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Car Insurance: mini bike shocks ahead

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk


Car Insurance: mini bike shocks ahead

Michael Challiner
August 24, 2006

Car insurance takes a significant portion out of a lot of people’s incomes, but for younger drivers it can be beyond reach on a low income. Under normal circumstances a new driving licence is a clean one, with penalty points for motoring offences not making an appearance until after at least a little time on the road. These two facts make motorcycle ownership a much more attractive proposition for impecunious young people.

There is however a noteworthy exception to this. It is only relatively recently that mini motorbikes have made an appearance, and their use has been taken up avidly by juveniles, but already legislation has had to be amended to deal with their illegal use. This is resulting in the motorbikes being confiscated and in some cases crushed; and their owners being prosecuted.

There would appear to be little point in prosecuting a juvenile as a result of a motoring offence, but the authorities have decided to use the law to enable them to deal with offenders in a fairly unique way. Even though the offenders are usually children, who are several years from being old enough to hold a driving licence, they are hit with penalty points. These are placed on record, and when a first licence is applied for the penalty is applied and the licence endorsed.

The offences being committed which give rise to these penalties are usually based on laws relating to vehicle use. It is illegal to use any vehicle unless the driver has a licence and the vehicle is taxed and insured; if these requirements are not met then use is only permitted on private land and is subject to the land owner giving permission.

The problem is that the majority of mini motorbikes are used on public land, pavements and roads, and it is doubtful if the (usually) youthful riders are aware that any offence is being committed. It is however even more doubtful if the riders have contributed to the cost of the motorbike in any way. So the machines have mostly been bought by parents who should be aware of the law and should show a greater sense of responsibility.

A number of accidents have already occurred when riders have collided with pedestrians, road users and miscellaneous obstructions. Make no mistake – these machines may be small, but modern engine design has ensured that they are capable of speeds which are out of all proportion to their size. Both riders and their victims have ended up in hospital, and in some cases in intensive care as a result of their injuries.

Bad enough if the damage ended there, with an injured child or pedestrian, distraught parents and a costly motorbike confiscated and crushed, but the delayed effect can also be traumatic. It is likely that all parties to the accident will have forgotten about the other penalty until the young person applies for their first licence on reaching qualifying age.

If the licence is granted it will carry the record of the forgotten penalty points. O.K. so where’s the problem, you may ask. A licence was wanted and has been issued. The problem lies in the next requirement which is insurance. Every company approached for a quotation will ask about the driver’s record, and when they learn that the licence has penalty points on it their interest will fade rapidly.

There will be an instant and fairly savage mark up in the premiums to be paid. This is likely to vary according to the severity of the offence, from a relatively mild but still pricey cost increase for minor offences to swingeing increases for more serious offences such as dangerous driving. Any mention of a drink driving offence will make insurance almost impossible to obtain due to the prohibitive cost, assuming that cover is not refused outright.

An insurance company spokeswoman has given some examples of actual costs. A youthful male Fiesta driver with a penalty free licence is quoted as facing comprehensive insurance payments of around £37 per week, but the same lad with a dangerous driving conviction has to find almost £48 per week. This is a 29% increase and is a considerable sum to pay out every week.

Note that whilst a young female driver in the same position would pay the same 29% increase for a dangerous driving conviction, the relevant figures in her case would be under £24 per week on a clean licence or over £30 per week with the conviction. This is because of the higher accident risk for young males.

So generous parents need to consider carefully. They could be doing their offspring no favours in the long term by splashing out on a mini motorbike for them before they obtain a licence and can then ride legally.

Car Insurance Rover is a large website that offers uk residents Online car insurance.

Source:  Amazines.com

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