May 19, 2009 – The Government of Saskatchewan is furthering its commitment to motorcycle safety by introducing a Graduated Driver’s Licensing (GDL) program for new motorcycle drivers. The program will come into effect in 2011.
“We’re proud to expand the Graduated Driver’s Licensing program to include motorcycle drivers,” Minister of Crown Corporations Ken Cheveldayoff said. “We know concerns over motorcycle safety are top of mind in Saskatchewan. Last year alone, there were 283 collisions involving motorcycles in Saskatchewan, including five deaths and 221 injuries. We believe the GDL program will help build safe driving skills with our new motorcycle drivers.”
Currently, there are no requirements for motorcycle drivers to demonstrate any riding skills to legally ride a motorcycle in Saskatchewan. Residents are able to drive a motorcycle with a learner’s licence, with only slightly reduced driving privileges, simply by passing a written knowledge test.
The new program will be similar to the province’s current GDL program for passenger vehicles in that it will gradually introduce new motorcycle drivers into the driving environment. Motorcycle drivers will move into higher risk driving situations after gaining experience in lower risk situations.
There will be three stages to the proposed GDL program for new motorcycle drivers – Learner, Novice 1 and Novice 2. As riders pass through these stages, they will see fewer restrictions until they graduate to an experienced “M” endorsed motorcycle licence. If a new motorcycle driver displays good driving experience with no incidents or interruptions, they will graduate to an experienced “M” endorsed licence in 36 months. Any incidents or interruptions will delay this process.
“We are confident that this new program will go a long way towards reducing motorcycle-related deaths and injuries in Saskatchewan,” Executive Director of the Saskatchewan Safety Council Harley Toupin said. “The Saskatchewan Safety Council has provided motorcycle safety courses for over 30 years. Riding experience is a key component to reducing crashes by allowing new motorcycle drivers to gain experience under a reduced level of risk.”
“The Saskatoon Police Service is pleased to hear about the graduated licensing program for motorcycle drivers,” Saskatoon Police Chief Clive Weighill said. “We believe this is a major step to improve motorcycle safety in the province.”
“Graduated licence programs save lives and prevent injuries,” Cheveldayoff said. “We know our current GDL program for passenger vehicles has been successful in reducing at-fault crashes by 18 per cent among new drivers. We’re expecting the same positive results for new motorcycle drivers.”
SGI is the province’s self-sustaining auto insurance fund. SGI operates 21 claims centres and five salvage centres across Saskatchewan and a head office in Regina. The organization employs 1,800 people and works with a network of almost 300 independent insurance brokers and 420 motor licence issuers across the province. www.sgi.sk.ca