It’s strange enough to imagine a little old lady skulking around the B.C. wilderness setting traps on bike trails, and almost stranger still that there’s a specific law against it.
North Vancouver police had to dust off a little-used section of the Criminal Code Wednesday after cyclists help snare a 64-year-old woman laying traps on trails.
Section 247 of the code covers the specific offence of using “traps likely to cause bodily harm” and lays out maximum jail terms from five years to life, depending on where the offence was committed and the injuries resulting from the trap.
Starting in August, bikers on Mt. Fromme trails noticed logs, rocks, and other obstructions that seemed to have been intentionally placed along the Quarry and Lower Skull trails.
Two cyclists eventually placed hidden cameras along the trails and caught a 64-year-old woman laying traps. Police asked the Crown Prosecutor to lay criminal charges of mischief to property and setting traps.
"These are serious charges,” North Vancouver RCMP Cpl Richard De Jong said in a statement. “These are public trails and one should not interfere with the lawful enjoyment of the trails and set up traps or obstacles to potentially endanger the lives of people using them.”
Another unusual trap case was back in the news this past September when an Alberta Court of Appeal ruled an Edmonton nurse hadn’t served enough time for a bizarre 2012 assault.
Luisa Amelia Hernandez set a trap for her husband when she spread cooking oil on the home of the Edmonton home they shared and left several uncapped syringes on the floor. When he avoided it, she stabbed him in the neck with a syringe. She was sentenced to six months, but judges ruled she should serve another 12.
Trail traps have become an all-too-common threat in B.C. in recent years. In some areas, hikers, cyclists, all-terrain-vehicle riders, and others are competing for the same space and competition gets ugly.
In October 2014, Nanaimo police issued a warning after a hiker spotted a neck-level rope strung across a trail commonly used by cyclists and ATV riders. In June 2013, a Saanich cyclist hit a piece of steel cable hanging over a trail and sustained a large gash in his neck. Two months later, a Victoria cyclist suffered a broken jaw and almost severed his spine after hitting electrical tape strung across a roadway.