Bye-bye Beanie

May 1, 2012
BC Moto Laws 2

British Columbia kicked off its Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month yesterday with the announcement of new laws aimed at reducing motorcycle crashes, injuries, and death.

The new regulations, which can be enforced starting on June 1, require motorcyclists to wear helmets that meet either DOT, Snell (2005 or 2010), or ECE standards. By making these established helmet safety standards mandatory, the government is hoping to rid the streets of novelty helmets, skull caps and beanies.

Also included in the updated regulations is the requirement that riders and passengers must keep their feet on the motorcycle’s foot rests at all times. Only the rider is allowed to remove his feet from the pegs, and only when the motorcycle is stopped. This means that younger (or much shorter) passengers who aren’t able to reach the foot pegs will no longer be legally allowed to ride on the back of a motorcycle in British Columbia.

A contentious part of yesterday’s announcement was the official change made to the licence plates used on motorcycles registered in British Columbia. To make the plates easier for police to read, the font size has been increased by 0.95 centimetres (3/8 of an inch). The modified plate format actually began to be phased in during May 2011; every new plate issued since then already features the larger font.

Shirley Bond, British Columbia’s Minister of Justice and its Attorney General, stated that the province intends to implement graduated licensing in the future that includes power restrictions. The licensing changes will take effect once additional consultation with industry experts has determined the best model for the new law.

Also part of the Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, B.C.’s Office of Motor Vehicles, and its insurance entity ICBC, will partner on an awareness campaign to “ensure automobile drivers are aware of how to drive safely when they encounter motorcycles on the road.” The details of this campaign including its scope were not included in the province’s press release.

Official stats provided by the province revealed that there are roughly 2,200 motorcycle crashes each year in B.C., which result in around 42 rider deaths. The province claims that motorcycles make up only three percent of insured vehicles on B.C. roads, but they account for 10 percent of road fatalities. “Motorcyclists are eight times more likely to be killed and 40 per cent more likely to be injured in a crash than other road users,” stated the government’s information release. In the last five years 203 motorcyclists have lost their lives on B.C.’s roads, 5,172 have been injured, and fatalities have increased by 57 percent between 1996 and 2010.

  The details of B.C.’s new motorcycle safety law (June 1, 2012)

1. Helmet Safety Standards:

All motorcyclists and motorcycle passengers in B.C. must wear a motorcycle helmet that meets one of the following safety standards:

DOT – Also known as FMVSS 218, conforms with the U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 218.

Snell M2005 or Snell M2010 – In accordance with the Snell Memorial Foundation 2005 or 2010 Standard for Protective Headgear for Use with Motorcycles and Other Motorized Vehicles.

ECE – In accordance with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe ECE Regulation No. 22.

The safety helmet must display the proper certification label. Full-face helmets and visors are not required and riders are free to choose any helmet colour they prefer. However, eye protection and brightly-coloured helmets are strongly recommended to help prevent collisions, injuries and fatalities.

Uncertified, novelty “beanies” do not meet the requirements.

Fines for all new helmet related offences are $138. Refusing an officer’s demand to produce a helmet carries a $276 fine.

 

2. Seating Requirements:

The operator of a motorcycle must be seated astride the driver’s seat. Passengers must be seated behind the operator astride the passenger’s seat with their feet on foot pegs or the floorboards at all times (even when the motorcycle is stopped – e.g., at an intersection), or be properly seated in a side car.

The operator is responsible for ensuring passengers younger than 16 years of age are properly seated. Any passengers, including children who cannot reach the foot pegs or floorboards, are not permitted to ride as passengers.

Fines for violating seating requirements range from $109 to $121 or vehicle impoundment, if considered stunting. Failing to use foot pegs and permitting a passenger to be unlawfully seated both come with a $109 fine.

 

3. Licence Plate Improvements:

Since May 2011, ICBC has been issuing motorcycle licence plates with larger font. Font size has increased 0.95 centimetres (3/8 of an inch) to assist law enforcement with identifying the vehicle.

Existing plates can be upgraded to a plate with larger font by contacting ICBC.

The fine for an improper display of a licence plate or an illegible licence plate has increased to $230 from $196.

6 Comment

  1. MY SIXTY YEARS IN THE SADDLE BOTH UK AND BC -RETIRED M/CYCLE DEALER+ RACE DRIVER
    ===================================================
    IF YOU WANT A MAJOR DROP! WITH MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENTS! GO TO THE (SOURCE) AND NOT! THE END RESULT DUH.

    MOST MOTORISTS AND THERE LIKE, ARE TOTALLY IGNORANT REGARDING THE FACT! WE HAVE ONLY TWO WHEELS TO HOLD US ON THE ROAD BOTH! IN WET AND DRY CONDITIONS, LESS THAN ONE THIRD THAT OF A CAR! WITH BIKE TIRE CONTACT AREA APPROX THAT, OF TWO SMALL SQUASHED! APPLES DUH!

    ONE OF THE BIGGEST KILLERS! IS THE FEW- HALFWIT! MOTORIST/FARMER/TRUCKER? WHOM THINKS HE HOLDS PREDOMINANCE! OVER A BIKER, WHEN HE IS WAITING TO MAKE A LEFT? WE CALL THEM LEFTYS!! HERE -AND DASHES ACROSS JUNCTION AT (THE VERY LAST MINUTE) EXPECTING THE BIKER TOO MISS THERE VEHICLE-ALSO THE MOTORIST WHOM LIKES TO RIDE ON YOUR ASS! AT 120 KMH, JUST TOO SPOOK! YOU INTO AN ACCIDENT!?

    A LACK OF BIKE TRAINING OR EXPERIENCE WHEN ROUNDING “S” BENDS AND THE LIKE- ALLOWING FOR THE MOTORISTS/TRUCKS/SEMI’S TAKING UP MOST (YOUR) SIDE OF THE ROAD- THIS IS A BIG KILLER!! MAINLY IN THE TIGHT COUNTRY ROADS.

    ALLOW FOR SOME OF THE ABOVE DRIVERS ALLEGEDLY STILL USING CELL PHONES-BOOZE OR SMOKE!! PARTICULARLY IN THE COUNTRY, TAKE THE NORTH OKANAGAN VALLEY FOR EXAMPLE! ALONG SILVER CREEK AND UP TOO SALMON ARM-I HAVE LOST COUNT OF SERIOUS/FATAL ACCIDENTS OUT THERE! IT CAN ALSO BE BY LIGHT DUST OR GRAVEL THAT BLOWS UP OVERNIGHT OR? BUT YOU CANT SEE IT! UNLESS YOU ARE TRAINED OR EXPERIENCED ENOUGH, NOTE IF THE ROAD SURFACE WAS FINE YESTERDAY! DOES NOT MEAN IT WILL BE TODAY! NOT BY ANY MEANS FOLKS-ESPECIALLY AT NIGHT. ANOTHER NIGHT DRIVING PROBLEM IS THE BIKER HAVING HIS HI HIGH BEAM SET- LOOKING FOR AIRCRAFT LOL, THIS CAN DAZZLE A MOTORIST RIGHT INTO YOU!

    MOSTLY! YOUNG FEMALES ALSO STARTING OUT ON A BIKE! THAT IS OFTEN! WAY TOO HEAVY >OVER TWO DOZEN PLUS – SUCH ACCIDENTS OUT THERE IN THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS- THIS SHOULD BE IMMEDIATELY REGULATED SO THAT YOU PROGRESS UP IN ACCORDANCE WITH YOUR EXPERIENCE -JUST JUMPING ONTO A HIGH POWERED -FOUR OR FIVE HUNDRED POUND BIKE FOR A QUICK SPIN! DOES NOT JIVE WITH SOMEONE WHO WEIGHS IN AT APX 125 TO 150 POUNDS BODY WEIGHT!-YOU CAN TRUST ME ON THAT ONE FOLKS! ALSO MOST BIKE TRAINING FACILITIES DO NOT! PROVIDE TRAINING FOR THE ABOVE OUTLINED PROBLEMS-AS THEY DO IN EUROPE-UK! YOU MOSTLY LEARN BY ACTUALLY HAVING THE ACCIDENT! AND THAT GUYS IS WHAT ADDS TO OUR ACCIDENT PROBLEMS RIGHT HERE, OFTEN FATAL.

    AS A PARENT I WOULD SEE THAT MY KIDS DO AT LEAST TWO WHOLE YEARS OF (DIRT BIKE RIDING)-AND THAT THEY CAN CONTROL THE BIKE ON ROUGH TERRAIN UNTIL THEY ACHE ALL OVER LOL-ITS A LIFE SAVER FOLKS!! TEACHES THEM HANDLING AND RESPECT FOR TWO WHEELS. THE WEIGHT OF BIKE IS KINDA IMPORTANT HERE, BUT BIGGER IS GENERALLY BETTER IN THIS CASE! IF YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE, ASK YOUR DEALER WHOM IS A WELL EXPERIENCED DIRT BIKER ONLY.

    NOTE! ALL OF THE ABOVE INFORMATION! IS ALLEGED. AND GAINED FROM >MY OWN PERSONAL EXPERIENCES OF MAINLY FULL TIME BIKING AND MANY YEARS OUT THERE SEEING AND DOING IT ALL!!
    MHK- N/OKANAGAN BC-UK!

  2. Could you please tell me if you have a comments review section?

    Mixta

  3. WOW – I cannot believe that of all the provinces in Canada, British Columbia has the audacity to kick off a Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month…
    The reason I am shocked is this. Back in 2008 a Sikh fellow in Ontario was trying to get the Province to exempt all Sikhs in Ontario from having to wear a helmet as it infringed on their human rights because their religion forbids them to cover their turbans. He lost his case in court. However there are two provinces in Canada that exempt Sikhs from having to wear a turban. One is Manitoba…and can you guess what the other province is? Yup BRITISH COLUMBIA!
    So I find it hipocritical to say the least. Don’t believe me?
    Read the article for yourself:
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/ontario-court-rejects-religious-exemption-to-motorcycle-helmet-law/article671381/singlepage/#articlecontent

  4. When i brought in my family from the UK! some fifty years ago! >The immigration officer said

    to us! Remember the canadian traditions/customs, should be upheld / respected! and above all maintained!?

    m.

  5. Wasn’t it always a law to have DOT approved helmets in BC? I am from Eastern Canada and it has been like that here since I can remember. Mind you it is not heavily enforced but I do wear a DOT open face but lots don’t. The new technology in DOT means a very slim tight fitting helmet that looks good…

  6. I live in Sooke and use my motorcycle to commute to work. A full helmet isn’t going to make a difference when I get hit by a moron who has to cross the yellow line to round a left bend…including the RCMP from both Sooke and West Shore! Kind of hard to enforce not crossing the line when they do it too! As a matter of fact, the Malahat is now getting a divider in a bad spot…because a member from West Shore crossed the line and hit someone! It is an epidemic on Sooke Road and many others. Another example of thinking that a helmet is going to protect you. How about educating the drivers on how to pay attention and drive properly???? Bet those who decided on this law have never been on a bike…

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