Fatal crash has fallout

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A tiered licensing system could see new riders restricted from large cruisers or high-performance sportbikes.

A fatal motorcycle accident in Saint John, New Brunswick last year could end up affecting bikers across the province.



City lawyer Caroline Higgins was jogging last June when a motorcyclist lost control, struck her, and killed her. Now the Telegraph-Journal reports her family wants changes in New Brunswick’s transportation laws.



Police determined that the rider’s inexperience, a motorcycle that had modified handlebars and exhaust, and an improperly inflated front tire were factors that contributed to the crash.

The paper says Higgins’ family is lobbying provincial politicians including area MLAs and the public safety minister to bring in both a tiered licensing system and an annual motorcycle safety inspection.

In New Brunswick, motorcycle licences carry either an "A" or "D" endorsement depending on the capacity of the bike that they take their test on. If the bike is over 550 cc then they would get an A endorsement, which allows riders to pilot any machine they wish. Otherwise they’re restricted to bikes 550cc and under, as odd as that may be.

There are no other restriction set out for beginning riders who have just passed their motorcycle road tests and new riders can take the road test for either their “A” or “D” endorsement at any time.

If the province’s police back these changes, as the paper reports, the bike scene in New Brunswick could see some big changes ahead.

1 COMMENT

  1. The only one who needs to take responsibility is the rider of that machine,, no? Not the law makers or the lets make more dollar mechanic shops for testing etc…..just the guy who modded his bike and wasn’t paying the required attention to what he was doing. Plain and simple.
    Now..I do agree with the “L” system they have in England and other places that restrict riders to smaller cc’d machines until they prove themselves and get the required time on the seat to advance to the bigger cc’d machines. Yes it needs to be in place here and for a longer period and for more steps up the the CC range IMHO. Yes it would piss off many people but it may save a few lives that are lost when daddy buys junior a rice rocket to shut him up or for graduating 8th grade! Doh! Make them learn the skills first then let them loose…so to speak. Not say….here ya go little Johnny…here’s a nice shinny 1000cc rocket…..have fun…I’m off to the club see you for supper…..! Maybe even force the over 750cc range to spend a few weekends on the track…?

  2. The runner in this case was actually on the sidewalk at 6:30 pm on a bright day in June.
    The rider had his head down because he was having difficulty with the clutch, apparently because of mods to the exhaust. He drifted out of his lane and crossed two other lanes before driving up onto the sidewalk and hitting the runner from behind. It was an accident in the sense that nobody intended for it to happen, but someone’s got to take some responsibility here.

  3. MAYBE THE TIME OF DAY PLAYED A PART IN THE ACCIDENT, BUT MOST LIKELY JOGGERS IN THE EARLY MORNING SHOULD RUN ON THE SIDEWALK AND NOT THINK THEY ARE A VEHICLE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD, NB RUNNERS THINK THEY OWN THE ROADS AS DO THE FOOLISH BICYLCES OUT THERE, MAYBE NB COULD SPEND THEIR MONEY LIKE CALGARY AND PROVIDE RUNNING TRAILS AND BICYLCLE TRAILS OR LIKE THE NATURE PARK. THE BIKE IS ONLY AS DANGEROUS AS THE OWNER, TIRE INFLATION A BIKE DRIVER WOULD CHECK AS IT PUTS HIS LIFE IN THEIR OWN HANDS, I GUESS IN NB THEY WOULD HAVE TO HAVE 4 TO 5 INSPECTIONS A YEAR ON THIS DUE TO THE CHANGING CLIMATE AND THE SIMPLE EXPANSION AND CONTRACTION OF AIR THAT THE LOCAL MECHANIC DID NOT HAVE ON HIS FINAL EXAM.. UNFORTUNATE ACCIDENT ON THE WORST STREET IN THE CITY NOT A PLACE I WOULD BE RUNNING!! I GUESS THE FIRST THING FOR A LAWYERS FAMILY IS TO START CHANGING LAWS BIKERS NOT RUNNING LAWS

  4. The Zx10R in the photo was used to illustrate that a change in the licensing requirements would affect the ability of beginners to ride such machines. Apologies if that lead to any confusion.

  5. Get your facts straight. The person that commented that the bike was a ZX10-R? The bike involved was a Harley Davidson with modified handlebars, forward controls, and an underinflated tire. I think the biggest issue was the ONE month riding experience of the operator, followed by the underinflated tire. The bars and controls probbaly made little difference, unless they were high apehangers.

  6. I doubt it’ll happen in Ontario, until bikes comprise more than 1% or so of all vehicles. Until it’s up around 5%, there not enough money in it for the guv to bother since the bureaucracy would cost more than they’d bring in. Safety don’t mean sh*t. I’ve done contracts for guv adminstrative analysis depts and that’s the way they think.

  7. It’s always a problem when cc’s govern. The F650, which is eminently more manageable in terms of powerband than a Seca 550, is out of bounds for the lower class of licence.

    This same approach lead to lower quotes for an FZ1 than my FJ1200 from my insurance company, despite having a 25hp advantage.

    But I guess they have to draw the line somehow, and not all bikes have a horsepower rating. Maybe a “singles, twins, triples, 4 cyl” approach like the racing categories would be good. Singles up to 800, twins up to 650, triples and 4’s up to 550.

  8. My guess is the 550 cc cap is designed to draw the line safely under 600 cc sportbikes, yet still allow for milder rides like the GS500 and Ninja 500…

  9. I imagine the 550cc restricted license came in sometime in the 1970s, when 550cc was the dividing line between “big” and “small” bikes. Honda, Suzuki, and the rest had their UJM series with 400cc, 550 cc, and 750cc and 1000cc bikes.

  10. How did a “modified exhaust” have anything to do with this collision? How did “modified handlebars” have anything to do with it unless they were “ape hangers” or something of that sort? Periodic checks of whether a vehicle is safe for the road, but gross overreaction to the point of requiring everything to be absolutely unmodified isn’t going to solve anything. I don’t own a motorcycle that isn’t modified … but they’re all “safe”.

  11. Mike,
    Couldn’t agree with you more. As an auto repair shop owner, we see some vehicles come in that should have been junked long ago. I’ts particularly galling to see cars with really bad brakes or suspensions that have a “Baby on Board” sign.
    We also have had a number of cars brought in by parents of school kids who will decline needed safety work such as brakes on the grounds that “It’s just the kids’ car.” Often the kids are driving back and forth to university.

    RF

  12. While it probably had nothing to do with this accident, I find it astonishing that you can get a safety inspection once and drive/ride a vehicle into the ground with relative impunity (unless it is so obviously unsafe they see it). Yet a Drive Clean test is needed every two years in much of Ontario. Why not both?

  13. He was 53 and riding a modified 2011 zx10? I thought they were recalled? Were they even available in June? The police were were able to tell the difference between clip ons and the stock bars? 😕

    cheers
    ken

  14. Restricted by CCs…who came up with that one (obviously doesn’t know anything about bikes)…

    I have always wondered why, if “they” are so concerned with road safety, they don’t make training maditory (cars could be included as well, with different qualifiers)…

    No training – 50cc scooter (same as it is now)
    Take a basic riding course and pass – Bike limited to 40Hp (or something)
    Pass an Advanced rider course – access the “Big” toys

    They would just have to regulate the testing procedure and passing requirements.

    I actually think that would be a good thing…

    Later.

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