Hockey and motorcycle safety

There is something to be said when members of a community have an opportunity to come together and celebrate success and achievement.

There is something to be said when members of a community have an opportunity to come together and celebrate success and achievement.

Such was the case this past Friday night as the Penticton Vees won the Doyle Cup in a decisive manner before the largest crowd of the season.

On a personal note, to experience the electric atmosphere in the air and the collective cheers of 4,700 hockey fans watching history being made was one that will not soon be forgotten.

I greatly enjoyed attending this hockey game and while this victory was the first of its kind in 26 years, something tells me that the South Okanagan will not have to wait another 26 years to witness the return of the Doyle Cup again in Penticton.

This coming weekend the South Okanagan Events Centre  will host one of the largest RV shows ever held within B.C.s interior with close to 50 different exhibitors attending the show.

Later this year legendary performers such as B.B. King, John Cougar and others will also appear at the facility.

Although there are always challenges it is rewarding to see the SOEC start to establish many positive contributions to the region.

As the Legislature is currently in session a number of new bills have been introduced recently that may be of interest to residents here in the Okanagan. Bill 36, the School Amendment Act 2012, proposes a number of changes the most significant is the elimination of the standard school calendar.

Although a minimum number of instructional hours would still be required to be met, eliminating the standard school calendar would allow locally elected boards of education and education authorities to offer more creative scheduling options that could better meet the needs of students. These changes do not suggest that the current school calendar would necessarily be changed, only that local districts would have more scheduling options then are currently available.

Also this week, new changes were announced to motorcycle laws that will come into force on June 1.

The new regulations will include strict enforcement that only approved helmets will be permitted for motorcyclists and any passengers including children. In addition the use of foot pegs or passenger boards will be required for any passenger on a motorcycle.

Other changes include a graduated licensing system with power restrictions for new riders and greater education for car and truck drivers to be more aware of safe vehicle movement around motorcycles.

Although motorcycles make up only three per cent of insured vehicles on the road, 10 per cent of all B.C. driver fatalities are from motorcycles accidents.

Over the past 15 years, motorcycle deaths have increased by close to 60 per cent with more than 200 motorcycle fatalities alone recorded in the past five years and a further 5,000 reported injuries.

Beginning in May of last year, larger motorcycle license plates with increased font size have also become standard issue to riders.

Lastly this week a comment in response to suggestions for road improvement projects.

It is common to receive suggestions from members of the public for projects that could potentially improve various roadways and or intersections throughout our region.

When I receive these requests if time permits I often attend the area in question firsthand; however, all comments are passed on to the Ministry of Transportation.

Often a particular area may be scheduled for a future upgrade in two or three years time at which point these upgrades can be combined with other pending work.

In some situations a project may be placed on a priority list given budget considerations or there may be other unresolved factors still pending. In some cases after further investigation the suggested change may actually make a roadway less safe when considering other variables.

In all instances every effort is made to accommodate improved and safer road access for the motoring public.

Bill Barisoff is the MLA for the riding of Penticton.


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