That Law’s Not For Me


It snowed last night. The first accumulation of snow, not just a few scattered flakes, but not a storm either. Just a nice, if sloppy, welcome back to winter. The temperature has now gone up above freezing, and it is very slushy. But in the wee hours of the morning the snow fell and stayed, calling for winter driving skills.

Here in the Canadian province of Quebec there is a law that stipulates we must have winter tires (not all season tires as they only apply if you live somewhere with only three seasons: Spring, Summer and Autumn) on our cars from December first to March 15th. At first the deadline was in November, but with global warming our winters now start later. Therefore the date was moved to December 15th. Oops, maybe a little too late, make it the first. By passing this law several years ago the government recognized the importance of proper winter tires.

A snowfall in November or April is no less problematic than one in January. God forbid, but a snowstorm in July would pose the same driving hazards as one in February

But the law needs to be amended and a proviso included stating that when winter conditions exist outside of the mandatory period, driving without winter tires will be deemed illegal. A snowfall in November or April is no less problematic than one in January. God forbid, but a snowstorm in July would pose the same driving hazards as one in February.

However, it doesn’t work that way. Thousands of motorists who still have non-winter tires on their cars ventured out this morning in winter conditions. Why? Because they had to be somewhere. Regardless of the danger they posed not only for themselves but others, their mantra – But I need to be there – sufficed as logic.

It never ceases to maze me how many folks don’t understand that rules, regulations, and laws apply to everyone. Many years ago the municipality in which I live instituted a stoop-and-scoop bylaw for dog owners. I imagine this sort of thing is now universally accepted in urban areas, but then it was certainly novel (taking a highly biodegradable substance and wrapping it in plastic seemed to defeat the purpose). An older man on my street refused to abide by the new regulation. When questioned by a busybody neighbour (not myself) after neglecting to stoop or scoop, if he was aware of the new bylaw, he simply replied ‘That law isn’t for me’, and walked off.

I think he absolutely believed what he said. That’s the astounding part.

Her response: ‘But I have to go there’! It didn’t matter what the law said, nor the fact she was tying-up traffic.

Similarly, a very busy supermarket near me has an adjacent free parking lot for clients. If you approach the entrance from the south, it is a simple right-hand turn, checking for pedestrians on the sidewalk and you’re in. Coming from the north however requires one to turn left and cross a double solid line (to say nothing of jumping the line that may have formed from the south)!

One day a woman was attempting to make this scofflaw manoeuvre, she was waiting for an opportunity to nip across the double lines which was causing a back-up of cars behind her. A parking agent who happened to be passing by was considerate enough to tell the woman she was breaking the law. Her response: ‘But I have to go there‘! It didn’t matter what the law said, nor the fact she was tying-up traffic. All irrelevant to her. She had to go there, that’s all that mattered.

I often think these people were forerunners to today’s anti mask, antivaxxers. Except the potential damage of today’s miscreants may well be more consequential than a mere ticket.

Published by DCMontreal

DCMontreal - Deegan Charles Stubbs - is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

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