Thursday, August 16, 2007

No Appeal Court Victory Lane for Street Racer

Drag-racing Edmontonian hits red light in his race for an appeal

When The Fast and the Furious was released in 2001, it had an immediate affect on pop culture.

One of them was to convince lead-foot-wannabes that a Honda Civic is actually a really cool car (it isn't). Another was the popularization of street racing.

Street racing has begun to take a toll on our city streets, claiming lives across Canada, as street racers fan out in search of their thrill of choice.

Fortunately, a line has recently been drawn in the sand, as the Supreme Court of Canada has declined to hear the appeal of Edmonton's Rick Richardson, who was convicted of dangerous driving causing death when his Corvette mowed down Irene Nicholson (she was on the sidewalk when she was hit).

Witnesses report that Richardson pulled his Corvette up beside another Corvette at a traffic light, then raced him from the green light. He lost control of his car during the acceleration and wiped out Nicholson, who was a mere two blocks from her home.

Richardson has insisted that the computer chip that governs his car's traction management system malfunctioned.

Of course, those of us with any sense in our heads know different: it was Richardson's brain that malfunctioned.

Regardless of whatever malfunctions may have occurred in Richardson's car (and he would have to prove this), his car didn't choose the rate of acceleration for him -- he did. Richardson's car didn't choose to race -- he did.

Richardson's appeal simply would have been a waste of time.

Cases such as this, however, merely underscore the need to legislate against street racing so that it can be dealt with directly in criminal courts, not merely as cases tried under other statutes. All of Canada's provinces would do well to emulate the Dalton McGuinty Ontario government's approach. A $10,000 fine will probably smarten up most of the 2 Fast 2 Furious crowd.

And smartening is something they could definitely use.

The federal government also attempted to address street racing would impose stronger punishments on convicted street racers.Yet, according to the Library of Parliament Bill C-65 hasn't yet passed its third reading, despite having been before parliament for a year.

The courts have made an uncharacteristic stand in this particular case, and it's time for the federal government to do the same, stop dragging its feed on bill C-65, and get the job done.

As far as movies concerned, Universal Studios would be doing the public a tremendous favour by simply letting this film series die a merciful death. It wouldn't only be striking a blow against the popularity of street racing, it would also be striking a blow against lousy movies.

Besides: Paul Walker's career is over anyway.

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