By BEN HARTMAN
A motorcyclist was hit by a car and seriously injured on Sunday morning during a series of road blockages created by bikers across the Central region to protest the Finance Ministry's decision to raise insurance fees for two-wheeled vehicles.
The man was reportedly hit when a car drove onto the shoulder to try to bypass a traffic jam near the Nahshonim junction caused by the motorcyclists' protest.
On Sunday morning, the day the new rates went into effect, protesters from across the country converged upon Tel Aviv, on their way to a rally at Bloomfield Stadium in Jaffa. As they headed south, several hundred motorcyclists hit the Ayalon Freeway near Herzliya and began driving at a slow pace - to simulate what will happen if high insurance costs force motorcyclists to trade their bikes for cars and further clog the highways, they said.
The protests caused severe gridlocks on the Ayalon Freeway, bringing traffic to a crawl on Tel Aviv's main north-south artery. Police warned motorists to use alternative routes.
Last Thursday, the Finance Ministry announced it had formulated a compensation package for motorcyclists whose insurance was set to become more expensive. A spokeswoman for the motorcyclists denied that compensation had been offered and called the announcement "a media exercise."
The ministry will calculate the new insurance rates based on the driver's experience and number of traffic violations. Many expect the average cost of all motorcyclists' insurance to go up by as much as 25 percent.
On Sunday, the ministry issued a press release saying that motorcyclists paying for new, more expensive personal liability insurance will be eligible for cheaper - about 20% - mandatory insurance and larger benefits for pain and suffering caused in traffic accidents.
According to the Finance Ministry, under the new policies there will be no change in the premiums paid for coverage for medical treatment, rehabilitation or missed work suffered by motorcyclists injured in traffic accidents.
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