Article rank 6 May 2011 Times ColonistROB SHAW email@example.comTimes Colonist Motorcyclist inspection plan ‘dead wrong,’ Lekstrom says 4But Nanaimo RCMP say campaign is akin to crackdown on cellphones
A plan by Nanaimo RCMP to target motorcyclists and pull them over for spot inspections is “dead wrong,” says the province’s transportation minister.
DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONISTTransportation Minister Blair Lekstrom takes Solicitor General Shirley Bond for a spin at the legislature Thursday.
Blair Lekstrom, an avid motorcycle rider, took aim at the Nanaimo plan while announcing motorcycle safety awareness month at the legislature Thursday.
“I would think if they are pulling you over just because you’re on a motorcycle, that’s dead-wrong in my mind,” said Lekstrom.
“Two-thirds of … accidents where motorcycles are involved are caused by the driver of the vehicle.”
Nanaimo RCMP announced last week that motorcyclists can expect to be pulled over for brief inspections by police as part of a year-long enforcement campaign targeting motorcycle safety.
As many as 25 per cent of road deaths in Nanaimo last year involved motorcycles, police said. Officers also will check the noise emitted by motorcycle mufflers to ensure they don’t exceed the 91-decibel limit.
Motorcycle enthusiasts are already calling the campaign unfair.
“I don’t think it’s right that anybody should be pulled over randomly because of the mode of transportation they choose,” said Adele Tompkins, executive director of the B.C. Coalition of Motorcyclists. “It’s discrimination.”
The Nanaimo RCMP statistics don’t mean much, she said. “If 25 per cent of the accidents are our fault, well, the other 75 per cent are somebody else’s. ... So why is it always the negative on the motorcyclists? They never ever want to look at the car driver.”
Nanaimo RCMP Cpl. Gary O’Brien said the enforcement campaign is no different from frequent projects that focus on commercial vehicles, drinking and driving, or the use of cellphones while driving.
“We never do random checks,” he said. Police want to check motorcycle licences, helmets and noise issues on the bikes.
Tompkins and dozens of motorcyclists gathered at the legislature Thursday for an annual event in which they provide rides around the grounds for MLAs.
Among the politicians who participated were NDP leader Adrian Dix, Health Minister Mike de Jong and Solicitor General Shirley Bond. Bond, the province’s top cop, refused to wade into the Nanaimo debate.
“I don’t want to comment on the strategy of the Nanaimo police department until I have a chance to talk to them about their rationale,” she said.
The motorcycle coalition said it plans to raise issues of increased police enforcement with provincial officials like Bond.
“In the past year we have been, in my opinion, targeted more than ever,” Tompkins said. “It will come on the table.”
Bond said she’s prepared to have that discussion.
“We’ll talk about the issues they are concerned about in terms of police enforcement. But I also want to talk to the RCMP and municipal police forces about their view on that,” she said.
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