Montreal

Bikers protest Quebec's increasing motorcycle registration fees

Annual registration fees are going up for motorcyclists in Quebec and will keep climbing until 2021, costing some riders hundreds of dollars more than they had previously paid.

Fees will go up over next three years, with the highest increases for racing bikes

Hundreds of motorcyclists gathered in front of Quebec's National Assembly Sunday to protest a hike in registration fees. (Pierre-Alexandre Bolduc/Radio-Canada)

Annual registration fees are going up for motorcyclists in Quebec and will keep climbing until 2021, costing some riders hundreds of dollars more than they had previously paid.

Bikers are none too happy about the deal, as hundreds gathered outside the National Assembly on Sunday to voice their opposition to the higher fees.

The fees are largely inflating due to an increased contribution to the province's collision insurance.

The Coalition des Motocyclistes du Quebec organized the protest this weekend after the group's petition, signed by some 75,000 people last year, did not deter the province's automobile insurance board (SAAQ) from increasing the fees.

Owners of all types of motorcycles saw fee increases this year, the amount varying depending on the type of bike.

Racing bikes most costly

The engine size determines the cost. A small engine of 125 cc or less costs $277.17, but it now costs more than $1,500 to register a racing bike in the province.

These "high-risk motorcycles" are streamlined, have a crouched-forward riding position and low, short handlebars, the SAAQ says.

The motorcycles have a higher collision rate than those in other categories, the board says, and because of this, insurance contributions for these high-risk motorcycles come with the highest pricetag.

All fees going up

But even the less powerful bike owners are seeing their fees go up.

"Last year, my bike cost me $450, now it's $660," says Jean-Pierre Fréchette, executive director of the Fédération motocycliste du Québec, which supports the coalition.

Motorcycles of 401 cc or higher with two or three wheels now cost $610 for the insurance contribution (tax included) and then, with the rest of the fees, it comes out to $660.

The Coalition is asking provincial leaders to at least listen to the group's demands. Fréchette said a meeting is planned soon with Transport Minister François Bonnardel.

Forty-nine motorcyclists died on Quebec's roads in 2018, the same as in 2017. This is only a slight increase over the 2013-2017 average of 48 deaths.

With files from Radio-Canada

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