Road crash fatalities in B.C. have fallen by nearly 80 per cent as roads and vehicles have become safer

Minister nixes lower speed limits, photo radar

Default rate should be 30 km/h, and photo radar should be brought back, Provincial Health Officer Perry Kendall says

Transportation Minister Todd Stone has ruled out a return of photo radar and lowering urban speed limits to help reduce motor vehicle fatalities.

Provincial Health Officer Perry Kendall recommends in a new report that urban areas should have a default speed limit of 30 km/h to protect pedestrians and cyclists from fatal collisions.

Safer roads and vehicles have reduced fatalities for vehicle occupants by almost 80 per cent in the past 40 years, but the death rate for pedestrians has remained stubbornly high, and cyclist fatalities have gone up as more people take to bikes in urban areas, the report says.

Kendall said when a pedestrian is struck by a car travelling 50 km/h, the chances of survival are only 20 per cent. When the vehicle speed is reduced to 30, a pedestrian has about a 90 per cent chance of surviving a direct impact.

The current default speed limit for streets in B.C. is 50 km/h, and that includes urban streets where vehicles may be parked on both sides and drivers have little time to see a pedestrian stepping out. Currently municipalities have to post signs to establish a lower limit for any selected street.

Stone said Thursday the idea of lowering default municipal speed limits from 50 to 40 was debated at last year’s Union of B.C. Municipalities convention, and “quite resoundingly defeated.” He said there would have to be a significant change in position of local governments before he would consider it.

The report also recommends the province consider returning to photo radar speed enforcement, and Stone restated the B.C. government’s long-standing position against it.

“We believe there are more effective technologies that can be employed, and frankly a better way to utilize precious police resources than to resurrect what was largely a failed photo radar program that was nothing more than a tax grab for British Columbians,” Stone said.

One of those technologies is electronic speed limit signs that can be changed remotely to reflect weather conditions.

Stone said the ministry is close to activating its first three locations for electronic speed enforcement, on Highway 1 west of Revelstoke, Highway 5 north of Hope and Highway 99 between Squamish and Whistler.

Reducing Motor Vehicle Crashes in B.C.

Just Posted

Haida Gwaii and Bella Bella organizations receive funding for arts and culture

The Community Resilience Through Arts and Culture funded 83 organizations across B.C. this year

Haida UBC grad awarded prestigious academic honour

Law school next on Chelsea Gladstone’s ‘to do’ list

Fire ban back in effect for Northwest Fire Centre region

Starting May 24, both Category 2 and Category 3 prohibitions will be in place

This summer Masset RCMP will give positive tickets to youths

More than a dozen community partners are involved in encouraging good behaviour once school is out

New Seven Sisters replacement confirmed

Mental health facility will have 25 beds, up from 20 in current facility

VIDEO: Protesters in Penticton gather to rally against sleeping-on-sidewalk bylaw

The proposed bylaw would outlaw sitting or lying on the city’s downtown sidewalks

Kamloops girl, 9, recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning now out of ICU

Her mother who was sleeping in the same tent with her did not survive

‘I think he’s still alive’: B.C. mom pleads for help finding son last seen a month ago

Family offering $5,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of Tim Delahaye

New poll suggests one-third don’t want politicians to wear religious symbols

Local politicians shouldn’t be allowed to wear hijabs, crucifixes or turbans on the job, survey suggests

Raptors fans far from home adjust plans to watch pivotal playoff game

Raptors currently lead the playoff series 3-2, and a win Saturday would vault them into NBA finals

PHOTOS: First responders in Fernie rescue baby owl who fell from nest

The baby owl’s inability to fly back to its nest prompted a rescue by first responders

Five takeaways from the Court of Appeal ruling on B.C.’s pipeline law

It’s unclear how many tools are left in B.C.’s toolbox to fight the project

B.C. port workers set to strike on Monday in Vancouver

A strike at two container terminals would affect Canadian trade to Asia

Scheer says it would take Conservatives five years to balance budget

Scheeraccused the Liberal government of spending $79.5 billion of previously unbudgeted funds

Most Read