Posted on 09 May 2012 by Mathew White
Coinciding with Motorcycle Safety Awareness month, the provincial government is announcing new restrictions on bikers in an effort to improve road safety, and at the same time, reduce motorcycle deaths, injuries and crashes.
“While B.C. already has mandatory helmet and seating laws, these new standards provide even more guidance to help riders who are more vulnerable to injury and death than other road users,” said Shirley Bond, Minister of Justice and Attorney General.
Beginning June 1, all motorcyclists and their passengers will be required to wear helmets that meet safety industry standards. This means that riders will no longer be allowed to wear novelty helmets, such as skid lids, skull caps or beanies.
The province is also introducing a law that requires all passengers, including children, to place their feet on foot pegs or floor boards. Finally, the font size of motorcycle licence plates has also been increased by 0.95 cm to improve visibility for police officers.
While making the announcement, Bond also spoke on how the government plans to move forward with a graduated licence program that includes power restrictions, following additional feedback and research to determine the best model.
Additionally, the Office of Motor Vehicles and ICBC have partnered on an awareness campaign to inform other drivers on how to travel safely around motorcyclists.
“Police have been asking for these changes for years,” said Jamie Graham, chair of the BC Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee. “We have seen the harm that inadequate safety equipment and poor choices cause. You have to be responsible for your actions, dress appropriately, pay attention, focus on driving and you will prevent a tragedy.”
The month of May will act as a transition period, giving the government time to inform the province’s riders on the new laws. Starting June 1 however, the new laws will begin to be enforced.
Fines under the new helmet regulations are $138 while fines for seating requirements range from $109 to $121. In addition to fines, riders violating the new seating-requirement laws will also have their vehicle impounded. Police will also be providing violators with educational material on the new rules.
In B.C. alone there are about 2,200 crashes involving motorcycles every year, 42 of which result in rider deaths. In the past five years, more than 200 motorcyclists have lost their lives on B.C. roads while more than 5,000 have been injured.