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Moto madness

Should bikers pay more for insurance? Quebec thinks so.


 

Moto madnessLast weekend, hundreds of Quebec motorcyclists took to the highways for Operation Snail, the 16th in a series of protests aimed at Quebec’s insurance board, the Société de l’Assurance Automobile du Québec (SAAQ). The bikers drove along at sluggish speeds, clogging up main traffic arteries, and rallied on the steps of the Quebec City legislature. They are angry over rate hikes instituted by the SAAQ: registration costs have soared for all types of motorcycles—the most powerful models have been worst hit, with fees spiking from $667 last year to $1,030 in 2009 and $1,410 for 2010.

Audrey Chaput, a spokesperson for the SAAQ, admits the new rate hikes aren’t about safety—they’re meant to correct a huge deficit in provincial insurance funds caused by motorcycle accidents. Bikers only pay about $35 million into the insurance system each year, but claim approximately $144 million. “If we kept it the way it was . . . there would not be any more funds for insurance in 20 to 30 years,” Chaput says. Bikers admit that motorcycle accidents are often more severe than car crashes, leading to larger insurance payouts. But they argue that they’re as safe as car drivers, and so are being unfairly targeted. “We aren’t asking the government to drop the fees, because we know we have to pay to keep the program alive. But we don’t agree with how they apply it,” says Normand Noiseux, spokesman for Coalition Moto, the organization that arranged the protests.

Noiseux argues the steep prices have nothing to do with safety. “They didn’t put in place any program to minimize deaths and injuries on the road and I think that is the first goal . . . not just to put money in SAAQ.” Chaput agrees that bikers are generally safe drivers, but says motorcycles are inherently dangerous. According to the SAAQ, motorcycles are up to eight times more likely to be involved in accidents. And while they make up only two per cent of vehicles on Quebec’s roads, they’re involved in almost nine per cent of fatal crashes.


 

Moto madness

  1. Motorcycles are not up to eight times more likely to be involved in accidents. In fact they have less accident than ca drivers.They are up to eight times more likely to be injured.

  2. God the SAAQ do insist on spewing a load of poo. When they first came out with their proposal to rework how motorcyclists pay for their insurance coverage I spent a good while dissecting said proposal and wrote an in-depth article on what I found:

    http://cmgonline.com/content/view/1817/51/

    Sad to say, they were being somewhat economical with the truth to come up with the conclusion that they wanted. Likewise, I have found it consistently sad on how my fellow journalists have reported on the issue, with blind acceptance of what the SAAQ tell them without any digging into the facts.

    Still, I guess that would mean actually doing work.

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