Emergency crews respond to an incident on Eric Road in Saanich. (Black Press File Photo)

Emergency crews respond to an incident on Eric Road in Saanich. (Black Press File Photo)

Lead Island Health doctor backs Saanich push to lower provincial speed limits

Chief Medical Health Officer backs the bid to drop residential speed limits to 40 km/h

The Chief Medical Health Officer at Island Health supports the Saanich mayor’s call for the provincial government to lower residential speed limits.

READ MORE: Saanich mayor urges premier to tweak road speeds in an ‘epidemic of road crash fatalities’

Dr. Richard Stanwick agrees the province should reduce residential speed limits to 40 km/h from the current 50 km/h.

This comes after Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes’ letter to Premier John Horgan – asking the province to lower residential speed limits from 50 km/h – was endorsed by council and sent to all other B.C. mayors.

Stanwick said other major cities have demonstrated lowering residential speed limits to 40 km/h decreases the number of crash-related deaths. For example, New York reduced default speed limits from 50 km/h to 40 km/h in 2014. The city recorded a 15 per cent decrease in traffic deaths and a 27 per cent decrease in pedestrian deaths, according to the 2016 Moving to Vision Zero report.

As road speedincreases, so does the likelihood of fatality.(World Health Organization)

The World Health Organization’s road safety manual said research indicates the most vulnerable road users (such as pedestrians and cyclists) will survive if hit by a car traveling at 30 km/h, but most will not if hit at 50 km/h. The likelihood of survival goes down as speed goes up.

Stanwick said this is a matter of simple physics. “If you reduce speed, you reduce the likelihood of fatalities as well as the likelihood of that crash happening in the first place.”

He warns, however, that seniors and children fare worse in crash statistics than the average adult. He said children are closer to the road and more likely to be hit by hard parts of the car, while seniors are almost 100 per cent likely to die if hit by a vehicle traveling at 65 km/h or over.

The time it takes for a car to come to a complete stop increases as speed increases.

ICBC’s road safety website says speeding is a major contributor to car crash fatalities in B.C. Every 5 km/h over 60 km/h doubles a motorist’s risk of being in a crash. The risk increases to six times when traveling 20 km/h over the speed limit.

ICBC notes that a driver needs time to see an obstruction and react before braking to slow the vehicle. Each time a motorist doubles the driving speed, the braking distance required to come to a full stop is multiplied by four. In icy or wet conditions, even more time and space is needed.

READ MORE: Velocity expert testifies SUV sped up to 90 km/h ahead of crash that left Saanich girl unresponsive

Stanwick said just lowering the blanket residential speed limits would be a good start, but more than that needs to be done to make roads safer. He said Saanich could look at other evidence-based traffic policies it could implement to encourage good behavior on its roads.

“This is probably one of the best evidence-based areas to play with in terms of speed limits and getting the desired results, but it’s going to take some political courage to say ‘we might not get it right the first time and that’s OK’,” Stanwick said.

sophie.heizer@saanichnews.com


Like us on Facebook and follow @yrlocaljourno

car crashSaanichTransportation

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

Just Posted

BC Housing ensures that by March 31, shelter will be available to all people living outside. (Black Press Media file photo)
All unhoused Victoria residents will be offered shelter by March 31, says BC Housing

BC Housing working to secure shelter locations in coming weeks

Robert Schram, here seen in January 2016, died Saturday, according to a friend. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sidney, Saanich Peninsula mourn the death of Mr. Beads

Bead artist Robert Schram was a familiar, well-loved figure in Sidney and beyond

Cathy Armstrong, executive director of the Land Conservancy, Paul Nursey CEO of Destination Greater Victoria and Saanich Coun. Susan Brice helped to kick off the annual Greater Victoria Flower Count at Abkhazi Garden Monday. This year, the flower count is less about rubbing the region’s weather in the rest of Canada’ faces, and more about extending a bouquet of compassion and love. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
2021 Greater Victoria Flower Count sows seeds of compassion

Friendly flower count competition runs from March 3 to 10

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation, May 8, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C.’s weekend COVID-19 cases: 532 Saturday, 508 Sunday, 438 Monday

Fraser Health still has most, eight more coronavirus deaths

B.C. Attorney General David Eby speaks in the legislature, Dec. 7, 2020. Eby was given responsibility for housing after the October 2020 provincial election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends COVID-19 rent freeze again, to the end of 2021

‘Renoviction’ rules tightened, rent capped to inflation in 2022

Face mask hangs from a rear-view mirror. (Black Press image)
B.C. CDC unveils guide on how to carpool during the pandemic

Wearing masks, keeping windows open key to slowing the spread of COVID-19

Churches, including Langley’s Riverside Calvary Church, are challenging the regulations barring them from holding in-person worship services during COVID-19. (Langley Advance Times file)
Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

Police have identified the vehicle involved in the Feb. 14 hit-and-run in Chemainus and are continuing to investigate. (Black Press Media files)
Police seize and identify suspect vehicle in hit-and-run

Investigation into death expected to be lengthy and involved

(Black Press file photo)
Child in critical condition, homicide investigators probe incident near Agassiz

The child was transported to hospital but is not expected to survive

Sewage plant in Lower Mainland, operated by Metro Vancouver. (Metro Vancouver screenshot)
‘Poop tracker’ launches as researchers test Lower Mainland sewage water for COVID-19

‘Studying the virus in wastewater allows researchers to look at an entire population…’

Most Read