A fatal motorcycle crash in Saanich Monday evening is re-igniting calls for safety improvements on the rural road.
Jon Kocsis, 51, was identified to Black Press Media as the motorcyclist killed in a collision in the 4000-block of Prospect Lake Road Monday evening.
Saanich police were called to the incident around 5 p.m. and confirmed the following day that a man driving a motorcycle died at the scene.
Neighbour Caroline Sousa says the crash is the third in the area in just eight days.
“It’s very real for us,” Sousa says. “We worry about even pulling out of our driveways. We have children driving now and we worry about them [driving] on the road.”
Sousa has lived off Prospect Lake Road for 11 years. Her biggest concern is speed. While there are suggested speed signs of 30 km/h, the legal limit is 50, and Sousa sees many drivers hitting speeds beyond 60 km/h, zooming down the winding rural road at a rate too fast to stop suddenly if necessary.
“It’s commuter traffic… using it as a shortcut cause they don’t want to go on the highway,” Sousa says. “They are trying to get from A to B as fast as they can.”
In February a head-on collision on the road sent two drivers to hospital. A vehicle driven by a 24-year-old man was turning the corner in the 4000-block, crossed the centre lane and hit a vehicle being driven by a 60-year-old woman.
Not all of the crashes make the news, says Sousa. And some, like Monday’s, are more devastating than others. After 11 years there, she’s seen so many that she won’t allow her children to bike to school.
“It’s just terrifying for us, we can’t even walk down the road.”
Saanich mayor Fred Haynes tells Black Press Media that the District sent a request to ICBC Tuesday for a full road safety audit. The information garnered from that audit, as well as from a collision analysis and forensic identification from Saanich Police, will inform the District’s actions on Prospect Lake Road.
“This is a terrible crash… that has taken a life and our heartfelt condolences go out to all involved,” Haynes says. “If ICBC comes back after their audit and the police department comes back with their analysis…and the recommendation is to reduce speed, that is what Saanich will do.”
|Neighbour Janice Madson captured the aftermath of a crash Sept. 27 north of Prospect Lake Road and Munn Road. The crash was one of three in the area in eight days, the most recent killing 51-year-old motorcyclist.(Courtesy of Caroline Sousa)
The mayor also acknowledged that rural road safety is a concern in many parts of Saanich. Moving forward will require a cohesive approach, he says, adding that the provincial government is considering a B.C.-wide change lowering speed limits on side streets.
“This can’t be solved simply by councillors or staff or by residents, or even by the province changing the speed. What’s really needed is for drivers please, to reduce their speed,” he says.
Last year neighbours galvanized, forming an action group that counted the number of crashes and drivers on the road and presenting their data to the District of Saanich, hoping for traffic calming.
Another group, who called themselves Livable Roads for Rural Saanich, also asked the municipality to improve road safety, presenting to council in May, 2018.
In response, the District installed signs south of Munn Road indicating curves in the road ahead. Haynes says the engineering department is also going to be adding rumble strips to the centre line.
But neighbours await further action.
“I worry about my neighbours and my family,” Sousa says. “We just had a bad feeling something was going to happen.”
Sousa had a pit in her stomach Monday night when she heard the screeching of tires down the street.
“I was there with the emergency vehicles,” she says. “It’s hard to see this. Often there’s a lot of times we don’t see stuff, we just see the carnage in the ditches.”
|The 4000-block of Prospect Lake Road was location of a fatal crash Monday night. Neighbours say speed reducing measures are needed to prevent more crashes in the future. (Google Maps)
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