Editorial: How to make the Malahat safer

The road itself is not the problem when it comes to the Malahat highway, the drivers are.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: the road itself is not the problem when it comes to the Malahat highway, the drivers are.

The mountain pass that divides the Cowichan Valley from the greater Victoria area was in the news a lot last week.

First, the provincial government announced that a study of the matter has concluded that the highway isn’t closed often enough to warrant the massive amount of money it would take to build a dedicated secondary route. Then, the road was closed for several hours after a crash blocked both lanes of traffic on the southern end of the route.

Then on Wednesday a group called SenseBC came out with a bunch of interesting crash data for the Malahat, detailing what the most common contributing factors are to crashes on the roadway. The RCMP also noted a speed trap on the highway on Sunday, Dec. 8 led to 19 tickets for excessive speeding (more than 40 km/h over the limit) and 63 for regular speeding (up to 40 km/h over the limit).

First, we think the government made a wise choice not to spend a whole bunch of money on a bypass. It’s inconvenient, sure, when the road is closed for any length of time. But that’s really a very rare occurrence. There are bypasses now, though they’re not particularly fun if you’re trying to get somewhere in a hurry. They include the Mill Bay ferry and the Pacific Marine Circle Route out of the Cowichan Lake area.

The crash data from SenseBC showed that the most common factors in crashes were inattention from drivers, road conditions, driving too fast for those conditions, following too closely, adverse weather, animals, driver error and speeding. Many of these things are within a driver’s control.

People need to drive more carefully when they hit the Malahat — and most other roads as well. Don’t sit on someone’s bumper. Slow down when the weather is bad. Stay off your cell phone and limit other distractions. And some folks, like those caught on Dec. 8, just need to take a deep breath and slow down altogether.

That’s how we make the Malahat safer.

Just Posted

Couple celebrates anniversary through a window at Nanaimo seniors’ home

Frank and Rena Phillips marked occasion at Nanaimo Seniors Village this week while social distancing

Belle from ‘Beauty and the Beast’ entertains home-bound kids in Cowichan Bay

Alora Killam, 16, played the part in musical two years ago

Three rescued after canoe capsizes near Oak Bay

Private vessel finds canoe, brings people ashore

Controversial Cowichan tiny house still in place after removal deadline

Cowichan Valley Regional District had ordered it removed by March 15

Cowichan’s ‘Project Draw Breath’ team expands and diversifies

Team from Cowichan Valley ramping up to help during COVID-19 crisis

‘We will get through this’: B.C. sees new COVID-19 death, but 57% have recovered

A total of 1,066 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

Vancouver Island teachers show the love for their students

Virtual message meant to give families hope in uncertain times

A look at some of the B.C. inventors creating life-saving tools in fight against COVID-19

Groups across B.C. are working together to create what they hope will help people affected by the pandemic

Saanich police arrest suspect in arson spree near Camosun College Lansdowne campus

Calgary man in police custody waiting for a tele-bail hearing, constable says

West Shore RCMP seizes illegal drugs, imitation handguns in Colwood

One man and one woman arrested for weapons-related offences

Victoria police seek public help finding high-risk missing woman last seen on ferry

Mariah Konchak has shoulder-length dark hair, scars above her right eye and may be missing a tooth

Vancouver Island Martin Barre Jethro Tull show rescheduled

New dates set for Victoria and Campbell River are in November

Most Read