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Motorcycle toll charge needs to be adjusted to one-quarter the rate of cars.

Motorcycle riders are prepared to pay THE CORRECT RATE OF TOLL

Because cars are smaller and lighter than trucks they are charged less to use motorways. Motorcycles are smaller and lighter than cars yet they pay the same toll as cars.

Motorcycles were forgotten in Transport plans for Private toll roads.

WHY should motorcycle riders pay for this failure in transport planning by successive State Governments?

Motorcycle Tolls are a Transport Planning Failure

It is clear that motorcycles were not included in planning for PPP contracted roads, despite assertions to the contrary.

E-Tags don't work on most motorcycles. No planning.

E-Tags cannot be mounted on most motorcycles No planning

E-tags were designed for an enclosed vehicle only. They get wet or full of dust and fail, break easily due to vibration and are dangerous to carry upon the riders person No Planning

Toll plaza equipment can distinguish trucks from cars, but seems unable to distinguish a motorcycle No Planning

Administration costs for non-E-Tag holders are crippling.
Cashless toll roads are discriminatory and socially divisive

Prior to PPP roads, motorcycles paid one-quarter the car toll rate.

No allocation for motorcycle toll rate in establishing PPP roads No Planning

After PPP roads, motorcycles were reclassified as "cars" No Planning, failed to include them so created an inequity, blaming motorcycles for not fitting their perforated plan

After PPP roads, motorcycles have to pay the same rate as a car Punishment for not fitting the No Plan Arrogance with inequity

The present administration has abandoned motorcycle riders to the ravages of the toll road operators. It has been left to motorcycle rider to solve the problem. This is a classic case of abrogation of responsibility by government.

History & Context

Prior 1992, the motorcycle toll for the Sydney Harbour Bridge was capped at one quarter of the rate for automobiles. When the Sydney Harbour Tunnel opened for traffic on 31 August 1992, the separate classification for motorcycles disappeared.

This was direct result of the "Private-Public Partnership" (PPP) funding arrangements entered into by State government

Motorcycles were not considered at all in the planning for private toll roads under "PPP" arrangements.

Motorcycles do not exist in traffic counts, hence have been invisible to public policy. This affects road safety, parking and tolls.

Motorcycles are currently lumped in with cars as an afterthought and required to pay as if they were a car.

This failure of transport planning has been gouging motorcyclists since 1992.

Motorcycles are Discriminated Against under the Roads & Traffic Act

For the purposes of the Roads and Traffic Act, a motorcycle is classified as a vehicle with two axles and therefore is required to pay the same rate of toll as a car.

A bicycle is also defined as a vehicle with two axles for the purposes of the relevant Acts and therefore is also subject to tolls This is not enforced, so bicycles go free and also pay no parking charges.

By the same definition that places a motorcycle in "Class 2", a car with fully independent suspension is classified as having four axles and hence should be charged at the rate of a truck.

The definitions show no consistency in application or interpretation. Some common sense would be welcome.

A Fair & Equitable approach is needed

Prior to the Harbour Tunnel opening, a car was charged four times the rate for a motorcycle. This reflected one quarter the size, one-quarter the weight and much smaller engine size.

Motorcycles have a number of advantages to road management

  • Lower road space occupancy with small size
  • Low road wear with low weight
  • Low traffic congestion
  • Low exhaust emissions with smaller engines
  • Lowered need for more roads and additional lanes

Motorcyclists are willing to pay a toll. As long as it is a fair and reasonable rate of toll.

Re-establishing the fair and equitable rate for tolls is necessary.

Registration Charges reflect road wear costs. Yet tolls do not reflect a similar approach.

No suitable or safe electronic transponder system has been made available for motorcyclists.

Current E-tags are dangerous and extremely difficult to use, resulting in unreliability and additional charges due to failure of inappropriate technology. (see E-Tags - menu item in left sidebar)


Rate of Tolls

Motorcyclists recognise the need to pay their fair share, but object to being assessed at the same rate as a car and also object to paying additional fees for impractical and expensive solutions.

The correct rate is one-quarter the rate for a car. Toll rates based on weight of vehicle such as the difference between a car and a truck, illustrate the considerations for some other vehicles. A family sedan is not a semi-trailer any more than a motorcycle is a family sedan.

The definitions used for tolling classes are inappropriate and interpreted to suit administrative convenience.

Motorcycles comprise less than 10% of traffic flows. There are around 200,000 motorcycles in a sea of 4 million other vehicles.

The decision to reclassify motorcycles as cars is a simplistic response of the cherished "Sir Humphrey" type, to make the problem disappear for the Minister of the day. Motorcycles are now invisible to public policy - it's like they have ceased to exist because of a bureaucratic decision

E-tags designed for cars do not work for motorcycles

Inability to mount a car-type tag and aim it at the antenna
Lack of weatherproofing. If the tag gets wet, it dies, and the rider is liable for the cost of a new tag
Fragility of casing and circuit board - dangerous to carry on your person

Suggestions for mounting E-tags are work-arounds that all sit outside of the legal Terms & Conditions for supply of E-tags.

Some suggestions are dangerous.

  • “Wear an armband” - rotates with wind pressure, interfering with arm movement and hence control of motorcycle. Also dangerous if fallen upon.
  • “Put it your pocket” - casing and circuit board shatter into sharp pieces on impact. This is extremely dangerous. There is no Standard for cut-resistance for motorcycle clothing to measure this against
  • “Stick it on your windscreen” - only some motorcycles actually have windscreens, on many it is so small that this would obscure the instruments. Tag is exposed to the elements.
  • “Fill the gaps and holes and with silicon sealer” - this makes the rider liable for costs for damaging the E-tag

Frankly, these goods are not fit for the purpose sold. We are awaiting a formal response from the NSW Department of Fair Trading on this issue and a response has also been sought from the ACCC.

The MCC of NSW worked with the then RTA (now RMS) and their tag supplier and industrial designers in an effort to design an E-tag suitable for use on a motorcycle. The designers admitted defeat. No single design or set of mounts can provide for all motorcycles, or even a substantial portion of them.

No motorcycle E-tag exists anywhere in the world.


It has been proposed by some toll-road operators to photograph the motorcycle using a toll-road and use special software to analyse the digital image to extract the number plate details and then send a bill, or operate an account.

Of concern to riders is the security over the data. The photographs of the motorcycle, associated with home address and time of using it, are effectively “illustrated shopping lists” for thieves. Motorcycle theft remains at an all-time high and recovery rates are extremely low.

Also, some aspects may breach the Privacy Act. We have sought the views of the Privacy Commissioner on this issue and are awaiting his response.

Additional Fees

Some toll-road operators propose to charge motorcycle riders an additional fee for EACH TRIP to use this system of account operation.

This means that motorcycle riders are expected to pay for the failure of planning to accommodate them AND for the administration of a band-aid “solution” to failure of the chosen electronic technology.

Coupled with gouging on toll rates that has existed for some years, this situation is intolerable for motorcycle riders


  • Charge motorcycles the same rate of tolls as bicycle riders
  • Use electronics to "divide by four" on E-Tolls

Happy to pay a fair rate of toll


Toll road operators are currently supplying E-tags to motorcycle riders that are not “fit for the purpose sold”. In this monopoly situation, it appears that the toll-road operators are using their market power to dictate terms.

Photographs are normally only taken for enforcement purposes. It appears that some toll road operators feel the need to utilise enforcement technology for ordinary commuters, destroying any pretence of privacy.

What if you don't have an E-Tag?

Ask the Transport Minister.

He'll tell you that you have a choice and that choice is to not use the toll road or else pay the additional administration fees and work out how to pay them.

Without an E-tag, you are now a second class citizen.

So what is Big Brother? Not the TV show

Big Brother Awards

Read carefully, it will explain why the Privacy Commissioner is taking so long to reply - yep, that's right, NSW didn't have one!

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner was being administered by the Premiers Department. An effective way of silencing issues about privacy.

29 June 2017


Samantha Gavel has been appointed as the full-time privacy commissioner for NSW, taking over from Elizabeth Coombs, who has been in the role part-time for the past five years.

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