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Saanich police seize motorcycle used in video by speeder

Apr 20 2012
Saanich Police Sgt. Dean Jantzen with the blue Yamaha motorcycle seen in a Youtube video travelling almost 300 kilometres per hour down the Trans Canada Highway 

Saanich Police Sgt. Dean Jantzen with the blue Yamaha motorcycle seen in a Youtube video travelling almost 300 kilometres per hour down the Trans Canada Highway

Photograph by: Darren Stone , timescolonist.com (April 19, 2012)

Saanich police have seized the blue Yamaha motorcycle seen reaching 299 km/h in a viral YouTube video, and they’ve levied down more than $1,400 in fines for the bike’s owner but have yet to charge the driver.

The shiny blue 2006 Yamaha R1 sport bike was on display at Saanich police headquarters Thursday morning. Spokesman Sgt. Dean Jantzen explained that police seized the bike from a home in the 800-block of Craigflower Road last week.

Police believe the registered owner is the mother of the 25-year-old rider. Under the Motor Vehicle Act, police are able to serve tickets to the registered owner even if she was not driving the bike.

On Wednesday, the mother was issued tickets totalling $1,449. The breakdown was a $368 ticket for driving without due care and attention, a $483 ticket for excessive speed and a $598 ticket for no insurance.

“The Motor Vehicle Act has sections in it that require the owner to be responsible for the conduct of the vehicle and to be responsible for the person who operates the vehicle,” Jantzen said.

Police are unsure if the mother has a motorcycle licence or whether she owns other motorcycles.

The 25-year-old suspected motorcyclist has no valid driver’s licence and no insurance as a result of 27 driving-related convictions including speeding and driving without insurance, Jantzen said. He has had his licence suspended five times.

The driver also only had a learner’s motorcycle licence, which was also suspended.

Saanich police are looking to lay criminal charges of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle against the motorcyclist.

“Unfortunately at this point we are unable to meet the burden [of proof] to proceed with Criminal Code charges,” Jantzen said.

Jantzen said there has been “limited co-operation” between investigators and the registered owner and suspected rider.

The suspect was supposed to come to the station for an interview with investigators on Wednesday and he didn’t show, Jantzen said.

Police have no power to force him to give an interview because he’s not charged with an offence.

The 25-year-old lives in Greater Victoria but has ties to the Okanagan and Alberta.

Police are trying to seize the motorcycle permanently under B.C.’s Civil Forfeiture Act, which allows the province to take assets that they can prove were used in the commission of an offence.

Thanks to witnesses who saw the bike fly past them on the Trans-Canada Highway, police have been able to determine the video was filmed April 6 around 4 p.m.

Const. Will Dodd, with the department’s forensic identification section, explained police were able to prove the bike seized is the same as the bike in the video thanks to five identical paint chips on the front panel.

Police admit criminal charges will be difficult because they have to prove who is riding the bike in the video.

“We are left with a motorcycle and a set of hands,” Jantzen said.

Colleen Woodger, ICBC road safety co-ordinator, said the motorcyclist put himself and 70 other people on the road at risk by lane splitting (using the centre line to cut between cars on either side) and swerving in and out of traffic.

“Based on the actions we saw, I think we know no B.C. motorist wants this guy on the road.”

Jantzen said it’s frustrating that police can’t do anything to ensure the rider doesn’t drive recklessly in another vehicle, especially as he shows no hesitation to drive without a licence. Jantzen admitted that as long as the rider is on the road, the public is at risk.

Chris Foord, chairman of the Capital Regional District traffic safety commission, didn’t mince words in his condemnation of the driver, He said if a motorist is willing to flagrantly disobey the law in a way that is such a risk to the public, he should be behind bars.

“This driver has shown that his wrongs should be superseding his rights,” Foord said.

The video has been viewed more than 223,000 times. Many of the viewers condemned the behaviour in the comments section, saying it’s by sheer luck the motorcyclist didn’t kill himself or others on the road.

kderosa@timescolonist.com

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