I’m 25 years old. I’ve owned over a dozen motorcycles. I’ve been riding since I was a teenager. I hold a full M Class motorcycle license in Ontario. I don’t own a car or even a car license. I own a house, and a garage full of motorcycles.
I haven’t been in a motorcycle accident. I haven’t received a ticket in about three years. I started my professional career by working in the motorcycle industry. If Saskatchewan’s newly proposed rules had applied to me, nearly everything I just told you would never have happened for me.
The news says anyone looking to get a motorcycle license in Saskatchewan will need to get a car license first. I understand the benefits of having road traffic experience prior to learning how to ride, however with all of the graduated licensing, motorcycle safety schools, and testing that exists, this seems awfully totalitarian.
Whether because of familial or financial reasons not everyone can get access to a car and get licensed.
The global popularity of motorcycling comes from the need for low cost transportation. Motorcycles provide a fuel-efficient and finance-friendly method of personal transportation. Saskatchewan shouldn’t overlook this.
I don’t know what Saskatchewan is like, but in my neighbourhood a lot of the kids couldn’t drive mommy and daddy’s cars. Growing up, more often than not the parents of my street only had one car, some had none.
And then there are the fiercely independent children.
By 23 years old I had bought my first condominium. By 25 years old I had bought my first house. I was much better off then most however. Two of my closest friends are the product of a broken home, both girls moved out while still in high school.
None of us had hand me down cars or driving lessons with mom and dad. We had the need to move out, to grow up, and to either make something of ourselves or to sink to the bottom and stay there.
There’s an argument for motorcycles first for people like us.
I taught myself how to ride. My first ride was out of the back of the motorcycle dealership I bought my bike at. “Twist this to go, and squeeze here and here to brake. These are your signals, this is your horn. Good luck.” I didn’t hear half that much advice!
I had always been somewhat of an outcast and a loser in school. Being an only child meant I learnt to play alone. My imagination blossomed because there were only so many board games you could play against yourself, but I was shy and quiet as a result.
Motorcycling gave me confidence I’d never had before.
Learning to ride a motorcycle released me from my introversion. I finally had something I could take pride in and get continuously better at. There was something that made me feel really happy. Under my helmet (a size or two too large) lived a permanent smile.
Something strange happened too. I became different, and interesting. At some point I started sharing my riding adventures online. People were attracted to or at least interested in the motorcycle. Everyone wanted to talk about it. Even really beautiful girls! Girls that I admired from a distance but would never even waste the effort of trying to talk to. We talked daily now… Conversations that they started!
You could say motorcycling launched my career.
I applied to a job as a Marketing Coordinator in the motorcycle industry while I was finishing up university. I provided statistics from my websites as part of my application to demonstration my success in targeting motorcyclists and building a following through online mediums.
Despite having absolutely no work experience and still being a student, I got the job! I worked in the motorcycle industry for over two years. Within a month or so of leaving I was called in to interview for a job I hadn’t even applied to, declined, and was offered a better job by the same company which I happily accepted.
If it weren’t for motorcycling… I wouldn’t have half as much.
I wouldn’t have the confidence to be the outgoing, fun, and happy person that I am. I wouldn’t have had anything particularly stellar to make me a catch for a good company. I wouldn’t have gotten the chance to prove myself and start making money right out of university. I wouldn’t have been able to be a home owner at age 25.
My plead to the motorcycle safety committee and the government of Saskatchewan / how not to suck:
Please remember that not everyone is born privileged enough to have access to a car. Many people come from lower income families, broken homes, immigrant families, single parents working night shifts, and so on. For many, motorcycles are the only means of personal transportation within their limited budgets.
Motorcycles build confidence, character, and happiness. Motorcycles get society moving from Point A to Point of Work. Motorcycles are the reason people like me have the confidence to do all of the things which make us successful. They are the reason I started my career the day after my final exam, and the reason why I’ve never had trouble finding a job ever since.
Having to get a car license prior to a motorcycle license would have set me back years personally, professionally, and financially.
From the stateside of the border it often appears that Canada has its governmental act way more together than the U.S. Actually that is probably the view from both sides of the border. Of course the whole of Canada has a population about the same as LA, which gives Canada some advantage with a lot fewer people to irritate. So it is nice for a stateside guy to hear that Saskatchewan can suck in some bureaucratically myopic manner. Motorcycling embeds itself into us riders in some similar and some different ways, but it definitely gets embedded in there and its pretty interesting to see Adrian lay out some of his embedment. If this YouMotorcycle site and content are the result of motorcycling embedding itself in Adrian that is a heck of result. Jefe
Here’s my take. The Safety Nazi trend is alive and well in Canada just as it is in the US, just not nearly as badly. Still, it’s happening. You have politicians, probably most of whom have never ridden a motorcycle, trying to tell us how to live our lives, and that they think they know better. It’s utter BS. So the best thing you can do is write lots and lots of letters, visit public meetings, and so on, and get this beat down. Make yourselves heard.
If you knew the real details about the new graduated riders program, you would be even more disgusted with the sask policies for new riders. My fiance is currently trying to get her learners permit. She has next to no experience on a motorcycle other than us taking it to an empty parking lot for her to practice. You must pass a road test now to just get your learners permit. I am not 100% against this, but the fact that she had to ride for 25 minutes through busy rush our traffic in Saskatoon, and stalled the bike ONCE at a busy 4 way stop and failed as a result is RIDICULOUS! We would never drive into the downtown core of Saskatoon this early in her riding experience. Some aspects of the new program (safety gear requirements) are a good addition to the new rider policies, others (3 years before eligibility for no restrictions riding, bs riders test just to get your learners, HUGE increase for registration fees for ALL riders) are a complete miss and for the most part, nothing but a cash grab.
Sucks to be a Canadien!
I’ll take being Canadian over not knowing how to spell! ;)
I think it should be the reverse…everyone should have to go through a motorcycle course before getting a license to drive a car….Hopefully it would make everyone more aware of bikes and foster better driving practices in general…leave more room, focus on driving, anticipate hazards/situations….ride safe!
Saskatchewan has made it hard for a new rider to start and has made it very costly for use who ride to continue to ride . With that being said I as a rider /biker will always find a way they my bike is my therapy and the only place to clear the cob webs from this thing I call a brain . Never let the powers that be decide if you ride there are loop hole to everything . Just ride for the love of the wind and the freedom that comes with it . Guess I should say I live I Saskatchewan and deal with all this crap first hand
(i know this article is years old but) I just went to licence a 50cc scooter that I was bought for $600 dollars and found out that it is considered a motorcycle and I will have to spend thousands of dollars plus learn to ride an actual motorcycle with gears before I can get the licence. so much for saving money… The government should be encouraging motorcycle and scooter use to decongest the roads and downtown. If they want to increase penalties for stunting and speeding, I am all for that, but paying thousands of dollars to ride a scooter around town is ridiculous.