ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Hundreds of four-wheel motorbike owners, most from Greek holiday resorts, blocked traffic Monday outside the country's Transport Ministry to protest a proposed vehicle ban.
The bikes, also known as all-terrain vehicles, ATVs, or quad-bikes, are popular among tourists on Crete, Zakynthos and other Greek islands, and are often seen as a safer option than motorbikes.
But new traffic code regulations set to take effect next year would limit the use of ATVs, prompting fears among rental business owners that they will lose their investment and go out of business.
Many of the protesters, who staged the rally during a morning downpour, traveled to Athens overnight by ferry.
Protest organizers said they had met with ministry officials, who had essentially rejected their demands and planned to scrap road licenses for small ATVs and introduce a separate administrative category for larger vehicles.
"You understand the consequence of this. It would close many businesses, which are mainly small and family-run," Cretan business owner Paris Tzorvas told The Associated Press.
"We have invested in this profession, in these vehicles, for years. Tourists really like them. Then, overnight, we find out that they are banned from being on the road."