Biker Boy: Over 2,500 sign petition to remove growth cap on motorbikes
As of yesterday, there were 2,500 supporters who have rallied behind an online petition to remove the population cap for motorcycles here.
Started on Oct 31 by biker Poh Yu Seung, it was in response to an announcement by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) on Oct 23 that it would scrap the vehicle growth rate from the current 0.25 per cent a year for cars and motorcycles from February next year.
LTA cited "land constraints and competing needs", and added there was limited scope for further expansion of the road network.
The use of public transport has also been encouraged by the authorities.
Among those who object to the cap is Mr Matthew Seet, who said in the online petition: "Motorcycles do not contribute towards (traffic) congestion as much as cars do.
"They also take up less space when parked."
Since 2006, the population of motorcycles and scooters has largely remained stable, hovering in the 140,000 bracket.
In 2006, there were 141,881 motorcycles and scooters.
Motorbike population figures peaked in 2010 with 147,282 and dipped to 142,439 motorcycles and scooters last year.
On the other hand, the population of cars and station wagons grew from 472,308 in 2006 to 601,257 last year.
Some petitioners worry limiting the vehicle growth of motorcycles would increase Certificate of Entitlement (COE) premiums, affecting the livelihood of bikers who depend on motorcycles, especially motorcycles below 200cc.
Mr Ben Kimar said in the online petition: "I support lifting the cap as essential logistic services require the use of motorbikes and limiting the supply of COEs will create an inflated demand which only the rich can afford."
In the last 10 years, the percentage of small motorcycles below 200cc has seen a downward trend.
In 2006, motorcycles below 200cc made up 77.8 per cent of the total motorbike population.
Last year, it dropped to around 68 per cent.
Mr Poh told The New Paper that he sees motorcycles as an essential piece of any country's infrastructure towards economic growth.
The 47-year-old said: "Limiting the growth of this population will spin off increased costs for all consumers."
The anxiety is also felt in the motorcycle industry, where most report a drop in sales.
An industry insider who declined to be named said "with zero growth, an invisible barrier exists to prevent COE premiums from falling even with extra motorcycle deregistrations".
In short, motorcycle COE premiums can be expected to remain "volatile" and even experience record-breaking premiums.
Nevertheless, LTA said that adjustments to the vehicle growth rate are "not expected to significantly affect the supply of COEs, as the COE quota is determined largely by the number of vehicle deregistrations".
On another front, the Singapore Motor Cycle Trade Association (SMCTA), which was not consulted and caught unawares by the announcement, held an emergency meeting with its members and also met with LTA representatives.
It is understood that SMCTA had asked for a three-year grace period, arguing it was unfair to lump motorcycles in the same category as cars when restricting vehicle population growth.
Capping it, especially when present trends show a gradual decline in motorcycle population, makes no sense.
I just hope that when the vehicle growth rate is next reviewed in 2020, the policies will be less painful for bikers.