A change to the law that aims to protect young pillion motorcycle riders who are unable to reach the vehicle’s pegs was enacted yesterday.
The ‘Reach for Life’ campaign by the Royal Gibraltar Police will go through a ‘grace’ period from six to eight weeks where it will spread awareness.
Paul Balban, Minister for Transport, said that the law has primarily been changed to protect children who are taken to school or the beach by parents.
“I have seen young children dangling precariously off the end of a bike,” he said. “All it takes is a slight change of acceleration for the child to be knocked off.”
Mr Balban said that the pegs must form part of the chassis and not the frame because the plastic covering will not hold the weight of a child.
“People do not have to throw their motorbikes away,” he said. “They can be adapted, but it has to be done correctly.
Mr Balban said that as part of the awareness campaign posters will be placed around schools, beach sections and larger posters in key locations.
Brian Finlayson, RGP Chief Inspector, said that the RGP has not reacted to accidents, but rather are acting upon this as a preventative measure.
“The law has changed in a small but vital way,” he said. “Previously motorcycles had to have a footrest, but the passenger was not obliged to have their feet on it.”
Inspector Finlayson said that a child could have his feet dangling and the police could not do anything about it as it was not covered in law.
“Now it is a legal requirement to have a footrest and the pillion rider must be able to reach it,” he said. “In the beginning we will be advising people. We will not be reporting anyone in the early stages, but we will be enforcing it as from six to eight weeks.”
Inspector Finlayson said that the fine will be set at ‘scale two’ which is a maximum of £400 which is ‘a lot more expensive’ than what the modifications would cost.
“Moreover, every pillion passenger carried on a motorcycle must sit astride, face forward and place both feet on suitable supports or rests while the motorbike is being driven,” he said.
Peter Cleverly, Driver and Vehicle Licensing Department Chief Examiner, said there are certain modifications that can be carried out that are in line with the safety standards.
“My department will be very happy to help those people who require assistance,” he said. “The awareness posters will also show the correct and incorrect ways of carrying pillion riders.”
Mr Cleverly said that officers will advise on the standards that need to be reached and all garages in Gibraltar are capable of making these minor modifications.
“Each case has to be treated individually and the modifications have to be tailored to your child’s specifications,” he said. “It can be as cheap as £15 and even cheaper on eBay.”
Source:- Gibraltar Chronicle