Carrot, stick for motorbikes

Athens’s motorcycle riders will be able to pay less for helmets and to use the expanding network of bus lanes as part of a series of measures aimed at reducing accidents, noise and pollution, the Transport Ministry said yesterday. Minister Christos Verelis has met with representatives of various ministries and agencies involved in dealing with motorcycles, which have decided on measures that will be included in new legislation. These include a reduction of VAT on helmets from the current 18 percent to 8 percent, spot checks on noise levels and the introduction of regular technical inspections that now apply to motor cars. The traffic code will also be amended to take into account the size of vehicles, meaning that, for example, a fine for an illegally parked motorcycle will be smaller than that for a car. Today there is no difference. Also, riding tests and theory exams will be made more difficult and awareness campaigns will be held in an effort to improve riding behavior. Pamphlets in English and Greek will be distributed at motorcycle rental companies.

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