New motorcycle laws phased in as of June 1

Recently, the B.C. government made amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act in an effort to improve motorcycle safety.

Recently, the B.C. government made amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act in an effort to improve motorcycle safety.

Throughout June RCMP are phasing in the legislation with education, before the full weight of penalties start to be applied July 1.

Provincial statistics show that three per cent of insured vehicles are motorcycles, however they account for 10 per cent of roadway fatalities.

In 2011, there were 2,200 motorcycle crashes reported and 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 laws have the overall goal of reducing collisions and fatalities.

The first law deals with helmets. Motorcycle riders and passengers are required to wear SnellM2005, Snell 2010, ECE or DOT compliant helmets.

For the month of June 1, police across the province are ensuring a smooth transition to the new helmet law by carrying out an educational 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 begins July 1.

In addition to improved helmet laws, new seating laws are now in full effect.

They require operators and passengers to be properly seated on the motorcycle or in a sidecar.

The following are the restrictions that apply:

• A rider who 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.

Violating the seating restrictions carries a vehicle impoundment period.

The officer in charge of RCMP traffic services in B.C., Supt. Denis Boucher, said “that 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 all drivers are reminded to be conscious of their surroundings and each other.