Government’s promise to allow larger motorbikes into the Territory was fulfilled on 29 November when the Cabinet made the decision to vary the import and export restrictions on 125 cc engine size limit on motor cycles and their parts pursuant to the Customs Management and Duties Act, 2010, section 85(3)(a).
The Cabinet decided that increased engine sizes should be allowed on the condition that the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) revamp the licensing mechanism for motorcycles and impose a three-prong licensing regime that includes basic training.
This basic training would include the making of existing programme compulsory for every motorcycle rider. This is to include theoretical testing and full rider testing. Most specifically there is a minimum age limit for larger cc engine sizes and a minimum riding experience for larger cc engine sizes.
There is also expected to be stipulations on the importation of these bigger motorbikes. This importation provision includes the importation of bikes as collectables for static displays. Additionally, it was stated that the importation and sale of all motorcycles is only permitted to dealers authorised by the Government of the Virgin Islands (UK).
The Cabinet also decided that any person desirous of importing a motorcycle to the Territory must obtain a certificate from the Department of Motor Vehicles; and it was explained that revamping the existing licensing mechanism for motorcycles will ensure that all riders would have demonstrated their competence and safe level of riding on public roadways by age and experience; and receive instructions in operations, maintenance, emergencies, defensive riding, judgement, and use of safety equipment from a DMV approved programme.
Back in May Minister for Communications and Works, Hon. Kye Rymer announced that his Ministry has already commenced looking into legalizing large motorcycles for use in the Territory.
Hon. Rymer told the House of Assembly that the Ministry is reviewing the current restriction on the importation of motor cycles over 125 cc engine size. “Mister Speaker, the limit can be increased to perhaps 600 cc with the appropriate control measures in place to continue a safe cycling environment,” he told the house.
The plan to allow larger bikes in the Territory was first mentioned by Premier and Minister for Finance, Hon. Andrew Fahie while speaking on the radio programme Honestly Speaking with Claude Skelton-Cline in March: “We are looking at a lot of things in terms of how do 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,” Hon. Fahie said.
It has been reported by various Road Town residents that the existing motorcycles contribute to noise pollution to an unbearable extreme which means that exhaust pipes have been modified for the sake of making deliberate, out of control noise. The police needs only to patrol the waterfront area in the night to confirm these allegations.