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EDITORIAL – Excess idling, Chapter Two – a tough way to learn the lesson

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An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

EACH WEEK, LOCAL RCMP send out a news release with some short notes about things police encountered the previous weekend. Yesterday brought another one of those roundups, which included three items.

One involved a stolen truck and several charges being laid against the man who is allegedly responsible for stealing it. Pretty routine stuff.

Next was a mental health call in which an officer was injured when a person being searched for weapons became combative and bit the arresting officer. This resulted in an arrest and short detention.

Nothing overly remarkable about that one either, but it does show once again the sensitivity of mental health checks and how easily things can go sideways. Fortunately, this one didn’t result in a life-threatening situation for either the officer or the citizen involved but it might have.

The third item caught my attention, as it comes a couple of weeks after I wrote about an incident in which a resident was insulted by a driver for bringing to his attention that excess idling is not allowed in Kamloops.

Yesterday’s police report involved an idling incident with a twist. Sunday evening, the owner of a truck left it idling to warm up but, when he emerged from his house, the truck was gone. The driver got into another vehicle and followed his stolen truck, notifying police, who quickly made an arrest.

When I wrote earlier about the City’s three-minute idling bylaw, I suggested that if we called the cops or bylaws officers more often with respect to vehicle infractions of various kinds, the message might get through to the miscreants.

That was, perhaps, a little over zealous on my part. Fact is, if we did call police or bylaws about idling, as a prime example, it’s unlikely anything much would happen. Our enforcement officers are busy with more pressing issues and, if they were able to respond, the guilty party would have long departed the scene.

The idling bylaw has always been one of those rules that’s almost impossible to enforce. That fact caused some City councillors to vote against it when it was approved. If you can’t enforce it, there’s no point, they said.

Those in favour of it, however, said it would at least put into writing something that’s worth achieving, and would, in effect, be a message to the public about the importance of reducing greenhouse gases.

The idling bylaw is worthwhile even if a swarm of peace officers doesn’t typically appear if a vehicle is left running. Self-enforcement is the answer to making it effective. It’s up to us, the public, to make it work, both by remembering not to do it ourselves, and gently reminding others when they do it, though we might risk a rebuke from an embarrassed driver.

And maybe the guy who watched his truck drive away with a stranger behind the wheel has received the message, too.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at mrothenburger@armchairmayor.ca.

About Mel Rothenburger (8125 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

3 Comments on EDITORIAL – Excess idling, Chapter Two – a tough way to learn the lesson

  1. Jennie Stadnichuk // February 13, 2021 at 10:26 PM // Reply

    Great article! I especially like the idling truck being driven away by a thief! I don’t know if this would be enforce-able but it’s a thought: When you see an idling vehicle and you’ve noted it’s for more than 3 minutes, grab your Cell Phone and take a picture that includes the rear licence plate along with the exhaust coming out of the exhaust pipe. Perhaps you’d need to take a video showing start of 3 minutes etc.? But if the driver’s in the vehicle while this is being done, you might get noticed and yelled at. I consider 3 minutes quite excessive – my 2008 KIA starts in a flash – even in the frigid weather of this past week. We have been told by mechanical experts that the best engine “warm up” is to drive it — Not to sit there idling it!!

  2. I have several neighbours who idle year round but it becomes worse in the winter. They don’t even check the days weather and just remote start repeatability leaving the vehicles to idle most of the time for 45 mins. I have asked them not to many times but their is nothing i can do about it as like you say BL Laws is not interested and last time I called them for something my neighbour was pissed for a very long time and constantly aggressive. Bl Laws did say they would check it out but the person needs to leave at the same time in order for them to come and witness it and catch them in action but my neighbour leaves at various times in the morning.

  3. The police may have more pressing issues to attend but the Bylaws department could easily enforce the anti-idling bylaw. In the downtown for example as they are out and about for their gingerly parking patrols or around schools. But I agree ultimately it should be the people coming to realize their multiple careless, inconsiderate actions and activities albeit small condense into the many plights facing all of us.

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