Test drive lands operator in hospital

A Vernon motorcyclist remains in the intensive care unit of Vernon Jubilee Hospital after a single-vehicle crash in Okanagan Landing Sunday.

A Vernon motorcyclist remains in the intensive care unit of Vernon Jubilee Hospital after a single-vehicle crash in Okanagan Landing Sunday.

Vernon RCMP report a 38-year-old man, who was already under prohibition from operating a motor vehicle stemming from a 2008 accident,  had been with some friends looking at  an unlicensed motorcycle when he took it for a spin shortly after 6 p.m.

“Witnesses have told us that the unlicensed motorcycle was being operated at a high rate of speed, grossly in excess of the 50 km/hour posted speed limit shortly before the accident,” said Vernon RCMP Cpl. Gerry Kovacs, who estimated the motorcycle was travelling three times the speed limit.

The motorcycle was eastbound in the 6000 block of Tronson Road when it left the roadway and struck a raised culvert.

Kovacs said the impact sent both the motorcycle and driver airborne, and both travelled around 40 metres in the air. The motorcycle bounced on the ground upon landing and went another 30 metres.

The driver, who police believe was wearing a helmet, was taken by ambulance to VJH in critical condition with undetermined injuries. His condition was listed as stable as of Tuesday morning.

Speed and alcohol appear to be contributing factors to the accident, said Kovacs.

A police collision analyst attended the scene and the investigation into the accident is ongoing.

A number of charges are possible against the driver, but when asked if the owner of the bike also faces a charge, Kovacs said it depends on how the investigation goes.

“There are a lot of statements to be taken,” he said. “There were witnesses who saw the accident. We know something transpired at a meeting before taking the bike for a ride. If something comes out of that, we’ll lay the appropriate charge.

“But there is no specific charge for letting someone drive an unlicensed vehicle.”