The fourth Quebec "Opération Escargot
" or "Operation Slow Down" was held on Saturday, May 9. This time, a group leaving from Boucherville and another from Lévis were to meet up in Drummondville. Naturally, the route included Highway 20, and the convoy, as was done during the other Slow-Downs, would travel at 60 km/h, the minimum legal speed.
I made my way to Boucherville to observe the preparations and the organization of the event. It was well organized. Guides posted at strategic locations guided participants towards a large parking lot that served as a meeting point. A police escort would enable the group to safely reach the highway, and organizers gave last-minute instructions to the drivers. A sympathizer even supplied a helicopter, which helped coordinate things and shoot some video.
As for participation, it wasn't as impressive. I was part of this problem, as having a prior engagement that day I showed up in my car and didn't follow the convoy. Several participants decided to stay home because of the lousy weather forecast. Most of the bikes that did make it were Customs. Touring and Sport Touring bikes came in second, while Sportbikes were the least well represented. This distribution was nevertheless consistent with statistics, with over 50% of bikes sold being custom models.
What kind of rankles, though, is the fact that this "Opération Escargot" was created in response to the excessive increase in insurance premiums on Sportbikes decreed by Québec's Société de l'assurance automobile. And even though Touring and Sport Touring bikes are next on the list, custom bikes are in principle not the most affected right now.
So where were all the Sportbikes, the main party concerned?