Bikers protest against tolls

2013-11-05 00:00

BIKERS on the weekend held up traffic when they showed resistance to paying full tollgate fees at the Mariannhill toll plaza — by paying in small change.

About 150 members of the lobby group Bikers Against Tolls (BAT), rode in a bid to add their voice to what they believe is unfair tolling of motorcycles on national roads. They bemoan the fact that they are charged the same tariffs as “larger vehicles towing a caravan”.

They also used the opportunity to raise concern about the government’s e-tolling system.

BAT’s Morne “Oosty” Fourie said they want reduced tariffs for their bikes, and even exemption from paying anything at all.

“It does not make sense for bikers to cough up the same amount as larger vehicles towing a caravan,” said Fourie.

“Nobody in our organisation will pay those tolls. We are being unfairly taxed.

“Our mission is to stop them [government] before they even build the e-toll systems.”

Fourie said their committee — which is based in Johannesburg — had sent memoranda and petitions to make people aware of what they were doing.

On Saturday, the bikers went up Otto Volek Road, turning right into Old Main Road, riding through Pinetown, onto the M13 up to the Shongweni turn-off, where they turned left, past Polo Pony, and onto the N3 where they stopped at the Mariannhill tollgate.

“In the next protest, we might not be going to tollgates specifically, but we’ll definitely do more of these protests because it has more of an impact,” said Fourie.

A legal challenge to e-tolling by the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) was dismissed by the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein on October 9.

Outa announced on October 18 it did not have money to continue the legal fight against e-tolling.

Outa’s argument remained that the SA National Roads Agency Ltd (Sanral) and government did not conduct a proper public participation process.

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