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Pic © SAAQ
Whether you're new to riding or an experienced all weather biker trapped in the bureaucratic bullshit that is exchanging your foreign permit for a Quebec one, obtaining a motorcycle driver's license in Quebec is still as aggravating and nonsensical as a tuna and peanut butter sandwich. The Société de l'Assurance Automobile du Québec (SAAQ) still insists that permit holders must go through a two year process before they can ride alone. Whilst students can easily complete the theory and circuit test in one summer, it's the eleven month period whereby you can only ride your bike whilst being accompanied by a full motorcycle permit holder that just plain sucks. Whilst I applaud the SAAQ for their recent Motorcycle Safety Days, this is one aspect of their approach that leaves something to be desired.
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Pic © SAAQ
Prospective Motorcycle Operators have several options that I have already listed in Motorcycle Accompanying Services For Quebec Residents and most recently, Moto Bella: Accompanying Services! Thus, don't get caught riding without an accompanying rider. Whilst I know of people who do it and get away with it, don't confuse the PoPo's good nature for anything less or more. The police officer can cite you with a ticket that ranges between $200 and $400; a loss of 4 demerit points and finally, they can tow your bike to the pound. Whilst you'll be able to collect it later so long as you do so with an accompanied rider or with a pickup truck, it makes for a shitty day in general. For more information check out M4E's section on this very topic.
|Pic © Dan Richard|
According to Dan Richard, author of Against The Accompanied Rider Law in Quebec? Take Action!, he received a letter from the SAAQ in response to his letter in 2015 addressing this daft law that prohibits learner riders from riding without an accompanied rider. The SAAQ claimed that they were working on removing this legislative law. However, it should be noted that it was in place in 2010 and despite rumors that it was to be removed during my tenure at Sur 2 Roues Motorcycle School, fast forward to May 2017 and the law is still in place. 😏 Whilst I can play devil's advocate and argue that there is something to be said for having an experienced rider with someone who is just learning, the latter only applies if both riders are stationary and the learner is open to receiving constructive criticism from the more experienced rider. Back in my days with the Dragon Riders both Steve (founder) and I (sidekick) spent two seasons picking learners up, riding with them, giving them pointers and returning them to their homes. Many of my ride reports from 2012 was basically about us taking day trips with learners. Whilst many of those learners were really wonderful people, a few of them were just unappreciative dicks who have no business operating any vehicle, let alone a motorcycle. No, this is not a case of Big Brother looking out for its citizens. The Quebec government is vehemently hostile against motorcycles and have inexcusably targeted us by making it exorbitant to own a motorcycle, let alone acquire a motorcycle permit. I digress.
|Pic © Big Joe's Biker Rings|
There are so many issues at play here that one simple petition would not be enough. There have been discussions over the years to boycott the SAAQ altogether and refuse to pay the licensing fees or even register our bikes. However, that is not only counterproductive but even worse, it restricts riders from riding anywhere else in Canada or the United States. I know folks who have stopped riding altogether and have sold their motorcycles. That is just not an option for many of us. At the moment, it seems that anything we do plays directly into the SAAQ's hands. Its become a win win for the government and it speaks to their obvious intent of systematically discriminating against a group of individuals by preventing as many of us as possible from pursuing a way of life that goes beyond just our lust for motorcycle porn. Alas what's a biker to do? Motorcycling is not a hobby but a way of life. Until we can come together to officially tackle this issue with real gusto it will continue to go unchecked. However, if you find yourself unable to live without riding and you're in need of an accompanying rider, look no further than MotoDirect. It's a great alternative for anyone who can't afford Bella and my services and offers riders in remote areas the chance to practice their riding skills before their road test.