To the editor:
I was surprised to learn last week that British Columbia effectively has a ban on motorcycles on many highways beginning Oct. 1.
A friend and I were riding in dry +13 C brilliant sunshine on the Trans Canada Highway 15 km east of Kamloops when we were pulled over by an RCMP cruiser. The member was also a motorcycle rider and stopped us to cordially let us know that any highway that has posted a sign requiring winter tires cannot allow motorcycles, obviously not equipped winter tires.
Apparently, we had earlier passed a sign (elevation 350 m—equal to downtown Kelowna) indicating the mandatory use of winter tires after Oct. 1. The penalty is a fine and towing of the vehicle.
I appreciate the member stopping only to inform us rather than imposing the letter of the law.
As only a few motorcycle fanatics, mainly in Europe and often on bikes with sidecars, equip their machines with winter tires and/or chains, this is in effect, a ban on motorcycling from Oct. 1 to April 30 on these highways.
And these roads are not only where we may think high elevation and early winter weather is the issue. After the stop, we return to Kelowna following our same route through Falkland. I was surprised to see a winter tires required sign on the entrance to that highway as well, as did 16 other riders we passed while on that road.
Personal and public safety is cited as the main reason for the regulation. However, it’s interesting to see that many highways with the regulation have parallel secondary roads without the posting (Highway 5 and 5A south of Kamloops as one example). And these roads have far more shaded curves, steeper grades and are far more narrow than found on the posted roads. I can’t help but think unimpeded traffic flow may be a greater motivating factor than the government’s concern over our safety.
Riders have always used personal judgement as to the safety of autumn roads and choosing what days/hours are rideable. Apparently, as with so many recent regulations, we must rely yet again on invisible all-knowing government technocrats for our safety.
Funny. I don’t feel safer, just more and more enclosed.
Canada, “our land glorious and free?” Less so every year. But “bureaucracy addicted and technocrat guided” is tough to put in a national anthem.