Q&A - Ticket Issued by Officer With No Knowledge of Incident

Q&A ImagePicture this:

The colours of the dawn sky are magnificent as the sun rises over the mountainous mainland, the blue ocean below, the fresh morning air on your face, nothin’ but open road ahead - no cars to be seen, spreadeagled-reclined-on your Harley, not a care in the world, slowly cruising on the mountain pass highway. Beauty. Perfection.

Now add this to the picture:

It is early morning commute, and there is a near endless line of vehicles behind you as you travel leisurely along, at a rate below (in an inactive construction zone) the lowered speed limit of 60km.

I was the car directly behind.

Then, when the highway wide and multi laned and the road offered a safe view ahead, and with no vehicles to beseen ahead on the road - I quickly and with a wide berth went safely around the slow moving motorcycle.

Yesterday, a month later, an officer (on behalf of the issuing officer in another detachment) delivered to my home a Violation Ticket, to the Registered Owner (RO), Driving Without Consideration 144(1)(b). The delivering officer stated he had no knowledge of the particulars other than stating that on this date and time my car crossed/passed double yellow. I admitted nothing, i was/am naive and was more incredulous that a ticket can be issued in this way.

So here I am wondering what to do and trying to remember that morning. I believe I passed the motorcycle in an inactive construction zone where the lanes had been altered with no double yellow visible.

The law is the law and I went around him, I probably just pay the fine and be thankful there are no loss of points involved (RO).

But there is something here that is… hmm..off-putting…?

The blissful biker turned into a raging biker as he realized I was going around him. Yelling, cursing, honking franticly. But he stayed at his slow stubborn pace and soon he, and the long line behind him, disappeared.

I drove at, or slightly above, the posted speed limits for the next 7-10 minutes. During this time I had glimpses of the headlight snake far, far back. The curves of the one lane highway widened to two and all of a sudden the irate motorcyclist was beside me gesturing wildly with his middle finger…yelling…verbally assaulting…threatening me…he work’s at ICBC and that he’s gonna get the cops. How is it a vehicle a km or two behind can catch up in an instant?

Well; he’s good to his word! Does working for ICBC give him ‘privilege’? Is he able to use his position to access my identity, address, driving record (which is clean), etc, or give him influence with the RCMP or the issuing officer? Possibly being in the same community, are the officer and motorcyclist known to each other?

I argue who is the one really driving without consideration? The person seemingly-intentionally driving slow, holding back the flow of commuter traffic? And then speeds excessively to catch up so he can rage at me?

I am now aware that an officer can issue a ticket even though he/she wasn’t present to witness the alleged offence, basing it on one person’s testimony/complaint. Maybe there is more evidence, but from the laws point of view isn’t this a case of ‘he said, she said’? Is this how law and ticket offences work?

I’m reading and learning what my options are going forward. I can dispute the ticket and ask the issuing officer for a disclosure, copy of the other drivers statement, any other evidence, a copy of whatever certified document they intend to use to prove I’m the Registered Owner. If this went to court, I am positive the ‘witness’ would appear to offer testimony. Can the Violation Ticket be changed from ‘RO’ to ‘Driver’ at court because the motorcyclist may recognize me as the one behind the wheel? Would both officers have to appear in court? Is there anything abnormal about how/why this ticket was issued to me? Due to the long period between the alleged infraction and receiving the ticket, I am unable to recover video footage/evidence as my dash cam has since recorded over.

Again, I don’t dispute what I did was wrong in the eyes of the law. It was a ticketable offence if an officer had been witness. (What if the motorcycle was a slow moving tractor?) Believe this or not - I’m not aggressive towards other drivers - this is the second time I’ve let impatience, frustration, and yes - even common sense dictate my decision making. In some countries what I did is very acceptable, common practice. But here in Canada, it is not. Here an aggravated connected citizen - who may or may not be out for vengeance and ‘justice’ and feeling… what exactly?! I don’t know, can’t say - here a single complaint can lead to a big ticket!


Something is missing in this story....

You state : "Then, when the highway wide and multi laned and the road offered a safe view ahead, and with no vehicles to be seen ahead on the road - I quickly and with a wide berth went safely around the slow moving motorcycle."

Reading between the lines, I gather you were still in the construction zone and it was posted 60kph.

Since none of the "near endless line of vehicles" sill behind the M/C every got past the M/C seems to indicate that nobody else was willing to try passing like you did for some reason.

So that leads me to believe the manner in which you passed was likely questionable.

Having said that.  I find it strange that police would take the time to do all this when there wasn't an actual collision.

Also, it would seem reasonable if they decided to investigate this allegation, why not go the next step and talk to you as part of the investigation ?  For one, you might admit to driving and then they would have a ticket issued to a driver instead of an RO.

Also, knowing human nature, it might be a thought to contact ICBC and explain this incident and the fact the M/C rider was an ICBC employee and ask if they would check to make sure the motorcycle rider didn't access you information on the ICBC system, because that would be very serious.

ICBC retains "log tapes" of every query for 5 years.  If this ICBC employee, enraged at your alleged driving, got to work Monday morning and ran your plate, your claims history etc etc, that would be wrong with a capital W.

The police taking actual enforcement action on a driving complaint is not all that common.  The basis of a police officer observing your illegal driving and issuing you a ticket based on those observations is that "they are professional", "they were there to observed traffic for violations", "they are doing their job" (ie, they don't have a horse in the race)

In the case of issuing a ticket on the say so of one motorist against another, "the complaining motorist is not a professional", "they were the perceived victim of someone else's alleged illegal driving", and they do have a horse in the race.  Their anger or frustration over someone's perceived illegal acts that affected or could have affected them, could certainly taint their ability to observe fairly and accurately.

Personally if there was a need to investigate this alleged violation I would have gone the further step of interviewing you, to get your side of the story.

But that doesn't mean you aren't guilty.

Your view of what happened is likely minimized in your favor, the complainant's view of what happened is likely embellished against you, and the truth is somewhere in the middle, that's why, police don't generally go to this extent.

Perhaps the violation is much more severe than you are admitting to yourself and us.

I think one of the keys to this is the fact that even you admit that the phenominal line of traffic held up by the M/C moving at a snails pace remains behind the M/C.  It seems that if it was at all reasonable for you to pass the M/C others would also have done so.

As for disputing the RO ticket, I don't know if, once you appear if a DRIVER ticket could be re-issued or the RO ticket amended to DRIVER.

Abuse of Power?

It's the line "Then, when the highway wide and multi laned and the road offered a safe view ahead, and with no vehicles to be seen ahead on the road - I quickly and with a wide berth went safely around the slow moving motorcycle " that bothers me.  Was the inactive construction zone signed? It could of just had construction ahead, something like a bump ahead sign. Then you waited until it was safe to pass and did so, which set off the motorcycle riders road rage. I know how fast bikes are, had a few in a previous young life, so if he caught you 8 km. down the road he was deffinatly breaking the speed laws..

Working at ICBC does not give him "privilege" to access or ask someone with access to look at your driving records, if he or someone else did this for him I suggest you put in a formal complaint. 

I don't understand why someone didn't interview you to get your side of the story. Seems an abuse of power story to me.

One Side of the Story

Remember, we've only heard one side of the story here. Perhaps this person has decided that the best option in the circumstances is to say nothing, it is a valid choice when approached by the police regarding a driving incident.

I always asked for the other person's side when I investigated driving complaints and that reminds me of an interesting story:

I was traveling home from shift in my personal vehicle one day, doing 50 in the posted 50 zone. The driver behind me obviously wanted by but was restrained by the double solid yellow line. When a left turn lane appeared, he screamed on by and disappeared into the distance. I wrote down the licence plate number and paid him a visit when I was on shift again.

Oh, no, I would never do something like that! (His halo was absolutely shining.) The driver doing the complaining must be mistaken...

The ticket was issued and the complaining driver was identified to him. He didn't dispute.


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