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Residents call on Saanich to do more enforcement, take immediate action on road safety

Collision between cyclist and truck on Cedar Hill Road further galvanizes community
Following another incident at Cedar Hill Cross Road and Merriman Drive, which left a cyclist injured, Saanich residents and road safety advocates are once again expressing concerns around enforcement and road safety. (Google Street View)

No charges have been laid as a result of a vehicle-cyclist collision Feb. 8 on Cedar Hill Cross Road that left the rider with a broken ankle and advocates calling for greater prioritization of road safety and traffic enforcement in Saanich.

Saanich police Const. Markus Anastasiades said an initial investigation conducted by the department’s traffic safety unit, following the collision between a white pickup truck and cyclist Paul O’Callaghan, did not find evidence to support laying charges or issuing a ticket. While police always look for evidence at crash scenes, he added, a high percentage of incidents attended do not result in charges.

“That being said, there will be further follow-up by the investigator on this incident because at this point, the information we have is from an independent witness,” Anastasiades said, adding that police expect to gather further reports from both the driver and O’Callaghan.

The incident has further galvanized community members, who continue to call on the District of Saanich and the police to prioritize road safety and enforcement.

The collision occurred at the same intersection where Saanich teen, Kaydence Bourque, was killed in December 2021, just steps from his home.

Anastasiades said Saanich police are committed to listening to the community and have heard the calls to prioritize road safety through enforcement and other tangible measures.

ALSO READ: Mother of teen killed at Saanich intersection consoles cyclist hit at same spot

Mayor Fred Haynes told Black Press Media the district is looking into a speed reduction pilot project to address issues impacting vulnerable road users.

“In terms of traffic calming, the most recent incidents on Cedar Hill Cross Road have brought this to our highest priority,” he said. “We are waiting on the results of these investigations so we can better understand what happened, how it happened and what the best solutions are.”

Grassroots organization Safer Saanich, which consists of road safety advocates and other concerned citizens, planned a rally for noon Saturday (Feb. 12) on the north lot at Braefoot Park, calling for greater traffic enforcement and immediate action by the district to better protect vulnerable road users.

Spokesperson Basil Langevin said knowledge about how to fix things is available, yet nothing actionable is happening.

“The district should take immediate actions after an injury or a death – it doesn’t have to be expensive, it can be a bucket of paint, a sign, or plastic billiards for traffic calming,” he said, adding it is time to take an approach similar to countries like Netherlands, which have prioritized vulnerable road users.

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