B.C. mayor urges premier to tweak road speeds in an ‘epidemic of road crash fatalities’

Haynes cites ICBC and provincial documents in letter to John Horgan

Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes wants to see Premier John Horgan “act swiftly” to improve road safety in B.C.

He penned a letter to Horgan Monday seeking speed changes within to the Motor Vehicle Act. The letter questions why statutory speed limits remain while local roads continue to see high fatality, crash, and injury rates. He goes further to say that not making changes to the act contradicts a number of provincial plans, studies, and publications.

Haynes said using local bylaws to change the local speed limits is possible, but would present a serious administrative and financial burden for municipal governments. He adds that the current “piecemeal nature” of changes being made to speed limits “lacks consistency, effectiveness and safety.” He said cost-effective, consistent and safer solutions can be made through updates to the provincial Motor Vehicle Act.

READ MORE: Head-on collision in Saanich draws attention to rural road safety

“We are looking for changes to your laws governing our roads to help end the epidemic of road crash fatalities, serious injuries, collisions, and near misses. We believe this is an opportunity for leadership from our Honourable Premier in directing action similar to the nation-leading impaired driving laws enacted in 2011 which were followed by an immediate and sustained drop in fatalities and serious injuries,” Haynes wrote.

The provincial plans, studies, and publications Haynes said are contradicted by inaction on lowering B.C. speed limits, include four B.C. government publications from the past three years. Haynes said local governments have been waiting for change since 2016 after the release of Moving to Vision Zero: Road Safety Strategy Update and Showcase of Innovation in British Columbia and the Provincial Health Officer’s publication, Where the Rubber Meets the Road: Reducing the Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes on Health and Well-being in British Columbia.

Haynes said it was understandable some time had been allowed for those publications to circulate through government agencies, and for the early 2017 provincial election, but two more plans (Move Commute Connect from CleanBC, and the BC Active Transportation Design Guide) now provide the province with four planning documents to direct action on the issue.

READ MORE: Saanich residents feel less safe using local roads

“Road safety is not a political issue that can be continuously delayed and deferred, with endless studies and reports that wither with each change of government. We must do better. We can do better,” Haynes writes.

Horgan did not respond to a reqest for comment by deadline.

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