Hundreds of four-wheel motorbike owners, most from Greek holiday resorts, have blocked traffic outside the country’s Transport Ministry to protest a proposed ban of the motorbikes Greeks call “Gourounes” (sow) on asphalt roads.
The bikes, also known as all-terrain vehicles, ATVs, or quad-bikes, are popular among tourists on Crete, Zakynthos and other Greek islands, and are often seen as a safer option than motorbikes.
But new traffic code regulations set to take effect next year would limit the use of ATVs, prompting fears among rental business owners that they will lose their investment and go out of business.
Many of the protesters, who staged the rally during a Monday morning downpour, traveled to Athens overnight by ferry.
Video: 100 protesters from Crete loaded their four-wheel motorbikes on a ferry and drove from the port of Piraeus to Athens.
Zakynthos business owner Yiannis Liveris said: “We got our plates and vehicle licenses legally. Now they are taking that away. Why?”
After a meeting of protesters’ delegation with the general secretary of the ministry,the president of the federation of car and motorcycle rental, Giorgos Bamiedakis stressed that today’s meeting once again did not provide any solution for the sector professionals.
The president told media that the Ministry official told them that under the new regulations four-wheel motorbikes of 125cc and below will not be allowed on asphalted roads.
For those above 125cc new safety regulations will be imposed and will include the issue of a new driving license, ie. a change in driving category.
Bamiedakis saidthat the ban will not only affect the members of the Federation but also farmers who use the four-wheel motorbikes for agricultural works.
The Federation will set its protest strategy in the near future.
The reasoning behind the ministry’s ban is reportedly the many accidents especially in the summer months.
The owners says that accidents have decreased in recent times.
I don’s know what the Federation will do, but I am just wondering how the small Gourounes will reach the not asphalted roads from a shop or a farmer’s house on an … asphalted road.