In the future large motorcycles might be legalized in the Territory with strict road use regulations. This is based on comments that were made on the matter by Premier and Minister for Finance Hon. Andrew Fahie.
It is currently illegal to have a motorbike above 125 CC in the Territory and over the years there have been discussions on allowing the use of larger bikes, but those currently unhappy with the current scooter use matters remain adamant that larger bikes should not be allowed.
“It is bad enough with those noisy and unruly motor scooters, there have been serious accidents and deaths too, then they team-up and race day and night: do we want big motorcycles to do the same? restrictions or no restrictions?? This is supposed to be paradise not hell,” one Road Town elder told this newspaper.
Actually, on numerous occasions officers of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force have confiscated illegal motor bikes in the Territory. Nonetheless, the recently elected Premier said that he is open to legalizing the motorcycles with conditions. While speaking on the radio programme Honestly Speaking with Claude Skelton-Cline the Premier said: “We are looking at a lot of things in terms of how we go about legalizing jet skis with certain size bikes with policies, street policies to make sure it does not contribute to anything negative in the community.”
Back in 2014 following various scooter accidents in the Territory, a public debate on legalizing larger motorcycles in the Territory was held at U.P.’s Cineplex and at that meeting former professional rider Shane Winter explained that in his opinion the legalizing of bikes over 125 CC will make the roads safer and result in fewer accidents – larger motorcycles would actually make the roads safer.
In stressing that the bigger bikes are a safer use as opposed to scooters which he opined were unstable Winter explained some of the issues with scooters that were resulting in accidents. He said that unlike a motorcycle the scooter does not maneuver turns as seamlessly. He said the motorcycles have better brakes that allow for sudden stops even if the rider is going down a hill which – he said – is not often the case with a scooter.
Despite the fact that the motorcycles are illegal Her Majesty’s Customs and Police Officers have reported seizing the said bikes in the Territory.
In 2013 the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force confiscated at least five illegal bikes which had engine sizes ranging from 650cc to 750cc, and far exceeded the legal size limit of 125 CC of motor scooters.
Similarly, in 2011 Her Majesty’s Customs offered a theory as it relates to the alleged smuggling of motorcycles noting that the motorcycles were coming from the USVI. In fact, back in 2011 it was reported by the police information office in a press release that several motorcycles that exceeded the legal size limit for the BVI which is 125cc, were reportedly stolen St.Thomas and St. John were seized here.
The Customs Department speculated that perhaps the motorcycles were smuggled into the territory using stolen speed boats from the USVI and divulged that information had been received of boats being allegedly stolen from the USVI.