Riders rev up to fight possible bike ban
The sudden outlawing of a popular sports bike has dealt a rude surprise to motorcycle enthusiasts.
“I've had my bike for five years, I've got it licensed for five years, and all at once it's an issue?” said William DaCosta, owner of a lovingly maintained Honda CR150.
Mr DaCosta heads the Ryderz motorcycle club, a group with many CR150 fans who stand to be hit hard if the vehicle gets banned.
The CR150, launched in 2003, was upgraded in 2010 — the same 2011 model that Mr DaCosta bought for around $5,000.
But in its latest trip to the Transport Control Department, he was told that the vehicle could not be passed because its horsepower surpassed the legal limit.
His particular model is one among an estimated 100 to 150 owned by members of the club.
“It's the same engine as the original,” he explained. “The manufacturers upgraded it, but as a result they also increased its horsepower. Nobody was aware of the problem until just now.”
Mr DaCosta recalled a similar fate hit the beloved Triumph Motorcycle, much liked in Bermuda decades ago.
“They found a problem with the Triumph and in the end had them grandfathered in,” he said, referring to the grandfather clause principle in which a new rule applies only to future cases. “They didn't want to put the consumer at a disadvantage.”
CBR150 fans, including some who just bought their motorcycles this year, banded together and took their case to the Department of Consumer Affairs.
The group last heard that, as it stands, the bikes are over the limit, cannot be licensed and may even have to be confiscated.
“It's not fair that we have to be held to ransom because of an oversight,” Mr DaCosta said.
“We want to get together as a group and get this resolved.”
A possible reprieve may lie in the measurement of horsepower, which varies according to the technique used — and which may give CR150 owners some latitude under the law.
While the Ministry of Transport has yet to comment on the issue, Mr DaCosta said a recent trip to his insurer underscored the strangeness of a ban enforced five years too late.
Insurers tend to downgrade a vehicle as the years go by, but the particular one gets stored with care and meticulously cleaned each week.
“I took it to get appraised,” he said. “They couldn't believe it's been on the road for five years.”