You think you have it bad in your country? Well the province of Quebec may think it’s super liberal but it truly hates motorbikes, and presumably the people that want to ride them. Here are six reasons:
One. Getting a licence is a pain in the ass.
In some places the requirement to ride a bike is akin to a fairground ride; “yep, you’re about tall enough, now go round in a circle. Cool, here’s a GSXR1000 and a free lollipop, now go ride around like an idiot, and be sure to wear that wifebeater.”
Here in Quebec you’ll have to pass a theory test, do an exhaustive course, pass a bike handling test, wait a load of time (two years), do a road test then be charged a fortune every year for the privilege of riding in summer only…
Yeah, it’s a great idea to get people used to bikes but all this seems pretty draconian to me.
Two. Registering your bike is worse than dentist bills
Registering a bike in other places I have lived (a long list of countries) is normally a mildly irritating process of bureaucracy. In Quebec it could be bankrupting. This may sound like hyperbole but would you consider $1306.09 a reasonable cost for 8 months (I’m coming to that bit) riding? Yeah, thought not. So, if you have a collectable Ducati 916 you feel like taking a nostalgic ride on you’ll have to pay $1300. In the UK the equivalent cost is exactly $100.
Of course Quebec defend this by saying that motorcyclists use up loads of resources in the health care system so that is what the cost is. That seems a might hypocritical considering the government also sells booze. Incidentally it’s weird that the SAQ sells booze and the SAAQ sells licences.
Three. It’s illegal to ride in winter
Yeah, winters in Quebec are pretty brutal. I have ridden a sports bike in the snow a few times and it was the most dangerous things I have ever done. Shouldn’t that be the choice of the rider? I know of people who have successfully ridden the width of Canada in the winter with no problems at all. I mean, you need tungsten carbide spikes in your tyres, but still… if you feel the need, why not? And what if it’s a snowless sunny winter (between December 15th and March 15th)? I want to get on that thing in winter and do more than make broom broom noises in my shed thanks.
Four. Filtering (Or Lane Splitting for you N.Americans)
Okay, okay! I know this is the whole of North America except California, but we had a discussion about what would happen in Asia if riding between (often stationary) cars was outlawed. The conclusion; Social Collapse. So much transport and business is done on two wheels nothing would get done.
North America is stuck in a car led society and even motorcycles are, more or less, treated like cars. You are encouraged to use a whole parking space and of course you must use that whole car’s space on the road. If you’re in nose to tail traffic you must sit there. Imagine doing that to bicycles too? I strongly believe that unless you have ridden a motorbike you have no real say in this topic (I was there man!). Personally, I don’t want to be the meat between a two car concertina accident. I’ll stay in the side to side bit where I can see drivers’ texts.
I get the feeling that there is an unconscious bias against bikes because of the terrible problems that the Province had with organised gangs, that happened to ride… um… motorbikes. So everyone, of a certain age.. a legislator kind of age… relates those dirty bikers with hard drugs and concrete boots.
I don’t know if there is a connection, but also…
Six. Quebec City Banned Bikes
You dammed Harley riders with your loud exhausts. Vince described them as the Peacock of the motorbike world and I can’t agree more. Maybe I need to ride one, but for now I see it as the best way of turning petrol into pointless farty noise. Bastards.