing much less than a 900cc tourer that is actually the safer bike both for the rider and the public. And CTP is meant to insure the people you may harm but bikes are statistically the safest vehicles on the road compared to suvs and trucks and Volvo’s that is.

  13. I’m 32 I’ve never had a car licence only ever had my bike licence I ride everyday and have been since I was 17, I’ve never caused an accident I have never hit another vehicle because I pay attention to what’s going on around me and I most certainly understand its life and death out on our roads not just for me but the people around me on the road, I have been hit by 2 cars 1 because she was looking at her phone on her lap and 1 because he was playing with his GPS. Maybe instead of targeting bike rides to keep our roads safe how about they actually make sure people know how to drive or ride before they get that licence maybe do away with the computer test and get people to do a practical test instead, and being that our country is so multicultural I think it’s pretty stupid to rely on people’s parents who didn’t grow up with our road laws to teach the L platers on how to drive.

    1. Spot on Simon. If they wNt to raise revenue they could increase fines for mobile phone use to $1000 and actively target what is a far more dangerous past time.

  14. My vote to Steve,
    Todays government believes
    Diversions and deflection is the key… They wont talk about the real issues – Driver education, awareness, touchscreen in cars, road conditions, road facilities etc…etc… etc…
    consultation wont bring in revenue, revenue, revenue, revenue, revenue, they know motorcyclists will pay…
    Taking on insurance company, banks would mean some real governance
    Btw – I have a saftey idea ban all other vehicles on Oxley hwy… Only motorcycle allowed, its build for us… Most other vehicles cant keep to lanes anyway

  15. Motorcyclists rego & fuel taxes pay for dangerous vertical armco posts in top photo. They can kill motorcyclists, are contrary to well-known road engineering principles, & are banned in some European countries. So why are Australian motorcyclists forced to pay for obstructions which kill us?

  16. In NSW another ‘stunt’ they are up too, when a motorcyclists is involved in an accident with a car and the car driver SHOULD be in the wrong. The H/P are booking the rider for some obscure offence. I was recently hospitalised by a driver who failed to give way to me. Guess what 14 days later I received an infringement notice in the mail for ‘Failing to enter/exit a roadway safely’.
    My case is not isolated, I have since come across a few similar situations of late.

    As to CTP, how come Spyder’s seem to be up to twice the cost of a similar 2 wheeler?

  17. I Agree Steve! I have become a far better car driver after obtaining my MC license some years ago. My own self awareness/preservation on the bike has carried thru to the car. Everyone should get a MC license, experience the joy in MC riding and live the reality of poor vehicle drivers! Roads would be a different place indeed!

  18. I recently completed a survey asking about riding activities and what the VIC Gov can use certain monies for. Many of the questions asked about speed appropriateness etc so obviously it was one of their agendas. I reinforced the need for driver education and road upkeep as important factors to reduce accidents. Yes in some cases speed and poor rider skills is a factor, however, often inappropriately slow speeds is an even bigger factor as people become frustrated with driving / riding far too slow not for safety but to avoid getting a speeding fine and then do stupid things in order to make up time. I also pointed out that I have had far more close calls due to inattentive cyclists on suburban roads than all other road user groups combined and cyclists do not even contribute to the licence registration environment. I have been finding cyclists just expect everyone to get out of their way and can regularly swerve out of cycle lanes without looking, go through red lights etc.

  19. We can all jump up and down wave our first in the air but we all know the government the powers that be will wrap them selves in “safety” and not give stuffs on what we think.

    1. Hi Jason –
      I have been down that ‘Safety’ road many years ago with the MRA and I have always advocated ROAD SAFETY – BUT – IT Should be left up to – as used on the Informational material of the day – “LET THOSE WHO RIDE DECIDE” –

      WE, The Riders, are the BEST Judge of What Works as far as Road Safety is concerned – I am not going to enter into the “Speed Restrictions” here because they are a side issue and a Distraction of the Real Issue – IF you tackle the Governments directly on Road Safety then Let it BE ROAD SAFETY, BY Motorcyclists and for Motorcyclists and Not some Bureaucrat that shuffles rubbery figures and improper statistics around thinking he/she are doing the right things by us in saving our lives and making us safer, acording to them with all their paperwork …. they have truckloads of it …
      Play them at their own game but Play by YOUR SAFETY RULES – NOT THEIRS …
      Does That Make any Sense ???
      RAM it down their throats till they GAG on IT !!!
      Motorcyclists are more aware of their Safety than any bureaucrat can or will ever be.
      Cheers –

  20. While we’re on the subject of rules which make no sense, why are bikes charged the same tolls as cars? “Two axles” is a desperately lame reason.

  21. Has anyone from the NSW Govt measured you up for a box yet ? No, No, NO – NOT A Coffin type box – BUT One to pack us into with a hundred kilos of COTTON WOOL … just in case we might break … Wait till they want US to Wear AIR-BAG CLOTHING – OR Rather, DON’T WAIT is MORE to the POINT …

    WHAT HAS HAPPENED to RIDER REPRESENTATION in this country ??? Does it even exist anymore? OR are US OLD FARTS going to have to DO IT AGAIN ???

    I live too far away from the Seat of Power to do anything much now – EXCEPT give my 110% Support for ANY FAIR, SENSIBLE & NON DISCRIMINATORY LEGISLATION for Motorcyclists …

    Maybe the Motorcyclists APATHY has something to do with it – Do You Think ???

    We ALL KNOW that the Govt will and Does manipulate the Statistics to Siut themselves – ANYTHING that they wish to achieve is Fair Game to them …

    Does anybody think that “WE” can do anything to let the Government know that ‘WE MEAN BUSINESS’ and that “WE” won’t be Pushed Around like their Puppets & Playtoys …

    GET your FACTS SORTED with HARD, Documented Evidence of the Cause you wish to Tackle – Get some meetings organised to nut out a Plan of Attack – Get a Good Publicity Officer and get some of – if not ALL, Motorcycling Media to give their support AND Get the Ball Rolling for Taking on the Government in 2018 – KEEP the Motorcycle Riding Public informed and aware of the Progress of perhaps a NEW or Resurected Political Motorcycle Lobby Group to be assembled and WHEN you are Ready for further action, put out a call for Memberships & Support for Protests of Various Kinds, to LET the Government KNOW in NO UNCERTAIN TERMS that the Motorcyclists are ready for a FIGHT…

    BUILD IT AND THEY WILL COME !!! But for everyone’s sake don’t just piss into the wind !!!

    IF you do, the only thing you will get, is short relief and smelly urine soaked boots – OK …

    I would think that there are still a good core of old timers out there who would/may be available to call upon for their experience and input – perhaps they would be available for consultation or they may even become directly involved – depending if they are an active motorcyclist or a supporter of a Motorcycle lobby Group – IF there was to be a cohesive group then the Call for Memberships needed and office bearers, BUT ONLY those who are COMMITTED to the CAUSE should APPLY.

    It has been proven and deomnstrated in the past that the motorcyclist WILL SUPPORT a Political Cause IF it Means a Change for the better – for ALL Motorcyclists, OR, to STOP BAD IDEAS BECOMING LEGISLATION …

    There you go – I have given my thoughts on the matter – I can’t do much from a small rural town in NSW, where I am just another local biker. (A minority in a Minority)

    Any concerned riders in and around Sydney should be perhaps getting the cogs meshed and momentum gathered for embrionic meetings to see if there is enough support to warrant something being done – Nobody deserves to be dictated too …

    You might just be surprised at the support you will get – but it has to be a Just & Worthy Cause.

    Are YOU the READER – UP FOR IT ??? Perhaps Get in touch with Mr Steve Pearce, Mr Ken Healey or perhaps the Writer of this article, Mr Mark Hinchliffe and see what may develop out of this Newsworthy story … I am not going to do it all for you …..

    Take CARE, RIDE SAFE –

  22. As a vivid motorcycle-fan and a hopeless/die-hard petrolhead,
    I detect a conspiracy-theorist type of lamenting here,
    which reminds me of the NRA (The National Rifle Association of America) constant cry,
    in the name of the Second Amendment…
    (God help America(ns)…)
    Before throwing a stone at me;
    I love riding my motorbike too and
    I’ve never owned a firearm…
    Just my two cents worth,
    in the name of objectivity.

  23. Thanks Ken for putting the article up, and thanks Steve for putting up a fight.
    I have just moved to NSW and man did i get a shock at all the cameras and the price of rego, and some bullshit thing called a greenslip. hell in WA its half the cost for rego and insurence all in one and it goes to the gov, who administer it well, NSW gov it would seem are a bunch of thieves !!! rant over – back to bike riding and the article
    It would seem the Motorcycle council is trying to do its bit for bikers, i just had a look at their web page and am now a member, $35 bucks is cheaper than shit on a stick if it helps the people who run the MCC fight for my rights. I guess now its up to me and all of the other bikers out there to get behind the MCC and fight – good job guys

  24. The tolls in Sydney are a major rip off for bikes, same price as a car. Bikes cause less congestion, less wear and tear on the roads and weigh less than half the weight of a car. I can’t see how they can justify the price, just a blatant rip off.

  25. Steve Pearce,
    Have you given any thought to how we could be effective in bringing these issues to a sympathetic public. I think it is gong to be an up hill battle given that most road users see motorcyclist as risky and dangerous road users. However, it would be interesting to get a rally together and test the waters, maybe invite the minister for Road Safety, who has demonstrated she knows absolutely nothing about Road Safety for motorcyclist, ( read ripple strips in the middle of tight mountain corners so bike tires loose grip), and perhaps Her counterpart in the opposition to see what they might do to get some support from us.

    Lets get a movement going, lets come up with a slogan and make some patches, bikes certainly offer environmental benefits, a much smaller environmental footprint than any other motorized road users.

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