Man with terminal cancer fighting traffic ticket over amber light timing
Aisaican-Chase testified he was travelling exactly 80 km/h in an 80 km/h zone when the lights at the intersection of Bishop Grandin Boulevard and River Road turned amber. (Josh Crabb/CTV Winnipeg)
Published Wednesday, April 26, 2017 1:53PM CST
Last Updated Wednesday, April 26, 2017 6:20PM CST
A Winnipeg man fighting a red light ticket testified in traffic court that he couldn't have safely stopped in time because the amber light at the intersection where he got the ticket was too short.
James Aisaican-Chase, 71, pleaded not guilty after he got a ticket for running a red light in October 2015 at an intersection with a camera.
On Wednesday, court heard the Crown offered to drop the charge for compassionate reasons after Aisaican-Chase was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, but Aisaican-Chase wanted to proceed with the case despite his health status.
"I'm fighting this ticket the way I'm fighting the cancer,” Aisaican-Chase told reporters after his testimony. “I intend to fight the cancer until I'm 100-years-old. If it doesn't work out that way, it's all in god's hands."
The trial isn't scheduled to start until September, but Aisaican-Chase was allowed to give advanced testimony due to his medical condition.
He said he was on his way to a doctor's appointment the day he got the red light ticket.
Aisaican-Chase testified he was travelling exactly 80 km/h in an 80 km/h zone when the lights at the intersection of Bishop Grandin Boulevard and River Road turned amber.
Aisaican-Chase told court he maintained his speed and proceeded to drive through intersection.
"In my mind I couldn't have stopped safely without being in that intersection," said Aisaican-Chase. "It wasn't sufficient amber to clear the intersection."
"I did not know that amber was just four seconds."
Aisaican-Chase is being represented by a lawyer from the group Wise Up Winnipeg.
The group is made up of traffic enforcement critics.
The group’s founder Todd Dube said no other city has four second amber lights.
He wants Winnipeg to change its policy.
“Every intersection should have a unique time,” said Dube. “You will not find a four second amber at that intersection scenario anywhere in the world.”
Judicial Justice of the Peace, Nettie Cuthbert-Buchanan, initially ordered a publication ban in the case.
Two lawyers, including one who represents Aisaican-Chase, told CTV News they've never heard of a publication ban for a traffic ticket court case.
Reporters from several outlets, including CTV Winnipeg, sought clarification on the specific details of the ban.
Court was reconvened Wednesday afternoon at which time Cuthbert-Buchanan explained she has no jurisdiction to order a publication ban.
CITY USES FOUR SECOND AMBERS TO PROVIDE PREDICTABILITY FOR DRIVERS
A spokesperson for the city said four seconds is used as a standard amber light duration in Winnipeg and across the province for all signalized intersections.
"The city uses a standardized duration time for amber lights because it provides predictability for motorists when they are making a decision about travelling across an intersection," the spokesperson said.
In the event someone runs a red light, the city also includes what is called an "all-red phase" where one to three seconds is added when every display is red.
This is done in case someone runs the red light, the spokesperson said.
Other cities use similar values or calculate values for each intersection using a standard equation which may result in amber times varying in duration.