Jamie Graham says cops should seize bicycles if cyclists are caught four times without a helmet

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      When Jamie Graham completed his tenure as Vancouver's police chief in 2007, many thought that this ended his influence over local residents.

      Over his five-year term, Graham's authoritarian tendencies sometimes became a public issue.

      This was particularly true in his responses to Pivot Legal Society allegations of police misconduct in the Downtown Eastside.

      He was known back then as a cop's chief—someone who wouldn't fry an officer who became a little overzealous on the job. 

      He wasn't afraid to take on the Hells Angels or to excoriate critics of the department.

      And who can forget the time he dropped a bullet-splattered target from the shooting range on the desk of then–city manager Judy Rogers?

      Graham apologized for that, but the incident only reinforced his tough-guy image. It may have even helped him get hired as chief of the Victoria Police Department.

      Now, Graham's back again to haunt Vancouverites, this time as chair of the B.C. Association of Police Chiefs traffic-safety committee.

      The Vancouver Sun's Kevin Griffin has reported that Graham wants the mandatory-helmet law changed to allow police to seize bicycles if the owner is caught four times riding without headgear.

      Graham also wants fines sharply increased from $29 for cycling without a helmet.

      But the most astonishing part of Griffin's article was Graham's suggestion that if people don't wear a bicycle helmet, they should sign a document forefeiting their right to use the medical system if they suffer a head injury while cycling.

      That's pretty mean-spirited, especially when you think of poverty-stricken Downtown Eastside cyclists who can't afford a $60 helmet. Teenagers' prefrontal cortexes haven't sufficiently developed to provide them with the judgement to know when not to take risks.

      Graham may not be aware that there is a physician in this province—Dr. Tom Demarco—who supported a legal challenge against the province's mandatory-helmet law.

      Believe it or not, there is a public debate over this legislation.

      One of the city's best-known cyclists, former city councillor Peter Ladner, told CBC's Mark Forsythe earlier this summer that he thinks the mandatory-helmet law should be repealed.

      But Graham still wants police to be able to seize people's two-wheelers.

      When Graham appeared on the cover of the Georgia Straight in 2005, the headline read "urban general".

      Perhaps a more accurate title would have been "urban generalissimo" in recognition of his latest recommendation.



      Flick Harrison

      Sep 7, 2013 at 6:29pm

      Sure Jamie - and when people get four speeding tickets, we should seize their car.

      Four jaywalking tickets, we seize their legs.

      Same logic, right?

      Vancouver love

      Sep 7, 2013 at 6:52pm

      A helmet saved my life. I was so messed up for years as a result of a bike accident that was not my fault. I like this guy. Most people can't fathom what a head injury does to someone if they even survive. He's doing many people a BIG favor by being strict with helmets.


      Sep 7, 2013 at 7:32pm

      What the heck is Jamie Graham is going on about?
      With the health and societal benefits from riding bicycles clearly established, and recently published research showing cycling being no more risky than going out for a walk (http://journal.cpha.ca/index.php/cjph/article/view/3621/2744), and our Canadian bicycle helmet laws having no clear benefit (http://www.medpagetoday.com/CriticalCare/HeadTrauma/39122), why does he want to increase fines and take away bicycles from people who are riding just because they are riding without helmets?
      Perhaps he's holding onto old beliefs that have since been proven false (http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/19036/feds-will-stop-hyping-eff...) but it seems to me, if he wants to be of service to the public, he should be more up to date on his information.

      since when

      Sep 7, 2013 at 7:37pm

      did the police make the law?


      Sep 7, 2013 at 7:56pm

      I was surprised to see how much police make in BC. Jamie Graham, for instance, makes over $180,000/yr. Just sayin'


      Sep 7, 2013 at 8:00pm

      Here's a way of saving all kinds of lives: make cars that don't go over the speed limit - would save a lot more lives than all of these assinine, distracting-from-the-real-problems pronouncements. Factor in the health benefits of more people riding bikes and you have even more lives saved, and taxpayer money saved.

      Michael Gratton

      Sep 7, 2013 at 8:04pm

      Seize bikes after four offences? Sure, just so long as we seize cars as well. After all, cars actually kill people.

      Mr Marc

      Sep 7, 2013 at 8:08pm

      I think he should be spanked at the Art Gallery by Jamie Lee Hamilton for being so extreme!


      Sep 7, 2013 at 8:46pm

      Hey Jamie! What part of SHUT THE FUCK UP!!! don't you understand? Had you made your opinion as a civilian perhaps I would given you some consideration. But since you're a cop you've only earned my contempt once again... and it's getting tedious. So here's a suggestion and strongly encourage you to embrace: Stick your fascist opinions up your ass and rotate!


      Sep 7, 2013 at 9:27pm

      Only thing that bicycle helmet laws do is make sure no one will ride their bicycle. Not the best route to take if you want a greener BC.