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General Information

Helmet Law in Ontario

Here are the points of the ruling brought down by the Ontario Supreme Court in the Wayne Hayes helmet case. Again congratulations to Wayne and the law offices of Alan Gold.

1. The police erred in escalating a simple Highway Traffic Act charge into the Criminal charge of Obstruct Police.

2. The police in the future may demand you to surrender your helmet or take it off for inspection on the side of the road. You the rider don't have to be subjected to this kind of treatment anymore because of the Hayes case. The police can still issue you a ticket for improper helmet under the HTA , if they feel your helmet is improper , but you the rider don't have to take off your helmet on the side of the road for any kind of inspection. They cannot seize or impound your helmet. If they have reason to suspect that the helmet is not compliant, they the police have two options; issue a ticket for improper helmet or they can issue you a written notice of compliance under sec.82(1) to bring in your helmet for an inspection on the date specified on the written notice.

We trust this information will be passed along to your members, and others in our community that may be affected by this ruling.

R. v. Hayes :129 of the Criminal Code - obstructing police officer - motorcyclist refusing to surrender his helmet to police officer for examination at roadside as required by s. 82(1) of the Highway Traffic Act - accused liable to conviction under s. 82(4) of the HTA, but s. 82(3) requiring that accused first be given written notice given of obligation to submit to examination - police not attempting to give written notice, but instead charging appellant under the Criminal Code with obstructing police - a refusal to submit the helmet for examination cannot, in these circumstances, amount to an attempt to obstruct the police - semble, where a statute creates a duty to co-operate with the police and provides a penalty for failure to do so, the failure cannot be elevated into a criminal offense - "If the appellant had interfered with the officer's attempt to issue written notice for a vehicle inspection, the offense of obstruct police could have been made out. However, since the officer did not attempt to enforce his power to inspect the helmet under s. 82(3) by issuing the written notice he was not entitled to invoke the far more serious offense of obstruct police....". R. v. Hayes (2003), 177 C.C.C. (3d) 543, 65 O.R. (3d) 787 (Ont. C.A.)