Canada/Preventing Fatals/Quote from Moped industry council

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Canada/Preventing Fatals/Quote from Moped industry council

Postby Micronaut » Mon Jan 24, 2005 3:35 pm

A smaller motorcycle is still powerful enough to get up to dangerous speeds, said Tim Stover of the Motorcycle and Moped Industry Council. Experience is the main thing.

http://www.canada.com/edmonton/edmonton ... 690ab90da3


Police seek to throttle back on bike deaths
Nine riders killed last year

Archie McLean
The Edmonton Journal
January 24, 2005

EDMONTON - With a 748-cubic centimetre L-twin engine, 108 horsepower and top speeds well over 250 kilometres per hour, the Ducati 749 Superbike could easily annihilate every traffic law in the land.

It won't though, because this one is owned by the police.

The high-performance bike, on display Sunday at the Edmonton Motorcycle Show, is the newest addition to the Edmonton Police Service's Street Legal program, meant to encourage responsible riding on city streets.

"A bike like this is meant for racing," said Const. Ryan Sparreboom, who will be its principal rider.

"But there's a place to do that and it's not Groat Road or Anthony Henday."

Sparreboom was referring to the street-racing set who have turned those stretches of asphalt into their personal summer speedways.

Last year, there were nine motorcycle fatalities in the city, most of which were blamed on speed.

That disturbing statistic, plus an overall increase in the number of bikes on the road, has caused some to lobby for changes to the licensing rules in Alberta.

City police are hoping for some form of mandatory training program, and maybe a cap on the size of bikes allowed for new riders.

Mandatory training is great, said Glenn Lapointe, a salesman at Alberta Cycle. But capping the size of bikes will do nothing to stop irresponsible riders from speeding, he said.

Even small bikes are capable of velocities that can hurt people, if the rider hasn't been properly trained.

So far, the police have praised both dealers and industry officials for their co-operation in safety programs.

Most reputable dealers say they will not sell the biggest machines to the newest riders and it was Argyll Motor Sports that gave the Ducati to the Street Legal program. But industry reps still bristle at the idea of legally restricting certain bikes to certain riders.

"A smaller motorcycle is still powerful enough to get up to dangerous speeds," said Tim Stover of the Motorcycle and Moped Industry Council. "Experience is the main thing."

Stover said the council supports graduated licensing that would restrict where riders can go, not what they can ride.

For example, inexperienced riders could be barred from major freeways until they can prove they are able to handle it.

In British Columbia, a graduated licensing program places speed and highway restrictions on new riders.

Ogling a hot new Kawasaki, Lyle Williams and his buddies look like typical young sport bike enthusiasts. They all recognize a need for training new riders.

"I took (a course)" said Williams, 20, who rides a Suzuki GSX-R750.

"Even though I had ridden before, it helped me out a lot. I learned a lot of new things."

But they balked when it came to restricting powerful bikes.

"I don't think it will do anything at all," said Lance Finnamore. "As long as you can go more than two km/h, you can get hurt." Despite such protests, changes to the law could soon happen.

Earlier this month, a city council committee voted to have city staff work with the police on recommendations for changing the provincial Traffic Safety Act.

The committee wants to include both mandatory training and power limits for new riders.

Back at the EPS Street Legal display, Sparreboom was chatting up curious onlookers and handing out safety information. As a sport-bike lover, he said he understands the urge to open up the throttle and fly. But it's irresponsible, he said.

"It takes a lot of self-control and the realization that it's not worth the risk," he said.

"With my job, I've been to the accidents, I've seen the fatalities and I've had to tell guys' mothers that they've died."

amclean@thejournal.canwest.com

© The Edmonton Journal 2005
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