From the Blog

On trial

I’m a comparative newcomer to the world of historic vehicles (though some have suggested rather unkindly that I’m already historic myself) but the latest developments surrounding historic vehicles in NSW have been very interesting.

Back in 2014 several groups associated with historic vehicles asked the NSW government if they would look into an addition to the already-existing historic vehicle registration scheme. This scheme had been in existence for some time and it allowed owners of vehicles (cars and bikes) that were more than 30 years old, to enjoy a greatly discounted registration and compulsory third party insurance fee as long as they met certain criteria. The criteria basically said (without going into all the nitty-gritty) that owners could enjoy these benefits as long as they were a registered member of an historic vehicle club and that they only used their vehicles on club-organised occasions.

That was pretty simple to organise and most owners were more than grateful to accept the restriction of not being able to just get out and ride/drive any time they wanted to in return for not having to pay huge rego and CTP fees. It particularly suited many owners who had multiple vehicles (as many of us oldies do). The social aspect or riding/driving with like-minded owners was also a huge attraction.

The “carrot and stick” aspect of the scheme was pretty obvious as well. Do the right thing and only ride on club rides and all will be well. If you choose to take your historic vehicle out on a non-club ride and you get caught, your historic registration is cancelled and you have to pay full fees if you want to re-register the vehicle.

However, especially for owners in more remote areas, this restriction meant that their opportunities to use their vehicles was somewhat restricted. So the request was made to see if the RMS (Roads and Maritime Services) department would consider liberalising the rules and allowing owners more opportunity to use their vehicles.

The result of this request was that, in 2015, the RMS introduced a log book trial. Normally, when you turn up for a club run, the organiser will take note of your vehicle rego and you join in the event. The Log Book Trial basically said (again, without going into the nitty-gritty) that owners could have 60 days per year in which they could ride/drive their vehicles without having to be part of a club-organised event. Owners were provided with a sheet of paper (God knows why they didn’t actually provide a log BOOK) and, each time you went out, you would log the details of your outing and keep it with you so that you could substantiate the fact that you were taking part in the log book trial. Your club had to have signed on as a member of the trial and the RMS would then issue you with the appropriate paper work.

Now 60 days doesn’t sound like a lot, especially if you like riding/driving a lot, but there’s only 52 weekends in the year to start with and, for example, if you went for a long trip somewhere and stayed over and returned some time later, only the days you actually rode/drove counted in the count of your total number of days. 60 days is two months, which is another way of looking at it.

The initial feedback from the trial was very favourable and the 2 year trial was due to conclude in 2017. It was extended for another 2 years to give clubs and individuals time to get used to it and for the RMS to gather as much feedback as possible. Clubs were asked to provide feedback from their members and the did so. My club was essentially in favour of the trial being made permanent though some members did express their concern that the scheme did encourage people to “use” the club to get the trial permission but didn’t really contribute anything to the life of the club in return.

The trial was set to conclude last week and, as the date passed without any official announcement, some were concerned. But, just a couple of days ago, the RMS announced that the trial WOULD be made permanent with the same terms and conditions as originally. A big win for us owners of historic vehicles. Now I can ride in any club event that I want to and my club has a ride of some sort or other every week, as well as going for a bimble by myself any time I want to.

I’ve used up a few of my “freebies” already and I think the trial is a great idea. This owner doesn’t object at all to being “on trial”

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