Integrated Road Safety Unit member Cpl. Ryan Bacia

Integrated Road Safety Unit member Cpl. Ryan Bacia

Cops crack down on capital’s crash corners

The regional unit will be stepping up its watch at five intersections in Greater Victoria deemed the most dangerous.

Ryan Bacica stands at the corner where McKenzie Avenue meets the Trans-Canada Highway during Thursday afternoon rush hour.

Donning a pair of khakis, a blue hoodie and a pair of sunglasses, the Integrated Road Safety Unit corporal inconspicuously works undercover, watching road users’ every move.

“Grey Acura with a female driver on the cellphone.”

Bacica and his fellow Capital Regional District IRSU officers are conducting increased enforcement at intersections throughout Greater Victoria until the new year.

“We’re going to be targeting intersections with different types of enforcement techniques,” said IRSU Const. Rob Figueiredo. “We’re there to reduce crashes and injuries, but we’re also watching for any bad driving behaviours. … We’re not going to let anything slip by.”

The regional unit will be stepping up its watch at five intersections in Greater Victoria deemed the most dangerous.

McKenzie at the Trans-Canada Highway and Highway 17 at Sayward Road in Saanich; Hillside Avenue at Shelbourne Street, Douglas Street at Finlayson Street, and Douglas at Hillside and Gorge Road in Victoria are the highest crash areas in the Capital Region

“From 2008 to 2010, there have been nearly 1,000 collisions involving injuries just at these five intersections alone,” Figueiredo said.

Officers will be looking for red and yellow light infractions, as well as compliance with the seatbelt and hands-free laws. Cyclists and pedestrians will also be watched to ensure they’re not putting anyone’s safety at risk with their behaviour.

“These are obviously some of the busiest intersections and some of the biggest intersections in the region,” Figueiredo said. “The nature of the busyness of the intersections, with multiple lane-ways and high volumes of traffic add to the risk of a collision occurring.”

The intersection crackdown coincides with a month where IRSU will also be ensuring drivers are travelling at speeds relative to the conditions of the road.

“As the weather gets worse, the days get shorter, it gets darker earlier, the roadways get slipperier, so your driving habits must change,” Figueiredo said. “We’re not out there to write tickets. The whole point is to make the roads safer. We are serious about enforcement – we’re trying to reduce the number of crashes, so we hope people think twice before they do something they shouldn’t behind the wheel.”

Next month, heightened intersection enforcement will run concurrent to IRSU’s campaign to combat impaired driving.

kslavin@saanichnews.com

The 5 worst areas

Intersections with the highest number of crashes in the Capital Region:

• McKenzie at the

Trans-Canada Highway.

• Highway 17 at Sayward Road.

• Hillside Avenue at Shelbourne Street.

• Douglas Street at Finlayson Street.

• Douglas at Hillside and Gorge Road.