By Jordan W. Charness
“This is absolutely ridiculous!”
Peter came storming in to my office the other day. He had just received his motorcycle registration renewal papers in the mail.
“$1,410!!!” he exclaimed. “Are they out of their minds!?” He was really on a tear.
In the past couple of years, the cost of registering a motorcycle in Québec has gone through the roof. Since part of the registration cost goes to Québec’s no-fault accident insurance plan, the government decided that they were going to raise the cost of registering a motorcycle to help defray the cost of medical care that may be required for victims of a motorcycle accident. The thinking was that motorcycle riders would then be paying considerably more than car drivers for engaging in what the Québec government seems to think is a risky driving activity.
To top it all off, Peter owns what the Québec government considers a “high risk motorcycle”. These types of motorcycles have the following characteristics:
- streamlined fairing covering the sides of the engine to improve aerodynamics,
- a low windshield
- a crouched-forward riding position
- low, short handlebars
- foot pegs placed higher up and farther back
- muffler placed at the rear and angled upward
- two disc brakes in front and one disc brake in the back
- rear wheel driven by a chain
- power to weight ratio of over 0.5 hp/kg
- no centre stand
- oversize frame
High-risk motorcycles are most commonly known as sport bikes or racing bikes.
While the cost of registering a regular motorcycle with an engine displacement of more than 401 ccs went up from about $300 a couple of years ago to $518 last year and $627 this year, the cost of registering a sport bike went from the same $300 a few years ago to $1,030 last year and a whopping $1,410 this year!
Those huge numbers don’t even include liability insurance or insuring the bike itself. What it does include is an insurance contribution for bodily injuries of $1,253 plus a tax charge by the Québec government of an additional $113 on the price of the registration plus an additional $40 special tax for use of roadways, and an additional four dollars thrown in, just because.
“This is getting ridiculous!” Peter fumed. “Just what will happen if I don’t bother paying this exorbitant registration fee?”
I told him that if he was caught driving with an unpaid registration he would be subject to a fine that would go from anywhere from $400 to $800.
“That’s a whole lot cheaper than actually registering the darned bike!” he exclaimed. “I have half a mind to just skip the registration and drive carefully so I don’t get caught for anything and dinged for a ticket.”
Though his math was correct, I pointed out to him that if he continued with his illegal scheme he may also have his motorcycle seized on the spot and impounded for up to 30 days. He would also have to pay towing and storage costs, and of course, find a ride home.
Peter grumbled, but paid the registration fees.