Justice has been delayed for a local cyclist representing himself in a charter challenge of the provincial law requiring cyclists to wear helmets.
In August 2009, Vancouver police issued Ron van der Eerden a $29 ticket under Section 184 of the provincial Motor Vehicle Act for not wearing a helmet. Van der Eerden decided he would fight the ticket, and the court agreed to hear his case at provincial traffic court on August 12.
“It’s been adjourned,” van der Eerden told the Straight by phone on August 16. “They went all day [August 12] and then they realized, ‘Well, this is running out of time; they are going to need more time,’ and it also came up that it could be that we’re completely in the wrong court. Which is interesting because, well, this is where they put me, you know?”
Van der Eerden said he is not sure why the provincial court may not have jurisdiction to hear the case. He said all will be revealed in October when the case resumes.
“I think it actually went quite well,” van der Eerden added of his day in court. “It’s disappointing that this is another kind of bureaucratic, legal thing that isn’t getting me where I ultimately want to be. But in terms of the way the court process worked that day, and the way the two expert witnesses were called—one from either side—and [the fact that] I had all day, or two-and-a-half hours or more, to tear apart their case. And I thought that was pretty good, if the court allows me to get there.”
Since the Straight first reported on van der Eerden’s challenge, dozens of comments have poured in to both the online and the print version of the paper.
Van der Eerden has always maintained that the provincial helmet law needs to go, as he believes it sends the signal that cycling is an unsafe activity. He said he is still not wearing a helmet out on the road.