There has been a lot of attention paid to the issue of bicyclists and the use of the roadways lately, particularly given recent stories involving a cyclist's alleged assault on a pregnant woman or the cyclist ICBC is blaming for an accident because he was impaired. As a driver, I can say that my experience on the roadway is that many cyclists appear to be either ignorant of their obligations on the roadway, or willfully reckless about following the rules. It's frustrating as a driver, and as a person who defends drivers because I can see the way that cyclists pose a significant risk to the public, but do not have any accountability when they violate the rules.
As a result of the increase in discussion on this topic, many people have been calling on Government to regulate cyclists in the same manner as cars are regulated: compulsory insurance policies and bicycle registration with plates. To my mind, this is the only reasonable system that keeps cyclists accountable to drivers, pedestrians, and one another, and it is the only reasonable system that protects cyclists from harm.
Over the last several months, numerous articles have been posted discussing the development of a marijuana breathalyzer. The theory is that through the miracle of science (or a complex technical formula the explanation of which is not relevant to this blog post) a sample of a person's breath will reveal the concentration of marijuana in their bloodstream. This is similar to alcohol breathalyzers, though the process by which the sample is analyzed and the marijuana detected is vastly different.
Many groups like MADD Canada have pushed for a mechanism of roadside testing for drivers suspected of being impaired by drugs. They see the development of these tools as a victory in the battle against impaired driving. But will a marijuana breathalyzer really help anything?
I say no.
When I first read the judgments in the Wilson and Goodwin cases this morning, I thought "Well... that was anticlimactic."
The short version is that there is no change to the status quo. The legislation that was challenged in the Goodwin cases (the first version of the Immediate Roadside Prohibition scheme) was found to be unconstitutional for the reasons given by Justice Sigurdson. The Court commented specifically that the amendments to the legislation, i.e., the current version of IRP laws, demonstrate that there can be a more reasonable review process. This likely shuts down any further challenges to the current version of the law.
As far as Wilson is concerned, the Court concluded that the argument suffers from a fatal flaw: the legislation is not ambiguous. I knew going in that I had a tough, mostly impossible case. Getting leave to have my argument heard was a surprising feat. I am not disappointed with the work I did, and I fought to the end for my clients and a cause that I believe in. As a lawyer, that's my job and I did it as well as I possibly could have. I have confidence that the Supreme Court of Canada is applying the law fairly and correctly and hearing all cases with an open mind.
Still, to be human means it's hard to not get the result you want. Many people do not realize that being a lawyer is like riding a roller coaster every day. There are highs when you are victorious for your client, and lows when you are not.
So going forward I continue to do what I've been doing all along: representing my clients to the best of my ability and continuing to challenge the Immediate Roadside Prohibition law and any other law that impacts the rights and freedoms of drivers in this province.
Today we got word from the Supreme Court of Canada that they will be giving their decision in the Wilson v. British Columbia (Superintendent of Motor Vehicles) and Goodwin v. British Columbia (Superintendent of Motor Vehicles) cases on Friday morning. This news confirms my earlier predictions and suspicions that the decision would be rendered in October.
We will finally have an answer from Canada's top court on the legality and proper process of British Columbia's DUI law.
Vancouver Criminal Lawyer with a focus on impaired driving, cannabis legalization and related issues, and immediate roadside prohibition defence.