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Home / Uncategorized / 4×4 motorbike owners gather in Athens to protest ban of ‘sows’ on asphalt roads (videos)

4×4 motorbike owners gather in Athens to protest ban of ‘sows’ on asphalt roads (videos)

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.

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4 comments

  1. The small, under-powered ones are actually a menace on the roads. They have a maximum speed of about 30 kph, and because of their width, they are difficult to pass on many of the twisty roads on the islands. They were popular with the tourists on Corfu, but I used to curse them when I found myself behind one (or worse, two or three) on the coast road between Ipsos and Kassiopi (which I used to drive a lot) because overtaking on that road is nearly impossible. However, that’s where the danger lies, because people get frustrated stuck behind these things and try to overtake when it’s not safe to do so. The bigger quad bikes are ok, because they travel at a normal speed, but the small ones (which the renters tend to buy to rent to tourists) are a complete pain. And dangerous, especially with young, inexperienced, sometimes drunk drivers on them.

    The solution is really not so difficult. The government just has to say that they won’t register any more of the small ones for use on the road. The ones already registered can carry on working. I believe there’s a limit on how many years you can rent a vehicle, so at the end of that period, they will all be off the road, and the guys who rent them won’t lose their investment.

  2. “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.”

    This is the stupidest thing I have heard in a while. They are off road vehicles. To be stored on a farm or to be transported on the back of a 4×4. They aren’t allowed in any other country so the money hungry bike rental shops can suffer for the noise and stress they have caused locals for the last 10 years. They should never should have been licensed in the first place, and only were through bribes.

  3. Quoting the business owner from the article: “We got our plates and vehicle licenses legally. Now they are taking that away. Why?”
    Welcome to reality. Why do people here only start to realize that the rule of law is a joke in Greece?
    Government is regularly changing laws retrospectively, not adhering to the signed contract and in general disregard common business and law practices.

  4. Martin Baldwin-Edwards

    @Roger. The real problem in Greece is with the legal system, the behaviour of judges and courts. It always has been so, and no reforms have been undertaken since 1981 when Greece joined the EC.

    Continental legal systems generally attack a great deal of importance to the concept of “legitimate expectations” and rule accordingly. In this case, for example, they could rule that the government has breached the legitimate expectations of businesses that have invested in such vehicles — and require large compensation for this.

    Instead, the judges usually ignore the law and make political decisions instead. The most astonishing recent case is when the Council of State determined that the pensions of judges and army officers cannot be reduced, but the entire private sector can have theirs reduced to nothing at all. The blatant self-interested abuse of power is such that the entire Greek legal system is clearly unfit for purpose. Greek government merely add to the chaos by passing more (and contractory) laws such that there is effectively no rule of law.

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