EDITORIAL: Side effect of reopening economy may be more reckless driving incidents

More kids are out on bikes and more drivers are speeding on our roads

There are many unintended consequences and side effects from the COVID-19 pandemic, and we hope one of those isn’t a child being seriously hurt or killed by reckless drivers.

With schools and playgrounds closed over these past couple of months, and with fewer cars on the roads, a perfect storm may be brewing for just such a tragic outcome.

A new survey conducted for BCAA by Insights West found that more than half of British Columbians are seeing more children playing outside and in varied locations due to school, park and playground closures.

And that change in the play patterns of our children comes at a time when people are also seeing an increase in excessive speeding (49 per cent), particularly in residential areas (45 per cent).

While those numbers are province-wide, don’t think for a minute that it’s any different in the Comox Valley.

Over a six-day stretch in May, Comox Valley RCMP impounded half a dozen cars in our community, for excessive speeding. Some of the drivers were caught doing in excess of 50 km/h above the posted speed limit. And it wasn’t just on the highways. Three of the six were caught in 50 km/h zones. One person was clocked in a 60 zone, and a new driver was clocked on Anderton Road doing 145 km/hr in an 80 km/h zone (this new driver also earned himself a three-day licence suspension as a result of alcohol consumption).

RELATED: Comox Valley RCMP impound six cars in six days

RELATED: Two drivers clocked doing twice the posted speed limit on rural Saanich road

School is back in session part-time, and playgrounds have also re-opened. Kids are playing outside more and more in different places, including driveways, alleys and laneways. Bike riding seems to be up, with 56 per cent of people surveyed reporting seeing more kids riding around residential streets.

As restrictions ease more people will be on the roads, more kids will be enjoying the spring weather outdoors, and everyone needs to feel safe in our community.

As Sgt. Phil Esterhaus would say each week in the opening scene of the 1980s television series, Hill Street Blues, “Let’s be careful out there.”

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