Motorcycle drivers say they were blindsided by rate increase

Even Superman showed up to seek what the sign says is justice for motorcycle drivers. A.M. Costa Rica/Andrew Rulseh Kasper

Motorcyclists gathered Tuesday in front of the Instituto Nacional de Seguros, blocking traffic, honking horns and revving engines to decry the 50 percent hike in their annual vehicle insurance premiums and road tax for 2012.

The institute, which collects the yearly fees for each vehicle class, answered the motorcyclists’ boisterous protest with a simple justification sent out in press release: motorcycles are dangerous, and their drivers don’t pay their parking tickets.

For the motorcyclists the issue is simple. They received the highest increase in fees, from $120 to $180, than any other class of vehicles. They now pay the highest amount to the institute.

Other types of transportation such as taxis and buses also saw increases, from $80 to $120 for the former and $100 to $150 for the latter. They have had their own protests recently as well. The annual payment is called the marchamo.

The press release from the institute states that about half of the amount motorcyclists pay will contribute to costs associated with the high rate of accidents in which they are involved, which lead to common injuries including cracked skulls, road rash and broken bones. Even when a motorcyclist dies the funeral costs can be left to the government.

Roughly the other half of the amount will fill the monetary gap left by unpaid parking tickets issued to motorcycle owners, which amounted to $450,000, according to the press release.

But one of the motorcyclists at the protest, Alfredo Chen-Apuy, a member of the Coyote motorcycle band, said the government lets other types of vehicles like large trucks off too easily with a far smaller bill despite the affect they have on road damage.

Also, after three years of not raising the premium and increasing the amount of coverage, the Institute needed to raise all rates for 2012, according to the press release.

But the sudden increase caught Chen-Apuy off-guard. “It’s craziness,” he said. “The difference is huge, what they’re charging. It’s not proportional.”

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