What a revelation!
Geniuses are now coming forward in droves, urging for speed limits to be reduced on highways around B.C. – or at the very least during the wintertime when driving conditions are sketchy at best.
Glory, glory, hallelujah, people are starting to see the light!
It’s been a nightmare on B.C. roads this winter, particularly on the Coquihalla with numerous serious crashes. It’s a wonder no one was killed during a recent pile-up involving six vehicles, including two buses, that injured nearly 30 people.
It’s not just there that’s a mess, though. The Island has also seen some major accidents, shutting down the Trans-Canada Highway.
Speed is obviously a huge contributing factor, along with good old driver error and lack of paying attention. For some reason, people seem to place a lot of trust in their vehicles that they’re not going to spin out or crash while travelling on roads covered or partly covered with snow and ice.
There should not be a roadway anywhere in the province with a120-kilometre speed limit. Remember, that’s supposed to be the maximum, but most drivers look at it as a minimum and typically drive 10 kmh or even 15-20 kmh above that.
Not that long ago, then-B.C. Transportation Minister Todd Stone was unveiling 120 kmh speed zones, including the Inland Island Highway, amid much fanfare and applause.
At the time, I remember saying something to my wife like ‘are they freaking crazy?’ or maybe not quite that polite.
It’s a proven fact the degree of seriousness in an accident multiples at higher rates of speed. The lower the speed, the less the chances of serious injury or death.
Is anybody with me so far?
How did anyone ever logically think a 120 kmh speed limit was going to be a good thing? At that rate, you’re guaranteed every accident is going to be a major one.
Now I know you high-performance car owners are going to bitch, but the absolute maximum speed that should be allowable on any road anywhere in B.C. is 90 kmh. That means drivers will be given an allowable speed up to 100 without being pulled over by the cops and that’s plenty fast enough.
Under normal conditions, the 120 kmh might be feasible. But the conditions in most areas of B.C. are anything other than normal.
This isn’t the German Autobahn. Our roads are riddled with traffic lights requiring people to stop and start frequently so trying to reach high speeds often requires someone who doesn’t care for themselves or others on the road to dart in and out of traffic in order to accelerate.
Congestion is obviously becoming a major problem most everywhere on the Island and certainly throughout the main thoroughfares on the Lower Mainland. It’s unlikely many of us thought we’d see our system of roadways taxed so much by the volume from population growth at this early date.
Maybe it was going to happen in 2050 or something. But it’s accelerated, so to speak, and those long-term planning solutions were ignored too long to keep pace and now we’re faced with huge traffic jams and plenty of headaches.
Anyone traveling south into Victoria any morning of the week knows this all too well. There are too many cars on the road and people trying to pass through the mob are just increasing the dangers of more accidents.
And, once an accident happens, our roads essentially come to a standstill while analysts try to determine what happened and the injured are removed by ambulance.
Everyone has to use more common sense. You’re not going anywhere fast and a good first step will be a restriction in the speed limit to ensure everyone gets the message.
Don Bodger is the editor of the Chemainus Valley Courier.