Prime Time Crime

(Prime Time Crime exclusive Jan 24, 2011)

Turn about is fair play

By Bob Cooper




I heard on the news this morning that lawyer David Eby, Executive Director of the BC Criminal Liberties Association recently received a refresher on the requirements of By-Law #2849 as they pertain to cyclists.  Otherwise known as the Street and Traffic By-Law, it’s a handy device which has been helping Vancouver police officers have the last word with the David Ebys of this world for well over a century.

According to this piece on his blog, Mr. Eby was returning from a shopping trip absolutely giddy over the purchase of “some exciting new cleaning supplies”, (causing me to realize that I’ve had more fun in a weekend than this guy will likely ever have in his life, then again, perhaps he’s still cleaning that pie off his face that his own people threw at him after the Olympics-(Useful idiots)-when he noticed two constables checking a camper in an alley near the Waldorf Hotel. 

Now anyone with an ounce of common sense would assume the obvious, that the cops were simply checking on the occupant’s welfare to make sure that he hadn’t starved or frozen to death or suffered the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning.  I’d go a bit further and suggest that given Mr. Eby’s professed interest in the plight of the homeless, a word of commendation would have been in order but, no.  Where the average person sees the cops doing something beyond what’s required of them, Mr. Eby sees a vile plot to deprive someone of their civil rights causing him to stop and “witness”.

According to Mr. Eby the two constables then approach him and in the course of the conversation they ask if he knew the occupant of the van further attesting to their genuine concern for the person.  Rather than sharing the concern, Mr. Eby tells the constables that he was watching them.  One of them then informs Mr. Eby of the requirement of Section 60B requiring that all bicycles be equipped with a bell capable of being used as a warning.  Mr. Eby then goes on to say “A $100.00 ticket later…..” and rattles off 3 prominent cases involving ‘police watching’ proving he was out doing God’s work.

The Vancouver Police Department isn’t averse to independent oversight.  God knows they’ve got so much of it now it’s a wonder that cops do anything.  However in this case all Mr. Eby was doing was trying to find the minutest breach of the law or VPD policy which is pretty clear from the way he describes the officers’ actions.  When you go out of your way to find fault with others don’t be surprised when they find some with you and if you want to assume the role of independent overseer it would behoove you to ensure that whatever mode of transportation you employ is in complete compliance with the Street & Traffic By-Law and the Motor Vehicle Act & Regulations.

Kudos to the cop who wrote the ticket for not being intimidated.  If I ever run into him I’d be pleased to buy him the drink of his choice upon production of his copy.


Bob Cooper is a retired Vancouver policeman.  He walked a beat in Chinatown and later worked in the Asian Organized Crime Section and the Homicide Squad.


Prime Time Crime

Contributing 2011