Say NO to 100% ARF
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We, the undersigned, have come together to protest the implementation of the new ARF scheme for motorcycles. We believe that the scheme unfairly penalises working-class motorcyclists, a large but relatively unrepresented group of commuters.
"Just as we introduced tiers to the ARF for cars in 2013 to improve progressivity, I will introduce two more tiers for more expensive motorcycles…"
- Mr. Heng Swee Keat, Finance Minister, Budget 2017 Speech (source: http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/transport/singapore-budget-2017-motorcycles-to-get-three-tiered-additional-registration)
The notion that riding a motorcycle is somehow equivalent to driving a car is dangerously misguided and does not take into consideration the safety issues inherent in motorcycling. Unlike driving, motorcycling is after all, a high-risk activity.
For example, a 1.3L car of any make compared to a car of a different make but of a similar cubic capacity still affords the same basic level of protection to their drivers, while the same cannot be said of motorcycles.
Unlike car drivers who are insulated from hard impacts in a steel structure with safety belts and airbags, motorcyclists are more prone to injury when accidents occur. Riding a bigger motorcycle is indeed safer for motorcyclists because bigger motorcycles offer:
1. More road presence and visiblity
2. More power to maneauvre quickly out of danger zones as they develop in real time
3. More stability at higher speeds e.g. 80 – 100kph.
4. More safety features such as traction control & Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)
As a luxury tax, the new ARF scheme fails in its objective because not all large cc motorcycles are luxury bikes. Some larger cc motorcycles can be considered workhorse bikes for commute, for example, the Honda Super 4 (400cc), Yamaha Tmax (530cc), Honda NC700X (700cc), Yamaha MT09 (900cc), or even the Honda Africa Twin (1000cc). The prices of these motorcycles have all increased from under the new ARF scheme.
The new scheme unfairly penalises motorcylists who purchase bigger cc bikes for reasons of personal safety. Safety should NEVER be considered a luxury. The government has a duty to safeguard the lives of all motorcylists, just as they have a duty to protect the lives of drivers and pedestrians alike.
Moreover, there are no clear benefits to this additional cost burden. Whereas additional taxes for cars discourage car purchases and alleviates traffic congestion, the same cannot be said for motorcycles. Motorycles have a low carbon footprint, much lower rates of emissions, and do not contribute to traffic congestion, no matter the size. In fact, studies have proven that motorcyles are the perfect form of transport for heavily built-up cities such as Singapore. (http://www.iatss.or.jp/common/pdf/en/publication/commemorative-publication/iatss40_practice_07.pdf)
By prioritising short-term tax revenue gains over long-term environmental policies, this new scheme also contradicts the Government’s publicly-declared stance on keeping the vehicle fleet young and emissions low. It encourages motorcyclists to renew their COEs on older Euro I & II bikes, rather than to purchase a more environmentally-friendly Euro IV-compliant motorcycle.
Another point of note: while a car retains a PARF value at the end of its COE term, motorcycles are eligible for no such benefit, making the scheme even more injurious to the motorcycling community.
We, the undersigned, plan to submit this petition in the hope that the Public Petitions Committee would order a review of the ARF scheme. We believe that the scheme can be further adjusted to make it an even fairer one, taking into account the road safety issues motorcyclists face everyday.
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