Motorcycle riders: New helmet and seating laws are now in effect

June marks beginning for the new motorcycle legislation.

Lots of motorcycles

Lots of motorcycles

By Sgt. Pierre Lemaitre

E Division Traffic Services

Recently, the Provincial Government has made amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act in an effort to improve motorcycle safety in BC.

June marks beginning for the new motorcycle legislation. Provincial statistics show that three per cent of insured vehicles are motorcycles, however they account for 10 per cent of roadway fatalities. The average shows that in 2011, there were 2,200 motorcycle crashes reported, 42 operators died. Between 1996 and 2010 motorcycle fatalities have risen by 57 per cent.

The contributing factors to some of these fatalities were directly related to inadequate safety equipment and driver error. The new legislation has the overall goal of reducing collisions and fatalities.

Starting as of June 1, 2012, operators will need to ensure that they are compliant with the new safety laws. Motorcycle riders and passengers will be required to wear SnellM2005, Snell 2010, ECE or DOT compliant helmets.

For a one month period starting June 1, police across the province will help ensure a smooth transition to the new laws by carrying out an educational enforcement strategy. If you are caught without a proper helmet, RCMP officers, whenever possible, will ensure you have safe alternative transportation rather than issuing a ticket. Full enforcement will begin July 1, 2012;

In addition to improved helmet laws, new seating laws have come into effect that will require operators and passengers be properly seated on the motorcycle or in a sidecar.

The following are the restrictions that apply:

A rider that is unsafely standing or riding side saddle

• A passenger 16 or older who is on a motorcycle not designed for passengers

• A passenger 16 or older who is riding side saddle

• A passenger 16 or older who is in front of the operator.

• A passenger 16 or older who is not using foot rests or foot pegs

• A passenger 16 or older who is not seated in or on the sidecar.

It should be noted that the seating regulations came into effect June 1, and that violating the seating restrictions carries a vehicle impoundment period.

The Officer in Charge of RCMP Traffic Services in B.C., Superintendant. Denis Boucher, states, “This new legislation will save lives and reduce collisions. The reduction in harm on our roadways is a priority for us and we ask that the public help us achieving this goal.”

Don’t become a statistic, drive safe and pay attention to the road. As we begin motorcycle season I would like to remind all drivers to be conscious of their surrounding and each other.