Motorcyclists are among the most vulnerable road users in New Brunswick. They are 7.5 times more likely to be killed in a traffic collision than other vehicle users. The number of registered motorcycles in New Brunswick has nearly doubled in the past 12 years and on average represents 3.1% of all registered vehicles. Although motorcycles are just a small portion of vehicles on our roads, collisions involving motorcycles result in approximately 11% of motor vehicle collision fatalities. While trends in the number of deaths resulting from passenger vehicle collisions have shown a decline, the number of motorcyclist and motorcycle-related deaths has increased. Considering those factors, the Government of New Brunswick has decided to add a graduated licence program for motorcycles (Motorcycle GDL) which will come into effect April 1st, 2015.
A review of collision data for the Province of New Brunswick shows the most common causes of fatal motorcycle collisions in New Brunswick are:
- Speed and illegal manoeuvres by the motorcyclist.
- Failure of other vehicle drivers to see the motorcyclist.
- Inattention and inexperience on the part of the motorcyclist.
- Alcohol and drug use by the motorcyclist.
New Brunswick has had a successful GDL program for passenger vehicles since 1996 and it is now time to introduce GDL to motorcycle licencing. Graduated drivers licensing (GDL) programs introduce new drivers to high risk situations slowly, as experience is gained. Risk factors for New Brunswick motorcyclists were identified and successful Motorcycle GDL programs from around the world were reviewed. This work has resulted in New Brunswick’s motorcycle GDL program which will operate as follows:
- The program will be 12 months in duration.
- The minimum age of entry is 16 (applicants under 18 years of age must have consent that is witnessed by a non-relative).
- Participants must successfully pass an approved motorcycle driver training course.
- Participants will be required to pass a vision screening and their written, basic and sign tests.
- Participants must maintain zero Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) for the duration of the GDL program regardless of age.
- Participants cannot drive from sunset to sunrise.
- Participants will not be permitted to tow a “vehicle” as defined in the Motor Vehicle Act (i.e. trailer).
- Participants cannot have any passengers on their motorcycle for the duration of the GDL program.
- Participants must have their motorcycle GDL licence for 12 months without interruption.
- Participants must successfully pass an on-road test before becoming fully licensed.