The Government is getting ready to make motorcycles up to 600 cc legal in the Territory. The announcement was made by Minister for Communications and Works, Hon. Kye Rymer during the 17 May House of Assembly sitting.
It is currently illegal to have a motorbike above 125 CC in the Territory, but Hon. Rymer told the House of Assembly that the Ministry is planning to review the policy to enable the licencing of larger motorbikes. “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.
Back in March, shortly after being elected Premier and Minister for Finance, Hon. Andrew Fahie said that he is open to legalizing the bikes with conditions. While speaking on the radio programme Honestly Speaking 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 discussion on legalizing large bikes 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 Officer have reported seizing said bikes in the Territory. In 2013 the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force confiscated at least five illegal bikes which included engines ranging from 650cc to 750cc, and far exceeded the legal size limit of 125 CC.
Similarly, in 2011 Her Majesty’s Customs offered a theory as it relates to the alleged smuggling of motorbikes noting that the bikes were coming from the USVI. In fact, back in 2011 it was reported by the police information office in a press release that several motorbikes that exceeded the legal size limit for the BVI (which is 125cc) were reportedly stolen in St. Thomas and St. John and were seized in the BVI.