Victoria cycling advocate makes pitch lor lower speeds on local roads

Group points to evidence suggesting 30 km/h speed limit would save money, lives

A consortium of public safety lobbyists says lowering the speed limits on neighbourhood streets in B.C. to 30 km/h would save money and lives.

“There’s a lot of easy fixes that need to be made,” said local researcher Corey Burger, a member of the Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition. “It shouldn’t take a death to change laws, B.C. needs to be proactive.”

The recommendations were reviewed and considered by the City of Victoria, which dropped the limits on several thoroughfares to 40km/h.

Burger and the GVCC are part of The Road Safety Law Reform Group, which includes the B.C. Trial Lawyers Association, HUB Cycling, the BC Cycling Coalition and public health researchers, representing over 50,000 members. The group has a detailed list of evidence-based bylaws that would safen the roads for British Columbians.

Some the road rules in B.C. hardly make sense, he said, adding the province needs to modernize the B.C. Motor Vehicle Act.

Burger pointed to New Brunswick implementing Ellen’s Law this year, in which drivers passing cyclists must give at least a metre of space between their vehicles and the cyclist.

The rule came into effect following the death of Ellen Watters, 28, in December of 2016. Watters was a pro cyclist on the World Tour who died after she was struck by a car on a training ride in New Brunswick. The driver wasn’t charged.

Under the new law police can fine drivers $172 for driving too close.

In B.C., there is no such law, though the safe passing law does require some diligence on behalf of the driver. However, in 2017, it’s a simple rule that would saves lives and is easy to enforce.

“In England the police have a bicycle with a box behind the seat that measures the distance of a passing car,” said Burger, referencing the significant drop in incidents since West Midlands started enforcing safe overtaking. “If a passing car is within the allotted space.”

It gets worse. A driver who “doors” a cyclist is subject to a $81 fine and one demerit.

“In contrast, illegal dumping [in Saanich] can fetch you a $150 fine,” Burger quipped. “You get in more trouble if you cut down a tree.”

In Victoria, the new bike lanes mirror a trend in other cities that have also upgraded their cycling infrastructure. The bike lane network will be completed in just over a year and have met a nasty reaction from dissenting drivers. In light of that, Burger just points to the evidence.

“We know that people feel that driving quickly is safe,” Burger said. “Evidence says it isn’t. Incidents are going up, only up, it costs money for the medical system, it’s lost wages, and in some cases cyclists who are severely injured end up getting back in their car.”

Less incidents, therefore, will lead to less claims and prevent ICBC costs from rising, which they are and will, if the annual number of pedestrian and cycling incidents continue to increase.

If enacted, exceptions to the 30km/h default on neighbourhood streets would be specified with a sign on each block.

The recent census report showed Victoria leads the country in using sustainable modes to travel to work, with 6.6 per cent of residents in the CRD.

Most people want slower speeds in their neighbourhoods: in a 2013 survey by the Canadian Automobile Association, 94 per cent of respondents reported that speeding on residential streets was a serious threat to their personal safety.

reporter@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Journey Middle School students try out the trades

Program is designed to expose students to career options

VicPD confirms wolf sighting in James Bay

Police ask that children and pets be taken inside

VIDEO: Furry, four-legged donors make their way to doggy blood drive in Langford

WAVES and Canadian Animal Blood Bank host blood drive for dogs

Annual Salmon Carcass Transplant draws Saanich residents to Douglas Creek

More than 100 frozen salmon tossed into the creek as part of ecological restoration

Colwood hosts open house on future of Royal Bay community

Event takes place on Jan. 22 at Royal Bay Secondary from 6 to 8 p.m.

‘Presumptive case’ of coronavirus in Canada confirmed by Ontario doctors

Man in his 50s felt ill on his return to Canada from Wuhan, China

VIDEO: Drone footage shows extent of damage in Highway 4 rockslide

Tofino, Ucluelet still cut off from rest of the island, as crews work to repair roadway

People knowingly take fentanyl so make policy changes to reduce harm: B.C. study

Dr. Jane Buxton, an epidemiologist at the centre, says drug users need more resources,

‘My heart is going to bleed’: Bodies brought back to Canada following Iran plane crash

Remains of Sahar Haghjoo, 37, and her eight-year-old daughter, Elsa Jadidi, were identified last weekend

BCLC opens novelty bet on Harry and Meghan moving to the west coast

Meanwhile, real estate agency points to four possible homes for the family

Canada slips in global corruption ranking in aftermath of SNC-Lavalin scandal

The country obtained a score of 77, which places it at the top in the Americas

Wuhan bans cars, Hong Kong closes schools as coronavirus spreads

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said her government will raise its response level to emergency, highest one

Vernon woman suing McDonald’s for spilled coffee

Woman seeking nearly $10K, says employee failed to put lid on properly

Most Read