New motorcycle safety laws effective June 1

New motorcycle safety laws brought in on June 1 in British Columbia.

As motorcyclists gear up for riding season, the Province is reminding riders that new motorcycle safety regulations take effect on June 1.

“Starting June 1, riders should be prepared to comply with new helmet and seating laws,” Shirley Bond, Minister of Justice and Attorney General.

All motorcyclists and passengers in B.C. must wear a motorcycle helmet that displays the proper industry safety certification label. Helmets must comply with standards outlined by the United States Department of Transportation (DOT), Snell Memorial Foundation 2005 or 2010, or United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ECE). Riders found violating the new helmet laws will receive a $138 fine. New seating laws have also been put into place to protect both passengers and riders.

“Avid riders, road safety advocates, emergency room physicians, police and families of riders have offered very positive feedback about these changes. They know the laws aren’t about taking away from the riding experience – they’re simply about saving lives,” Bond said. “I look forward to continuing our dialogue with these road safety advocates to develop a specific plan for a graduated licensing program that works for B.C. riders, their families, and the industry that supports their passion.

The Office of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles is working with police and motorcyclists to ensure the new helmet and seating regulations will be applied fairly and fines will be issued to riders putting their safety at risk. Police also have educational material to distribute to riders to inform them about the new laws.

“The police have requested improved safety standards for motorcyclists for some time and it is excellent to see the government respond. Terrible harm has been caused by inadequate safety equipment and bad personal choices,” Jamie Graham, chair, BC Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee. “You have to be responsible on a motorcycle and that includes properly protecting yourself and your passengers. Dress right, focus on the task at hand, pay attention – you will prevent a tragedy.

New laws give riders more guidance for enjoying a safe journey. However, about two-thirds of crashes between a motorcycle and another vehicle are the fault of the other vehicle. To inform other drivers about the vulnerabilities motorcyclists face and how to drive safely around motorcycles, the superintendent of motor vehicles and ICBC have partnered on an awareness campaign.

The awareness campaign focuses on road safety tips aimed at reducing injuries and fatalities on B.C.’s roads. Important tips include:

1. Be aware – Check your mirrors frequently, be aware of road conditions that pose hazards to motorcyclists and look carefully for traffic at intersections. It can be difficult to judge the speed and distance of a motorcyclist so be extra cautious, especially when turning left.

2. Watch for clues – Watch for signs such as turn signals, shoulder checks or leaning, signalling the rider may turn or change lanes.

3. Share the road – Motorcycles use a full lane. Leave at least three seconds of following distance behind a motorcycle.

4. Be courteous – Acknowledge riders with a wave or eye contact. Give riders the space they need to change lanes and never try to pass a motorcycle using the same lane.

The Province is also moving forward with a graduated licensing program that includes power restrictions, following additional consultation to determine the best model.