Last winter, Quebec’s provincial motor insurance company, the SAAQ, held a public consultation to ask for suggestions on changes to motorcycle safety regulations. Now the results are in, and if implemented, some of the suggestions are good for riders, and some are bad.
More than 250 private individuals and more than 150 groups came up with proposed changes to the rules of the road for motorcyclists. If you read French, you can view the entire list here.
However, longtime CMG contributor Costa Mouzouris has pointed out one group in particular whose recommendations are particularly noteworthy. Quebec’s provincial police force, a.k.a. the Sûreté du Québec, has recommended several updates to the laws, and given its position as a law enforcement body, those recommendations are likely to be taken much more seriously than the input from other groups.
There are some good ideas in the suggestions from the Sûreté, including abolishing the requirement for riders on a learner licence to have an accompanying rider. This has always been a dumb idea, and losing this rule benefits beginners.
But lest you think the police are getting all soft on newbs, the Sûreté is also recommending that rules for learner licence holders be tightened. Is that good or bad? It depends on how the rules are tightened.
Another positive idea is the Sûreté’s recommendation that motorcycles be exempted from Safety Code section 425. This would allow riders to use their high beams during the day, and would exempt them from having to dim the headlight if they come closer than 150 metres to another vehicle.
Now for the bad news. The Sûreté is recommending motorcycles be exempted from Article 440.1 of the Safety Code, which would not allow motorcycles to ride between Dec. 15 and March 15, even if they have proper winter tires. Furthermore, the Sûreté is actually proposing that the Safety Code be amended to explicitly prohibit motorcycle riding in that timespan, regardless of how warm it is outside or how much (or how little) snow is on the road.
More bad news: the Sûreté is also recommending a limit on the number of motorcycles riding in a group, and limiting the distance between groups. Specifically, the police wants to limit motorcyclists to groups of 12 riders or smaller, with a minimum of 300 metres between groups.
If CMG comes by any more information on changes to Quebec’s motorcycle safety laws, we’ll share it. For now, if you’re a motorcyclist in Quebec, we’d suggest you talk to your local politicians and let them know how you feel about the Sûreté’s proposal.