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Ten traffic bylaws you've never heard of

October 24, 2013 - 9:27 AM

VERNON - In his career as a bylaw officer, Vernon’s Clint Kanester has seen and heard some crazy things, but he says the day to day is like a broken record.

“I knew a (bylaw officer) who told people if they could tell him a story he hadn’t heard, he wouldn’t give them the ticket,” Kanester says.

The most common stories he hears for parking violations are I didn’t have any change or The hair salon took too long or maybe The line up at the bank was longer than I thought.

“Some people fake that their car broke down, some will put a fake or an old ticket on their windshield,” Kanester says. “Some people will drive around until they find a car of the same general description and put the ticket on that car. If the time’s expired when the owners get back, often they’ll just pay it.”

Excuses aren’t just limited to parking, either. People debate all kinds of traffic violations. Kanester believes the best prevention is education. 

“Usually if they know the reasoning behind the bylaw, they understand,” Kanester says.

Just for fun, we’ve brought you a top ten list of the City of Vernon’s parking and traffic violations that you might not have heard of. They range from restrictions on sleighs, to flower stands, to taping posters on telephone poles. Created in 1979, Kanester admits they’re in need of an update.

1. Tacking up a garage sale sign could bring you some unwanted visitors

It shall be unlawful for any person, unless with permission by resolution of the Council, to post any bill or placard on any tree, electric light pole, telephone pole, hydrant or street sign in or upon any highway, or otherwise mark or deface any such tree, electric light pole, telephone pole, hydrant or street sign.

If you want to advertise a garage sale, better stick to Kijiji. Posting signs of any kind on light poles, telephone poles, trees or other government property could theoretically land you a fine if you don’t have permission from city hall. The bylaw includes anything from concert posters to yoga schedules.

2. Don’t tie Barkley to a tree while you pop into the store

It shall be unlawful for any person to tie or fasten, or cause to be tied or fastened any animal to any tree, in or upon any highway, or to any protective box, guard, or supporting post, placed beside or about any such tree for the support and protection of such tree.

You see it all the time: a jogger ties their furry companion to a tree while they run in to buy some gatorade, or it’s too hot to leave Barkley in the car while you do your shopping. While pet owners might think they’re doing the right thing, technically, they’re breaking the law. Kanester admits it’s a rarely enforced bylaw, but says it’s helpful in certain scenarios. Maybe there’s an issue of animal cruelty, or maybe a pesky pooch is preventing people from entering a business. In these cases, it’s back to the rule book.

3. Keep your sleigh to the backcountry

No person shall use roller skates, skateboards, sleighs, skates or other means of conveyance on any roadway.

Sorry Santa, you’ll need a permit for that. Anything other than cars, bikes and scooters are banned from roadways. Icy roads may seem better suited for skates than tires in the wintertime, but you’ll have to stick to the rink lest your pirouettes disturb traffic.

4. The open road is not your own personal mechanics shop, or dealership

No person shall park or leave standing any vehicle on any street for the principal purpose of advertising, washing, greasing, repairing, wrecking or storing such vehicle (except repairs necessitated by an emergency)

And you thought you were so clever changing your oil down the road instead of sullying your own driveway. Busted. In the city’s eyes, your mess is your responsibility. And if you want to sell that car after it’s had a tune up, don’t even think about it. Parking it with a for sale sign on any street—even in areas where parking is not governed by metres—is considered unsightly and hazardous. What if someone causes an accident while squinting at the phone number on the ad?

5. Setting up shop on the highway is no-no

No person shall stop, stand or park a vehicle upon any highway for the principal purpose of selling flowers, fruit, vegetables, sea foods, or other commodities or articles.

What are you trying to do, teach your kids to be criminals with that daffodil stand? Better close up shop before you get ticketed. Kanester says food, flower and merchandise stalls that don’t have sufficient parking can cause accidents. You’ve got people pulling in, pulling out, stopping to smell the flowers and all of a sudden, things can turn sour.

6. Cruise quietly and leave your steam organ at home

No person shall operate upon a vehicle any calliope, loudspeaker or other noise-making device upon the streets of the City for advertising or other purposes, unless a permit has been applied for and granted on authority of the Council.

There aren’t many calliopes kicking around anymore, but they’d be run off the streets today if there were. The steam or compressed air organs, along with other noise-making devices like loudspeakers are banned from city streets. Some exceptions apply to ice cream trucks.

7. Watch out for falling china

No person shall throw, drop, deposit or leave or let fall from or out of any vehicle or conveyance, any bottles, bottle, glass, crockery, nails, tacks, woods, sawdust, or refuse or any object or materials whatever, on or upon any street, highway or lane within the City.

Keep your hands—and your crockery—inside the vehicle at all times. As if watching your grandma’s china slip out the window isn’t punishment enough, you could also receive a fine for the offense. Be especially cautious on bumpy roads.

8. Cyclists, no fancy riding, please

No rider of a bicycle shall remove both hands from the handle bars or feet from the pedals, or practice any acrobatic or fancy riding on any street.

And further:

No person shall ride a bicycle upon a street while wearing headphones, or any other manufactured device capable of transmitting sound, over or in close proximity to both ears.

You love to work out to Rihanna, but you’ll have to save it for the gym (or, limit your listening to one ear). While you’re at it, keep both palms on the handle bars and refrain from any “fancy riding”—taking your feet off the pedals or performing any acrobatic stunts.

9. Repeat metering prohibited

Upon the expiration of the time provided by proper deposit of a coin as hereinbefore provided, no person shall thereupon make a further deposit, or cause to be further deposited in a parking meter, any coin for the purpose of obtaining an extension of the parking time...

You’ve got a prime parking spot, but you can’t simply refill the meter all day long. Buying the spot doesn’t necessarily entitle you to use it. After two hours, you’re required to move along, even if it’s just to the spot in front of you.

10. Keep your distance from fire trucks

No person driving or operating any vehicle, except such vehicles as are conveying authorized persons who may have duties to perform in connection with a fire, shall follow closer than within 150 metres of any vehicle of the City Fire Department traveling in response to any fire alarm.

Leave lots of room—150 metres to be exact—between yourself and fire trucks. That’s about one and a half times the length of a soccer field, so you’d better hit the brakes.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at, call (250)309-5230 or tweet @charhelston. 

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013
InfoTel News Ltd

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