With the rise of the cellphone, we have a subsequent rise in distracted driving, and that’s bad news for motorcyclists. When drivers don’t see riders, they run into them, and it’s not like we motorcyclists have airbags to protect us when that happens.
So, it’s an ironic twist that motorcyclists are being used to fight back against the problem of distracted driving, in the city of Regina. There, city police are involved in a new plan to crack down on distracted driving and other road infractions using motorcycles, due to their advantages over cars.
The Regina police department will get two motorcycles to use as part of this plan:
“Motorcycles allow the officer to get close to the vehicle and, with the higher vantage point, visually confirm a driver is on their phone or not wearing a seatbelt,” Regina police sergeant Ian Barr said in a press release. “This will enhance our officers’ effectiveness in deterring these unsafe behaviours and preventing injuries and deaths.”
Leaving aside the amusing scenario of non-seatbelted motorcyclists handing out tickets to non-seatbelted car drivers, it’s good to see people realizing just how useful motorcycles can be for this kind of enforcement. When you’re on a motorcycle, you can easily see just what the car driver in the next lane is up to: texting, or maybe smoking a joint? This new unit may prove useful for catching impaired drivers as well as distracted drivers.
What bikes are the police using? The press release doesn’t say, and there are no photos. Maybe they don’t want drivers on the lookout? The press release does say that the two machines cost $110,000 between them, which sounds like an awful lot of money. However, it came from 50-50 from the provincial Criminal Property Forfeiture Fund (yay!) and the provincial auto insurance body, SGI (nay!—with that kind of spending, no wonder premiums are up!).
It’s an interesting plan, even if it does come with an unreasonably high price tag. We look forward to a report at end-of-season, to see how well the plan actually worked out.