Tue, June 28, 2005

Motorcyclists cheer insurance ruling


Manitoba motorcyclists are declaring a victory following a ruling that appears will force other motorists to help subsidize the cost of ballooning bike insurance.

In a highly anticipated decision, the Public Utilities Board (PUB) yesterday ruled the way Manitoba Public Insurance determines insurance costs is unfair.

"We appreciate the board recognized the current inequity and is trying to resolve this issue," said Doug Houghton, vice-president of the Coalition of Manitoba Motorcycle Groups.

Under the current no-fault insurance system, vehicles are divided into classifications.

If there's a collision between a motorcycle and a truck, all motorcycle owners through their insurance subsidize the cost of damage to the bike and injuries to the biker, no matter who was at fault.

All truck owners bear the cost of damage to the truck and its driver.

Because motorcyclists are prone to more serious injuries compared with people in passenger vehicles, motorcycle insurance rates have skyrocketed over the past decade.

The PUB ruled personal injury costs shouldn't be paid solely by motorcyclists.

Houghton said it appears the PUB is suggesting those costs should be paid for equally by all vehicles involved in a crash.

When reached last night, PUB executive director Gerry Barron refused comment on his own report.

But lawyer Raymond Oakes, who represented the Coalition of Manitoba Motorcycle Groups at the PUB hearings, had a different interpretation of the ruling.

He said the PUB has ruled whoever was at fault should be dinged with 100% of the cost, something the motorcycle groups were pushing for. "It's a huge victory," Oakes said. "We've spent 11 years fighting for this."


MPI spokesman Brian Smiley declined comment on the ruling, which is set to take effect in 2007.

"We just got it and we're reviewing it," Smiley said.

Any change should stop motorcycle insurance rates from shooting up dramatically, said Houghton.

"I think it will help stabilize it, certainly," Houghton said.

The PUB acknowledged in the report the change may result in rates going up across the board.

A recent study commissioned by the Motorcycle and Moped Industry Council (MMIC) found motorcycle insurance rates have gone up 370% in Manitoba over the past decade, compared with less than 20% for cars.

Manitoba has the most expensive motorcycle insurance (for low risk riders) while having some of the safest riders (they have about 3 deaths per year with 8,000 riders). Looks like they should be getting a break on their insurance.

I was very impressed to see the insurance costs on my FZ1 drop when I moved from WPG to Vancouver. It was hundreds of dollars cheaper than WPG even loaded up with all sorts of extra coverage.

I've even saved money on the car but that has less coverage so is a bit of apples and oranges.