Photo radar warning lands Edmonton man $500 fine

An Edmonton man fined $500 for warning drivers of upcoming photo radar plans to fight the ticket in court.

'We will fight this,' says Jack Schultz, fined for pedestrian stunting

For the last two weeks, Jack Schultz has been using a hand-made sign to warn drivers of any upcoming photo radar vans. (Jack Schultz/Facebook )

An Edmonton man fined $500 for warning drivers of upcoming photo radar plans to fight the ticket in court.

Jack Shultz has long been part of an Edmonton Facebook group dedicated to tracking the city's roving photo radar vans. Last week, he decided to take the campaign from online message boards to the streets.

He drew up a cardboard sign, reading "Radar Ahead" and began standing on the side of the road, near to where photo radar vans were parked.

"I wanted to prove a point that this is not a safety factor, it's just a money grab," said Schultz. "Whether there are photo radar trucks there or not, people fly by and slam on their brakes, and accidents happen, so I decided to prove a point."

Last Thursday, Schultz was waving his sign when he got a verbal warning from police.  

Schultz says he was told by an officer that as long as he stayed at least 100 metres away from the photo radar van, and didn't block the camera, he wouldn't be breaking the law.

But on Friday, when Schultz returned to the corner of 170th street his cardboard sign was confiscated by police. He was fined $543 for pedestrian stunting.

"They never clarified that with me, I never even knew this existed. I thought stunting was something you had to be doing in your car," said Schultz. "When I'm holding the sign, I don't see drivers slamming on the brakes, they're just slowing down to reasonable speed… and I don't do it right beside the photo radar van, I'm a good 100 metres prior to the van." 

'Rare and unique case'

Holding a roadside sign is not illegal, and speed trap locations are shared publicly through the city bylaw website.  But Edmonton police say they considered the "totality of the circumstances" before issuing the fine.

Police spokesperson Steve Sharpe said Schultz was creating a distraction for passing motorists. And, upon further examination, his sign had a vulgar word written on the back, Sharpe said.

"Given some of the contents of the sign, and some of the behaviour of the individual, it was decided that a ticket was issued. When it comes to the Traffic Act, there is some discretion," said Sharpe. "This was a rare and unique case."

Although Schultz acknowledges that there was profanity written on the back of his sign, he claims that it was hidden from public view, and never would have been seen by passing drivers.

The cost of Schultz's ticket has already been covered by an online fundraising campaign, but he plans on contesting the citation anyway.

"I've got a lawyer and we will fight this. And we will walk out of that courtroom successful. I didn't do anything wrong."

In the meantime, Schultz said his encounter with police has left him undeterred, and he continues to hit the streets with his handmade billboard.

"It's just gone crazy with the amount of support I'm getting. I'm obviously getting negative feedback as well. But with so much positive support, I think I'm doing something right here."