Helicopters help police keep a lid on long-weekend activity

The happy face stunt outside a Falkland pub had a sad ending for the driver

The happy face stunt outside a Falkland pub had a sad ending for the driver.

An unidentified motorcyclist decided to draw a happy face off Highway 97 in Falkland with his motorcycle after Sunday’s annual Stampede parade by burning a little rubber.

What the motorcyclist did not realize was that a motorcycle police officer was watching the stunt being conducted in the pub parking lot.

“The driver finished doing a circle and came face-to-face with our officer,” said RCMP spokesperson Gord Molendyk.

The motorcyclist provided a breath sample and blew under the legal limit. He was ticketed under the Motor Vehicle Act for stunting.

Local officers used two wheels and a police helicopter to help keep North Okanagan highways safe on the long weekend.

On Monday afternoon, members of North Okanagan Traffic Services and the Integrated Road Safety Unit were aided by a police helicopter while conducting a road safety operation on Highway 97 south near Crystal Waters Road.

On one occasion, the eye in the sky observed two motorcycles pass on a double solid line.

“The pilot kept the vehicles in sight, and speed readings on the two bikes were obtained from officers working the road check,” said Molendyk. “The two bikes were flagged over at the laser operation.”

The helicopter also gave heads up to the members at the stop of fast vehicles coming into the laser operator.

The helicopter was so effective as it was observed by the motoring public that officers noticed that drivers slowed down to the speed limit. More than 30 contacts were written during the two-hour period.

“The helicopter is used up here very little but it definitely gets used a lot in the Lower Mainland,” said Molendyk. “It’s a costly venture to bring it up here.”

A couple of other traffic incidents of note from the weekend included one person given a ticket for excessive speeding after a southbound vehicle was clocked going 99 km/h in the 50 km/h zone on Hospital Hill by the crosswalk.

The driver’s vehicle was impounded for seven days.

RCMP officers also called for an ambulance in Falkland after a cyclist who was conducting repairs to his bike on the side of the road managed to slice off the tip of a finger.

For the long weekend, police issued 123 speeding tickets, one 90-day and one three-day Immediate Roadside Prohibition.

One person was ticketed for excessive speed and one driver was caught behind the wheel while prohibited.

Another 19 persons were issued citations for not wearing seatbelts and four drivers were caught using their cell phones behind the wheel.

Two vehicles had no insurance and nine other tickets were written.

Police also gave out 50 warnings.