Letters to the Editor

Risks in dealing with panhandlers on medians

Editor: You are stopped in the left-turn lane, waiting for the light to turn green at the intersection ahead. A street person holding a cardboard sign is walking on the raised median beside your vehicle. He is trying to make eye contact, hoping you will give him a few dollars.

Do you ignore him and look away? Or do you take pity, roll down your window, give him some coins, and feel good inside that you’ve helped a person less fortunate than yourself?

Those who gave money to a left-turn lane panhandler have provided the financial incentive for them to be on the raised median in the middle of a roadway, creating a distraction that may cause a vehicle accident. Panhandlers are at risk of falling into the path of oncoming vehicles travelling at 60 km/h in the lane on the other side of the narrow median.

B.C. Motor Vehicle Act s. 182 makes it an offence for pedestrians to be on a roadway if there is a sidewalk on at least one side of the roadway, or to solicit money from occupants of a vehicle. The fine for such an offence is $109, which is significantly less than the $167 fine for distracted driving.

Have you wondered why the police have done little if anything to deter these left-turn-lane panhandlers? Perhaps it is because they may be agile and difficult to apprehend. Perhaps it is because they may be transients and unlikely to pay a fine. Perhaps the police are waiting for a serious accident to occur so there is justification for enforcing the law on the panhandlers who receive significant tax-free donations from well-intentioned motorists.

David J. Purser,

Surrey

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

You might like ...

Visit to Fort Langley cemetery is a Langley history lesson
 
Election 2014: Grant Ward seeking fifth term on Langley Township council
 
Surrey enforcer killed on the weekend
Mayoralty candidate: Raymond Cauchi
 
Richmond could learn from ALR consultation
 
Destroy the trees, kill the root hairs
Gov. Gen. to visit Poland, Holland, Belgium
 
Attacks on women prompt warning from Surrey RCMP
 
Four arrested in Langley City home invasion

Community Events, October 2014

Add an Event

Read the latest eEdition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Oct 16 edition online now. Browse the archives.