B.C. pilot study to allow electric kick scooters to operate legally in six cities

VANCOUVER _ A newly approved pilot project will allow electric kick scooters to legally cruise the streets and bike paths of six British Columbia municipalities.

The Ministry of Transportation says in a statement the pilot project gives the province and the selected local governments a chance to assess the safety of electronic personal transportation.

The B.C. Motor Vehicle Act doesn’t allow transportation such as electric scooters on roads or sidewalks, but a 2019 amendment permits communities to work with the province on pilot projects.

The six participating municipalities where e-scooters will soon be legal are Kelowna, Vernon, Vancouver, West Vancouver and North Vancouver city and district.

Once those governments pass bylaws saying where the devices can be used, e-scooters will be treated like e-bikes, where a driver’s licence or insurance won’t be needed but riders must be at least 16, wear a helmet and follow the rules of the road.

Dates for the passage of local bylaws haven’t been set, but Mayor Kennedy Stewart says Vancouver aims to begin a trial of privately owned devices like e-scooters later this year.

Victims lose $2M in cryptocurrency frauds, Vancouver police warn scams more frequent

VANCOUVER _ Police say cryptocurrency scams cost victims in the Vancouver-area about $2 million in just one week and investigators believe the frauds are becoming more common.

Vancouver police Const. Tania Visintin says she knows of at least four active cases where large amounts of money have been lost.

She says a single victim was defrauded of more than $500,000 in a separate case last year when suspects pretending to be Service Canada representatives convinced them their Social Insurance Number had been compromised.

Visintin says police believe the number of scams is growing and the total is under-reported, perhaps because victims feel shame or are afraid to ask for help.

Police say victims are typically lured in with promises that they will be a part of an opportunity to make money or convinced they will be doing a friend or a romantic interest a favour by purchasing cryptocurrency for them.

Because cryptocurrency frauds increasingly involve investment or romance scams, Visintin says family members should share details with their relatives to ensure everyone is informed.

“Another unfortunate trend we are noticing is that victims tend to be of East Asian descent,” Visintin told a news conference Friday.

There’s no hard evidence about why members of the community are being targeted, Visintin said. Not all victims are from that community, but she said language barriers or fear of authorities may play a part.

Cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency, like Bitcoin, that is essentially an online version of cash.

Frauds using cryptocurrency are challenging to investigate, said Visintin, because suspects are often based outside Canada and mask their identity through sophisticated, protected online connections, making it difficult to locate and identify them.

 

B.C. auto insurance rebate cheques delayed after ‘criminal’ cyberattack

VICTORIA _ The minister responsible for British Columbia’s public auto insurance agency says a  “criminal” cyberattack will delay COVID-19 rebate cheques that were supposed to be in the mail this week.

Mike Farnworth says the Insurance Corporation of B.C. discovered last weekend the private Ontario company it hired to print and distribute the rebate cheques was the victim of a cybersecurity breach.

He says no personal customer information other than names and addresses was obtained in the breach.

Farnworth said last month the rebates to policyholders will range from $25 to $400 after ICBC saved about $600 million last year due to low accident claims during the pandemic.

The Insurance corporation says in a statement that the cyberattack did not affect its own systems, which are secure.

The corporation says it has contacted B.C.’s Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner about the breach.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 18, 2021.

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New Year, New You. Earn your Level 2 License

New Year, New You. Earn your Level 2 License

To obtain your Level 2 license you must pass the CAIB 2 and the CAIB 3 exams. (BC, SK, MB)

Alberta requires CAIB 1, CAIB 2 and CAIB 3 completion to earn your level 2 license.

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British Columbia Level 2 General Insurance Agent License

A level 2 general insurance agent is not restricted to where he or she can work and is not prohibited from signing contracts of insurance. Although insurance industry experience is not required, an applicant must be an authorized representative of a licensed general insurance agency and have met the educational requirements.

Saskatchewan Level 2 General Insurance Agent License

A Level 2 licensee shall not manage an agency.

Manitoba Level 2 General Insurance Agent License

A level 2 general insurance agent is authorized, to sell the insurance policies authorized under section 3, both inside and outside of the office of a general insurance agency, but is not authorized to manage the office of a general insurance agency

Drinking and Driving Zero Tolerance

Keys and DrinkI wrote this article back in 2004. Since then the B.C. government has enacted the Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP) program, reducing the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) threshold for sanctions from 80 mg% to 50 mg%. In addition, the federal government implemented mandatory alcohol screening for any driver in December 2018.

The IRP is much easier for police to administer and I suspect that caused a significant drop in the number of criminal code impaired driving charges.

There have been 7,405 IRPs issued in B.C. between January and July, 2020 and ICBC reports that impaired driving is a factor in between 20 and 25% of collisions.

In 2004 I observed that using alcohol helps drivers make poor decisions. Of course, the decision of importance to us all is “do I drive, or have I had too much?” This is a decision that should be simple, if you drink don’t drive, and the law should reinforce that.

The Graduated Licensing Program (GLP) for new drivers requires exactly that, a zero BAC. If you drive after consuming any alcohol, you will be prohibited from driving for 12 hours if caught. Should your BAC be over 50 mg% you will be treated like all other drivers and once this information reaches the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles, GLP drivers can expect to receive another prohibition.

It is past time to extend the GLP rules to all drivers. This will help eliminate the possibility of a bad decision because it would now be “I had a drink, I can’t drive” instead of “do I drive, or have I had too much?”

Perhaps there should be a traffic ticket, complete with penalty points, for driving with a measurable BAC before the 50 mg% threshold is reached. Currently a non-GLP driver faces no sanction at all until their BAC reaches 50 mg%.

Is a driver traveling at 20 km/h over the speed limit a greater risk than a driver with a BAC of 40 mg%? The University of Michigan Health suggests that having a 20 mg% BAC will result in a decline in visual function, the inability to perform two tasks at the same time, a loss of judgment and altered mood.

The speeder gets a ticket and the 40 mg% driver goes free today unless their impairment causes them to violate a driving rule. In that case, they would be ticketed for the rule violation.

Ignition interlock devices could be mandatory equipment for new vehicles and some countries are currently considering requiring auto makers to do this. An Australian cost-benefit analysis found the following:

Overall, it was concluded that due to the investigated interlock’s user friendliness and relative affordability in comparison to other interlocks, the device should be considered as a countermeasure for curbing the drink driving problem in Australia.

If you are concerned about impaired driving, please support your local anti drinking and driving public interest group such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Together we can make a difference!

Cst. Tim Schewe (Ret.) runs DriveSmartBC, a community web site about traffic safety in British Columbia. For 25 years he was an officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, including five years on general duty, 20 in traffic and 10 as a collision analyst responsible for conducting technical investigations of collisions. He retired from policing in 2006 but continues to be active in traffic safety through the DriveSmartBC web site, teaching seminars and contributing content to newspapers and web sites.

#DriveSmartBC

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