British Columbia

District of Kitimat joins mom's efforts for stricter motorcyle licensing laws

Denise Lodge's son Corey Lodge died in a motorcycle accident in 2005 on the Malahat Highway on Vancouver Island.

B.C. motorcyclists can get a full licence within 30 days of passing their learner's exam

The rider of the motorcycle pictured in this file photo died of his injuries. Denise Lodge would like a graduated licensing program for motorcycles that is similar to what new drivers have for cars. (Shane MacKichan)

The District of Kitimat is joining the efforts of a local mother who wants the province to create a graduated licensing program for motorcycles.

Denise Lodge's son Corey Lodge died in a motorcycle accident in 2005 on the Malahat Highway on Vancouver Island.

After the accident, she started CoreySafe, a non-profit committed to improving safety measures for motorcyclists.

Corey Lodge died in 2005 in a motorcycle accident. It happened the same day he got his learner's licence. (Submitted by Denise Lodge)

"It's about giving the new riders the skills so that they can come home safe and have a safe ride," said Lodge.

The district has been asking cities and towns across the province to write letters of support to pressure the provincial government into implementing the final phase of a graduated licensing program.

'Most vulnerable vehicle,' says Lodge

Lodge's son's motorcycle accident happened the same day he got his learner's licence. 

"It's the most vulnerable vehicle on the roads," Lodge said. 

In B.C., adult drivers with a full-privilege licence can get a learner's licence for a motorcycle if they pass a knowledge test. After 14 days they can take a skills test, and then after 30 days of being a learner, they can get their full licence if they pass a road test.

Denise Lodge has been trying to change motorcycle safety laws in B.C. for 14 years. (Submitted by Denise Lodge)

As long as motorcyclists with a learner's licence have a qualified supervisor within sight, they can drive on the road during daylight hours.

"You have a piece of paper that says you can ride a motorcycle. From there … you're in the middle of traffic and that's where you're learning how to ride it," Lodge told Radio West host Sarah Penton.

Graduated licensing program

Lodge would like a graduated licensing program for motorcycles that is similar to what new drivers have for cars. To get a novice licence, they need to pass a road test and have at least one year of supervised practice. After that, they still face restrictions until they get their full licence.

"The graduated licensing is to make it safer," Lodge said.

"In a car you have airbags and you have a lot of metal around you … On a motorcycle it is not the same."

The ministry of public safety said in an email statement that they're working with ICBC to improve motorcycle safety.

"Over the past two years, government has taken important steps to better protect people from dangerous drivers. This work includes putting in place much higher penalties for repeat distracted drivers, fully activating the red-light cameras at 140 high-risk intersections, beginning work toward ticketing the worst vehicles speeding through some of those sites, and establishing longer prohibitions for people who engage in … high-risk driving behaviours that put people at immediate risk."

Council's support

Kitimat council has taken the issue to the Union of B.C. Municipalities, or UBCM, every year since 2013, Lodge said. 

"I am so grateful for our mayor and council, you cannot imagine," she said. 

In 2016, Lodge's initiative was endorsed post-conference by the UBCM Safety Committee.

However, the law hasn't changed.

Lodge has heard from several other parents who have lost kids in motorcycle accidents, encouraging her to keep pushing for change. 

"You don't want anybody to be in our shoes. So you do all that you can to make sure that they have the skills."

With files from Radio West

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