No more skull caps, skid lids or beanies — the brain bucket has to be certified.
Starting June 1, the province is bringing a new set of safety-driven motorcycle regulations with heftier fines to boot. At the same time, Victoria is signalling its intention to extend the graduated licensing program to motorbikes, including power restrictions.
Motorcyclists — certainly the experienced ones — are in agreement on graduated licensing.
“I think it’s a good idea,” said Pete Murie, general manager of Kamloops Harley Davidson. “In the end, it’s a safer thing to do.”
Ditto from Russ Spooner of the local Harley Owners’ Group, especially considering the increase in vehicles on the road over the past 20 years.
“As a seasoned rider, yes, I support graduated licensing,” Spooner said. “The better they are to graduate by CCs (engine displacement) and riding experience. There is less room for mistakes on a motorcycle than with a car,” he added.
Spooner’s not so sure of the other regulations the government is bringing in, including new helmet and licence-plate rules.
“They’re continually trying to legislate rules that are not even a matter of safety, they’re a matter of control. It’s as though they’re trying to intercept the lifestyle.”
Helmets must meet U.S. or European safety standards (DOT, Snell or ECE) since there are no Canadian manufacturers. Beanies won’t cut it anymore. New fine: $138. Refusing an officer’s request to produce a helmet: $276.
“The last I heard: there are no actual testing stations in Canada to test these standards,” Spooner said.
Licence plates are often too big to be accommodated on motorcycles, so owners will trim them to fit. For the past year, ICBC has been issuing licence plates with larger fonts and existing plates can be modified. Fine for improperly displaying a plate is $230, up from $196.
New seating requirements dictate that passengers must be able to reach the foot pegs or floorboards at all times. That will prevent young children from climbing on for a ride with mom or dad. New fine: $109-$121 and possibly impoundment.
Murie said the Harley dealership has no issue with the new rules. They’ve always sold DOT-certified helmets, anyway.
Janusz Rubkiewicz, whose Dallas Driving School trains motorcyclists, said he partially agrees with the move to graduated licensing with power restrictions.
“Young people are buying way too powerful bikes,” he said. “There’s no way to help them prepare for that.”
He also finds, with the trend toward higher fuel costs, people are switching to two wheels only to save money.
“Motorcycling is an extreme sport and it’s not for everyone,” he said.
In the interest of further enhancing safety, ICBC should encourage new riders to take courses. Riders should also keep abreast by practising emergency stops on a regular basis, he said.