Equality before and under law and equal protection and benefit of law
15. (1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.
How are riders being treated equal under the law when they are the only non commercial road users being fined for creating excessive noise?
That is a question I posed to two city of Edmonton councillors yesterday in phone interviews.
I spoke with Councillor's Henderson and Diotte. The answers I got were so divergent.
According to Henderson the only thing the city is trying to do is crack down on noise and the only proven technology available is the J 2825 standard being promoted by Luc Fournier of the MMIC, and since everyone agreed on it - it is fair and not discriminatory.
When I asked Henderson why the city if Edmonton was not using the Noise Snare that would see ALL gross noise offenders charged and treated the same way his excuse was the technology hasn't been proven - when I called him on the fact that the J2825 was in fact reliant on the police officer doing copious amounts of paperwork, therefore highly subjective and highly cost inefficient he argued that the J2825 was scientifically proven and the Noise Snare was not.
Henderson said he wanted to wait and see what Calgary's success was going to be with the Noise Snare before he'd agree to try it in Edmonton - his fear was that there would be more backlash from it that the J2825. When I asked him if he thought the potential for increased back lash might be because ALL non commercial use offenders would be nailed he did agree that would be the case.
Councillor Henderson tried many arguments with me to show that the Edmotnon Motorcycle Only Noise Bylaw was not violating our Charter Rights - he tried the old we do safety checks on semis - I said yup and commercial vehicles are covered under different law from non commercial road users.
Then he tried the check stop thing - and I said yup - in a check stop you stop EVERYONE - you don't single out Cadillacs or purple cars. He tried the seat belt thing - and I said to him - convertibles do not have traditional seatbelts and neither do motorcycles - it is about the nature of the vehicle. This man appeared to me throughout our entire conversation to want to hold on to the J2825 no matter how belligerent and obstinate he came across.
He claims this is about noise, and yet he is not willing to try the Noise Snare, not until someone else tries it and it goes through legal challenges.
So I said: Hmmm - so you would rather discriminate than do the right thing and try the Noise Snare...His answer: We are not discriminating - it is the only proven technology and we do need to have the ability to test noise on other vehicles and it is not there right now.
According to Councillor Diotte however -Edmonton's Noise Bylaw is highly discriminatory and that to only target one group of non commercial road users was the wrong way to approach the noise issue and highly detrimental to tourism, charitable events and put tax payers in a combative and divisive position with the city . Councillor Diotte says he was not aware of the Noise Snare and wanted to see the video and get more information.
Councillor Diotte and I spoke of the reason the EPS seems so bent on keeping the J2825 as a standard, I asked the hard question - do you think that profiling and asking about patches, tattoos etc might be part of the reason - Councillor Diotte said an argument could be made that many would find that valuable information. When I asked why the stunting laws weren't used in regards to the noise issue - he said I am not sure...but agreed that most of the time a noise offender is a stunter and that the $405 fine and three demerits would be a great deterrent if the police actually enforced the law.
There you have it, two men - two very different thoughts on the subject.
I ride a stock motorcycle. I ride because it is part of the fabric of my being.
I am not arguing against noise bylaws but against the unfair/unethical prosecution of only one type of non commercial road user/gross noise offender.
While the MMIC may have been trying to stop governments from imposing stricter regulations against motorcycles - what they really did was give police another excuse to stop motorcycles, to profile us and to set us up for special discriminatory treatment.
If you understand that I am NOT against noise bylaws but working towards seeing ALL gross offenders treated equally then I ask you to consider doing a few things...
1) Send me a written statement that documents your stop and if possible supply every supporting document you can including photos, video and make sure you note who, what, where, when and why in your statement.
2) I want you to thoughtfully consider the profiling of our community that has been taking place - Veteran's being refused entry to a motorcycle show 'n' shine at a Legion in Orangeville Ontario because they were wearing patches - think of the other events, like the Canadian Championship of Custom Bike Building and how I was forced to say no patches or not get my event license...many other events are experiencing the same sort of restrictions - I have a few who will write about their experiences with the RCMP and the Liquor Boards in their provinces - they have to wait until 6 months after their events to do so... I have heard these stories and they are all consistently unfair, unlawful and discriminatory and having them on paper is going to be vital.
3) Consider the idea - the possibility, that we as a visible minority deserve protection from unfair and unlawful prosecution just like riders in the State of Washington have.
There are a number of us that are putting together a group that intends to see our community - motorcyclists - seek protection under our Charter of Freedoms and Rights as a visible minority - it's going to take some dedicated people and a ton of money.
My questions to all of you are...Do you value your Freedoms and Rights?
Are you willing to spend some money or some time to protect them or are we going to - like the state of Kentucky did - allow our Governments and Police Officers to take our Rights and Freedoms away?
Equality - fair treatment - that is what I am after, what say you?
I want your feedback people - I feel this is a serious matter and I hope that my feelings mirror yours but if they don't I want to know why - it is important to me to understand all sides of these issues.
In other news:
In the US, the Mongol's won the right to keep their patch and trade mark
Also in the US the president of the Pagans is being held on a $750,000 bond
In Australia - Bikies ride in a funeral procession with their patches on - the first time they are allowed to associate without fear of prosecution in a long time.
In Canada - the Supreme Court will decide of the BC Hells Angels are a criminal organization
There are 8 crashes involving motorcyclists in the Rider Down Section
There is a ton of event information and other news today that may affect your riding life - check it all out at www.beltdrivebetty.com
Have a Happy Canada Day everyone...and please - ride like everyone around you is blind and can not see you, and use respect with that right hand - we have to share this world with others who don't love the sound of our motorcycles the way we do - be considerate in towns and cities - it will save you money and the rest of us a lot of grief if you are.
Belt Drive Betty
Editor and Rider
Editor and Rider