Knesset Committee to Take Up Cause of Motorcycle Insurance Today - Again

The Knesset Economic Affairs Committee is set to address the issue of raising compulsory motorcycle insurance rates again today.

Sharply raising rates would reduce the use of motorbikes or increase the number of people riding without insurance, states a Knesset Research and Information Center report that will be presented to the committee today.

The committee objects to the new rates proposed by the Finance Ministry's insurance commissioner, Yadin Antebi.

The report says some rates will increase by up to 34%, mostly for young riders. Most reductions, of up to 8%, will go to riders over 40.

Motorcycle usage here is relatively low - in Europe, motorcycle usage rates are four times what they are in Israel. However, it is not clear whether the insurance increases will push people to switch to cars, or to public transportation.

The police catch about 1,300 motorcyclists a year without compulsory insurance.

About 2,000 riders slowed up traffic yesterday on the Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv to protest the the proposed rate hikes, causing large traffic jams. The protesters included pizza delivery boys, who also gave out 75 free pizzas at the Hashalom interchange - partly in compensation for the traffic jams.

For now, the reforms have been postponed to mid-November, but not canceled, and motorcyclists are planning more, and bigger, demonstrations.