How Speed Limits are Set in BC: The Ultimate Guide

Discussions around speed limits in British Columbia accelerate every once in a while. Some people want to see higher limits, some want lower limits, and others like them just the way they are. You might even have chimed in yourself – whether through social media, a letter to an editor, or simply chatting with friends and colleagues.

speed limits on BC HighwaysThe conversation certainly gets rolling on the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure’s Twitter and Facebook channels, which compelled us to help bring some clarity to the issue by giving an overview of how the ministry has studied and determined speed limits using public safety as its top priority.

While the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General is responsible for enforcing speed limits, our ministry sets the posted limits on provincial roadways.

Before highway construction even begins, engineers create a design according to the intended use of the roadway and the design speed. This is based on a number of engineering factors, road classifications (four-lane freeway, two-lane freeway, etc.) and others, including local land use, roadway geometry, intersection design and spacing.

The Motor Vehicle Act states that unless otherwise posted, the basic limit for all provincial highways is 80 km/h in rural environments, and 50 km/h within urban municipalities. So, if speeds other than these basic speeds are required, the ministry is tasked with setting or adjusting the limits.

Traffic engineers set speed limits according to the following factors:

  • The local land use indicating the driving environment
  • The road classification
  • The highway geometry, such as how much sight distance is available to stop in time for an object up ahead
  • Features such as shoulder width and the number of intersections and highway entrances
  • The history of the highway, including number and types of incidents
  • The volume of traffic and vehicle types/modes of transportation using the highway (passenger cars, trucks, pedestrians, bicycles, etc.)

Motorists’ behaviours are also taken into account when establishing a speed limit zone. Most drivers are sensible and will naturally drive at a reasonable speed to reach their destination safely. As such, the ministry uses the “majority” concept as a guiding principle for evaluating speed limits. The “majority” speed represents that speed at or below which most of the traffic is moving in ideal road conditions, and is widely accepted in North America as being closest to that “just right” speed limit motorists will comply with.

 

speed limits on BC Highways
Speed limits increased on Highway 97 after improvements

While extremely high speeds are dangerous, lowering speed limits well below the majority of travellers can also pose safety risks. Drivers become frustrated when speed limits do not reflect road characteristics, resulting in rash decisions and dangerous driving behaviour. And when drivers’ speeds vary drastically, there are more instances of unsafe passing, rear-end collisions and weaving on multi-lane roads. It’s all about finding a balance.

In some cases, the ministry will review a highway’s speed limit after improvements are completed or as land use around the area evolves. Take the Cariboo Connector strategy for example, which is expanding parts of Highway 97 between Prince George and Cache Creek from two to four lanes and reducing curves in the road. These ongoing design improvements are making the highway safer, and allowing us to increase speed limits to 100 km/h from 90 km/h on some sections as construction is completed. Speed limits do change. We also recently reviewed and increased the speed limit from 90 km/h to 100 km/h along sections of the Trans-Canada Highway near Kamloops, Sorrento, and from Savona to Cache Creek, after they underwent safety improvements.

We want to make sure highway travellers can move throughout the province efficiently and, most importantly, safely. Commissioning research and consulting with stakeholders, along with performing speed limit reviews as highways improve, is how we’ve been managing our responsibility to set speed zones on provincial highways. Discussions are healthy, and this one is likely to continue in newspapers and around dinner tables. But putting travellers at greater risk is not up for debate.

118 comments on “How Speed Limits are Set in BC: The Ultimate Guide”

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  1. The Pat Bay Highway between McKenzie Ave and Haliburton Rd currently has a posted speed limit of 80 km/h. This section is 6 km in length and a freeway-standard. Most people tend to travel 90-100 km/h. So I question why this section is not posted at 90 km/h? Also, I wonder what the old speed limit was on this section of the Pat Bay Highway when it opened in the 1970s? Thank you.

    Reply
    • Hello Colton,

      Our records show that on Mar 1975 the speed limit on this segment of Highway 17 was 50 miles per hour, which converts to 80 km/h. The ministry continues to monitor the results of the 2014 Rural Highway and speed review on all highway corridors, including the Pat Bay Highway. We have passed this request on to our operations and engineering team for their review.

      Reply
  2. I understand the issue is complex but I didn’t see anything about using 85th percentile speeds and adjusting up or down based on the factors you mentioned; which is used throughout North America. are 85th percentile speeds with a speed study required in BC in order to legally enforce a speed limit in BC?

    Reply
    • Hello Richard,
      Thanks for your question. Our engineers take a number of factors into consideration when they update speed limits on BC highways.
      For the most recent speed review, along with public consultation, over 300 speed surveys were conducted on rural numbered highways across the province. The speed surveys measured free flow speeds from which 85th percentile speeds were calculated. The 85th percentile speed represents the speed at or below which 85% of vehicles travel. It is the predominant factor used in setting speed limits in North America. When assessing speed limits, ministry engineers carry out an evaluation using the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) document entitled “Speed Zone Guidelines – A Proposed
      Recommended Practice”. This evaluation includes an analysis of free flow travel speeds and determination of the 85th percentile speed. Other considerations in speed limit analysisinclude:
      • safety history,
      • geometric characteristics of the highway,
      • consistency of speed limits along the highway, and
      • land use.

      In regards to enforcement of speed limit regulations, that responsibility falls to the local authority having jurisdiction, likely the BC RCMP. We hope that this information is helpful.

      Reply
      • Hi, the South Fraser Perimeter Road speed limit of 80 km/h doesn’t fit within the 85 percentile speed. I drive it every day and usually travel at 100 km/h. I have to stay in the right lane while easily the majority of cars go sailing past me, and many trucks as well. A speed limit of 100 km/h would make much more sense. It is a limited access road with a few intersections. Lower posted limits can be enforced near the intersections.

        How does a person go about petitioning the Ministry to have the speed limit reviewed?

        Reply
        • Hello and thank you for your comment.

          The ministry continues to review posted speed limits along all of its corridors, to ensure that they remain safe and effective.

          The SFPR has a lower speed limit in place due to a number of factors which require it.

          – The approach to the Pattullo Bridge, where there is a bridge support “bent” that restricts horizontal sight distance.
          – A dip in the highway to provide clearance for commercial vehicles between the road surface and to the overhead Pattullo Bridge span that lies overhead of the SFPR.
          – There is also an at-grade intersection, an at-grade railway crossing, and vertical alignment changes through this zone – so, quite a bit going on to warrant the reduced speed limit.

          If you would like to talk to staff about the limits in place, you can reach out to them at the local area office:

          Lower Mainland District
          Suite 310 – 1500 Woolridge St.
          Coquitlam, BC V3K 0B8
          604 527-2221

          Hours of operation:
          8:30 am to 4:30 pm Monday to Friday

          Reply
  3. Hi there.
    In Washington State, 60mph separate posted truck speed limits are in place on all highways with posted limits above 60mph (~97km/h). Oregon also has similar truck speed limits. The truck speed limits in Washington State and Oregon have proven to reduce collisions between passenger vehicles and commerical vehicles. Meanwhile in B.C., the only truck speed limit I have seen is on Highway 1 near Kamloops where a truck speed limit of 80 km/h is posted. I know B.C. is currently looking at mandating speed limiters in trucks where trucks would be physically limited to 105 km/h. However, there is the possibility that it doesn’t go through. Also, even if it goes through, that may still take years to implement. I am curious why the ministry doesn’t use posted truck speed limits more broadly. For example, have a posted truck speed limit of 100 km/h on highways where the speed limit is 110 km/h. On 120km/h sections of the Coquhiella where no Variable Speed Limit System exists, have a truck speed limit of 100-110km/h. Has the ministry ever considered setting posted truck speed limits on highways? I also hope you will consider my comments.
    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Thank you for your suggestion Colton. Our engineering groups has confirmed that they have considered this suggestion in the past and they haven’t ruled it out.

      The issue is, in a province where geography often controls speed limits, especially for trucks, speed is seldom an issue, as most issues for commercial trucks tend to be winter driving related, or load shifting issues. The other thing to remember, trucks, depending on highway only make up 5% to 15% of vehicles traveling the road at a given time. Having said that, the Ministry has supported the idea that the safest road is where vehicles all travel the same speed, where speed differentials are minimized. When speeds are all the same, passing maneuvers are minimized, and the on-going weaving on multi-lane highways is minimized.

      When drivers are given a higher work load, like passing and continually weaving back and forth in traffic this fact increases the frequency of manoeuvers. When the frequency of maneuvers goes up, that means the exposure to risk (of mistakes taking place) goes up, therefore when the exposure to risk goes up, the end result is higher crash rates.

      We hope this information is helpful.

      Reply
  4. Seeing that the McKenzie Interchange Project is in the very final stages, when will the 60 km/h construction speed limit on Highway 1 and 50 km/h construction speed limit on McKenzie Ave be removed? Also, will Highway 1 return to 80 or 90 km/h? Thanks.

    Reply
    • On another note, I hope consideration could be given to extending the 70 km/h zone on the Malahat slightly north to the nearby Southbound U-Turn intersection. Basically the current transition from 70 km/h to 80 km/h just prior to the sharp curve at the north end of Tunnel Hill is a safety concern as the curve seems to have a 70 km/h design speed. Sightlines at the intersection just north of the curve likely don’t meet 80 km/h speed criteria.

      Reply
    • Hello Colton,

      When all associated works are complete, the speed limit will be re-instated. At this time, we cannot confirm if the speed limit on the highway will remain the same or be updated.

      Reply
      • I was merging onto Highway 1 from McKenzie today and traffic was flowing
        above 80km/h. Now I haven’t driven the corridor for about a week and I didn’t see any 60km/h speed signs on the highway so I was not sure if the construction speed limit was still place or not. But then I noticed the “work zone ends” sign was still up near Helmcken Rd. So basically it is not clear that the construction speed limit is still in effect until the end of the work zone. At the very least install a 60km/h “construction speed zone” sign on the highway after the merge lane from McKenzie Ave.
        Also the 50km/h construction speed zone on McKenzie Ave should be removed as there is no reason for the reduced speed near the Interurban Bridge. The 60 km/h construction speed zone on Highway 1 is too slow given that all median barriers, roadside barriers, lane markings, crash attenuators, and full merge lane length are in place. The remaining work is taking place off the highway so I don’t understand why the reduced speed is still in place. I would like to know why the construction speed limits are being left in place despite all safety features being completed? Thank you.

        Reply
        • Hello Colton,

          Despite the majority of work being completed on this project, there is still work being done in the area and as such a continued need for reduced speed through the construction zone. When the project is fully completed, the signage will be removed and the speed limit re-instated. Hope that this helps!

          Reply
          • I still hope additional 60 km/h speed signs can be placed throughout the construction zone to re-affirm the speed limit.
            In regards to the post-construction speed limit, I have heard conflicting information about this as the project manager informed me that the speed limit is returning to 80 km/h while MoTI staff said that the 90 km/h zone would be extended east through the McKenzie Interchange site to the Burnside Bridge. I would really appreciate some clarity on this. Thank you.

          • It was the project manager responsible for the Highway 1 four-laning (Leigh Rd to Westshore Pkwy) project who informed me that the 90 km/h zone was being extended on its “southern/eastern end” once work on the McKenzie Interchange segment is completed. They provided this information in response to a question I had about the proposed speed limit increase to 90 km/h in the Leigh Rd area once work in that area is substantially complete.
            Recently, I did notice a new 80 km/h sign, that was turned around not facing traffic, on the highway at the McKenzie Interchange. So I guess that confirms the post-construction speed. However, I wonder if the ministry is not posting the McKenzie Interchange segment at 90 km/h until the 90 km/h zone can be extended at the western/northern end of Highway 1 to Westshore Pkwy. As to have the speed zone changes at both ends of Highway 1 take place at the same time.

          • Hi again Colton – this is actively being evaluated by our engineers. More information will be available in the coming months.

          • Today I was travelling northbound on Highway 1 through the McKenzie Interchange and again the 60 km/h construction speed limit just seems unreasonable given that the highway portion is complete. People who get frustrated behind someone doing 60 km/h make aggressive manoeuvers to get around them which creates an unsafe environment for everyone else. In the last few weeks, I have only seen one worker on the side of the highway. So I do question the need for the reduced 24/7 60 km/h zone. Why can’t “flip-over” signs be installed so that the construction speed limit can be 80 km/h when workers are not present and 60 km/h when workers are present? Also, does MoTI review construction speed limits to ensure that there are set appropriately? Thank you.

          • Thanks for your comment, Colton. We have shared this with the project manager and will let you know what we hear back.

          • Hello again Colton,

            This site is still an active construction zone and the speed limit will be adjusted once construction is complete. The contractor is working on final landscaping and other works. We expect that these works will be completed in the next month. The contractor is responsible for site safety and setting of the construction speed zone as per their Site Specific Safety Plan. We hope that this is helpful.

  5. On the Inland Island Highway, the speed transition from 90 km/hr to 110 km/hr was recently moved from the Parksville (Hwy 19A) Interchange to west of the Englishman River Bridge. I’m curious what the rationale was for making this change? Thank you.

    Reply
    • Hello again Colton,
      Here’s what we heard back. The ministry had been receiving a lot of concerns from the RCMP and the maintenance contractor with the 110km/h (previously 120km/h) speed across the Englishman River Bridge. When there was an incident, or when the bridge was undergoing maintenance, it was extremely dangerous for staff involved due to the high speeds, and shorter sightlines, and the fact that when they are on a bridge, there are no escape routes (i.e. they cannot dive out of the way of an errant vehicle). The speed zone transition was moved to increase the safety of those emergency and maintenance personnel that have to be on the bridge on a regular basis. Additionally, bridge decks tend to get icy before road surfaces do, and weather can change quickly in the gulley, so it is safer to keep traffic slower for the few hundred metres it takes to get across the bridge. Hope that this information is helpful!

      Reply
      • Thank you for explaining the reason behind the change. The issue with the moved speed transition is that despite being signed appropriately, it is not obeyed by most drivers. Most people didn’t slow down anywhere near 90 km/h at the old speed transition location. So it is not any better at the new location. Although the RCMP should give drivers a few months to adjust to the change, I do think this area will need to be enforced to actually reduce travel speeds.

        Also, in late-December 2019, the District of Lantzville and Nanoose First Nation requested a reduced speed limit of 80 km/h on Highway 19 through the Snaw-Naw-As (Nanoose) First Nation area. I personally think a speed limit reduction in the area doesn’t make sense given that travel speeds are usually higher than current 90 km/h limit anyway and that the Lantzville Rd intersection was made safer with the installation of a traffic signal last year. However, has the ministry looked into their request and reviewed the speed limit on this stretch of Highway 19? Thank you.

        Reply
        • Hello again Colton,

          The ministry is aware of the request and a comprehensive review of the Highway 19 corridor between Nanaimo and Nanoose is underway (the speed within Lantzville and the Nanoose First Nations is a part of that study. Hope that this information is helpful.

          Reply
  6. The small Vancouver Island community of Ladysmith recently experienced a horrendous fatal car accident that took the life of one of it’s members. The speed limit that runs through town on the Trans Canada Hwy changes quickly for a short distance from 90km to 70km and back up again. People rarely change their speed. There was talk of lowering speeds on the TCH in recent history but this section was never adjusted. TCH runs from Victoria to Port Hardy and ranges from 50km in Duncan to 110km north of Parksville. There are weekly accidents on our small stretch of highway and several lives have been lost. How would one go about attempting to have the speed reduced? Thank you in advance

    Reply
    • Good morning Tonya,

      Thank you for your message. We too were very saddened to hear of this loss and have sent your request for a speed limit reduction on this stretch of the highway to our traffic engineers for their review. We will let you know what we hear back. Safe travels.

      Reply
      • Is there any update regarding this? I would be curious to hear the findings.

        Also, in January 2019, a Traffic Operations Review for Highway 1 through Ladysmith was completed. The review had many safety recommendations, including restricting the left-out movement at the Grouhel Rd intersection and restricting movements at the South Davis Rd intersection to right-in/right-out and left-in only. Has the ministry begun work to implement the recommendations of the report, especially the intersection safety improvements at the Grouhel Rd intersection and South Davis Rd intersection? The ministry should be proactive and address these safety deficiencies now rather than waiting for a tragic collision to occur before making improvements. Thank you.

        Reply
        • Thanks for the message Colton, we are still reviewing. We will let you know when we hear back from staff on the issue. We have sent your questions about the recommendations forward and will let you know what we hear back.

          Reply
  7. The community of Tulameen would like to request to have the speed limit in the town site lowered to 30 km per hour. The Coalmont Road runs right through the community and of particular concern is where Otter Avenue, Nicola and Lockyer converge. There is a small straight stretch in this area and people constantly speed along this stretch. It takes 96 seconds to go from one end of town to the other if a vehicles is travelling 50 km per hour. If a vehicle is travelling 30 km per hour it takes 150 seconds. The town is so small there is no need to speed or to go 50 km per hour. There are logging trucks, all manner of trucks carrying building supplies and heavy tourist traffic in the warmer months. Our concern is for the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and that their is an off road vehicle route in the town.
    This matter was brought up at the annual general meeting of the Tulameen Community Club in July and everyone at the meeting was in favor of having the speed limit lowered to 30 km per hour. If you would like a copy of the meeting minutes please send me an email address and I will have the minutes forwarded to Drive Safe B.C.
    We are willing to work with Drive Safe B.C. to get the reduced speed limit implemented. Thanks and we look forward to hearing from you in the near future.

    Reply
    • Hi Barbara, I recommend contacting the Penticton RCMP detachment for speeding concerns, as they are our enforcement authority on provincial infrastructure. Speed limits are determined by using numerous metrics including, but not limited to, road classification, traffic volumes, road geometry and design and speed percentiles. Lowering speed limits well below that driven by the majority of travellers can pose safety risks. Drivers become frustrated when speed limits do not reflect road characteristics, resulting in rash decisions and dangerous driving behaviour. Additionally, the Tulameen area does not currently meet the requirement for reducing the speed to 30 km/h, as per definitions in the Transportation Act.

      Reply
  8. We have property in the small community of Tulameen and the Coalmont Road runs straight through town. The speed limit in Tulameen is currently 50 km/hour and we, the community, would like to request to have it lowered to 30 km/hour. The population of our town explodes in the warmer months and we have logging truck traffic, all manner of trucks hauling building supplies as well as a huge increase in tourist traffic. Of particular concern is where Otter Avenue, Nicola and Lockyer all converge. This seems to be the area where vehicles speed up because it is a small straight stretch. Our town is so small there is no need to speed. If a vehicle is travelling 50 km per hour it takes 96 seconds to get from one end of town to the other. Lower the speed to 30 km per hour and it takes 150 seconds. The main concern is safety for pedestrians, people riding bicycles and the fact that Tulameen has an off road vehicle route in the town site.
    This matter was brought up at the annual general meeting of the community club in July and everyone at the meeting was in favor of having the speed limit lowered. If you would like a copy of the meeting minutes please send me an email address and I will have the minutes forwarded to you.
    On behalf of the residents of the community of Tulameen we thank you for your attention to this matter and look forward to any feedback. We are will to work with Drive Safe B.C. to get the speed limit lowered in a timely manner.

    Reply
    • Barbara,

      Thanks for your request to change the speed limit in Tulameen, and for providing further details.

      I have asked our person responsible for that area, to connect with you on your request, via the email you have provided.

      Reply
    • Hi Barbara,

      I have forwarded both of your comments about the speed limit in Tulameen to our area manager, along with your email.

      Reply
  9. My question is « how often are rural highway speeds re-evaluated? » We live along a stretch of highway with many hidden driveways, blind corners, cross roads, hairpin entrances and of course deer. It’s also our only route in and out of town. We have cyclists and pedestrians (adults and youth) using it as a pathway for exercise and mode of transportation. We are part of a group of concerned citizens who would like to see some changes.

    Reply
  10. I was kindly referred to this page by a ministry employee, Ashley Cousens, after I wrote an inquiry requesting a lowering of the speed limit in the neighbourhood in which I reside. It amplifies the essence of what I was told. What it doesn’t do is acknowledge that in more progressive jurisdictions, the “majority speed” isn’t accepted as good enough. In progressive regions, roads are engineered to achieve the “desired speed”. This is accomplished through round-abouts, chicanes, bump-outs, speed humps, sight line adjustments and other infrastructure solutions. The risk of injury rises exponentially for pedestrians as speeds rise above 30kph, yet in residential areas, full of pedestrians, the standard for BC continues to be 50kph. I recognize that a posted sign is not the solution. Reducing speeds through active intervention utilizing any of the aforementioned methods is. How many more people will die or suffer serious injury before this province enters the 21st century when it comes to transportation engineering? The proverbial wheel doesn’t need to be reinvented. Just look at any country in Northern Europe for inspiration.

    Reply
    • Hello Jennifer – great question.

      Speed limits on BC Highways can vary – depending on many factors.

      Generally though The BC Motor Vehicle Act establishes the basic or “statutory” speed limit on all public roads: 80km/h outside municipalities and 50km/h within municipalities.

      The respective road authority (Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure or incorporated municipality) may alter posted speed limits.

      The regulatory speed limits on ministry highways range from 50 to 110km/h, in 10km/h increments depending on the type of highway. Hope that this helps!

      Reply
  11. I live on North End Road on Saltspring Island. Posted speed in our area is 60.
    The road is narrow and winding with grass and brush growing right up to the pavement. It’s a beautiful gulf island road. There are lots of bikers in the summer, many hidden driveways, and there are hundreds of deer.
    The highways department was out again today to pick up another carcass.
    Driving legally at 60, it’s often impossible to avoid hitting these deer as they step out of forest onto the road. These accidents are far too common.
    It is a fairly well used road but 60 KPH is just too fast for safety.

    Reply
    • Hi James. Thank you for writing us with your concerns about the speed limit and deer collisions on North End Road. Highway maintenance contractors identify and record the species and location of each animal killed on BC’s highways. This helps to identify where mitigation efforts are most needed.

      I am sharing your comment with our engineering department and local operations staff.

      Reply
  12. The majority speed or “just right” speed in most cases is 15-20 KPH above the posted maximum speed posted in BC and everyone knows it. Just as you have mentioned in your article this causes frustration but for some reason nothing ever changes. Remember that the posted speed is the maximum speed implying that one could and should drive below this speed. I challenge you to go out into the real world and drive below the posted speed. You would have some pretty angry drivers behind you in no time and you’d probably be reported to the police for being impaired.

    Reply
    • Hi Bill,

      Thanks for your message. We understand your frustration. We acknowledge that while extremely high speeds are dangerous, lowering speed limits well below the majority of travellers can also pose safety risks. Our engineers do not take only the 85th percentile speed into consideration when posting limits on BC highways, we also consider:
      local land use and environment
      road classification
      highway geometry (sight distances, etc.)
      shoulder width, intersections and highway entrance points
      accident history on the highway
      volume and type of traffic on the highway.

      When all of these are factored into the equation – the posted speed limit is the result.

      Hope that this helps to clarify.

      Reply
      • You understand the frustration of 90% of drivers……the problem is nothing is ever done about it. 50KPH is bicycle speed. Standard 50KPH speed should be 70KPH and 80KPH should be bumped to 100 KPH across the board. Then lower them on a case to case basis.
        Remember we are talking about MAXIMUM speed which means drivers can drive slower if they feel like it. Right now the posted speed is really treated as the MINIMUM speed and you are encouraging people to break the law on a daily basis.

        Reply
  13. I keep reading that the speed limit is set by the average speed of a majority of drivers on a particular section of road. This is a complete lie. Most cars are driving between 15-20 KPH above the posted speed at most times. Very few drive at or below the posted speed and the ones that do cause extreme frustration as mentioned by you above. As far as I can tell you guys take the comfortable speed that most cars drive at, deduct 20 KPH and post that. Then the police hand out fines like another tax to support ICBC. What I’d like to see is a return to photo radar so the police, judges and the rest of the bureaucracy would have to pay traffic fines like the rest of us. The ticket just comes in the mail and there’s no getting out of it. Maybe then they will post proper speed limits.
    You guys should take a trip to New Zealand some time. They actually post reasonable speed limits and then enforce them with photo radar everywhere. Aside from driving on the wrong side of the road it’s a real breath of fresh air.

    Reply
    • Thanks for your message Tim – we appreciate hearing from you on this. We understand your frustration. We acknowledge that while extremely high speeds are dangerous, lowering speed limits well below the majority of travellers can also pose safety risks. Our engineers do not take only the 85th percentile speed into consideration when posting limits on BC highways, we also consider:
      local land use and environment
      road classification
      highway geometry (sight distances, etc.)
      shoulder width, intersections and highway entrance points
      accident history on the highway
      volume and type of traffic on the highway.

      When all of these are factored into the equation – the posted speed limit is the result.

      Hope that this helps to clarify.

      Reply
  14. Thank you for this forum. I have lived on Pender Island, BC, South Gulf Islands, for four years now. It is one of very few places where the drivers are great. The roads here are extremely windy and hilly with no shoulders to speak of. There are very few places where you can look away from the road to check your speed, but because of the road it really isn’t possible to drive faster than 30 to 60kms/h at any point. There are no signs on the island to designate speed except on extreme curves and down grades set at 30km/h. People who don’t live here create hazards, as they will drive to fast or to slow and tend cross over the center line which creates serious a problem as there is no where to go, no shoulders, just ditch or forest.

    This happened to me the yesterday, going into the Driftwood shopping center. Someone crossed the center line coming towards me, where I would normally shift into 3rd gear to descend a steep winding hill to the shopping center. It happened so suddenly that I had to speed up to avoid an accident. The road was slippery and wet, so I couldn’t slow down to quickly for fear of sliding. Luckily there was no other traffic on the road at that point. As I reached the bottom of the hill and started to slow down approaching the shopping center, an RCMP officer pulled me over for speeding. He said I was accelerating as I came down the hill and that I was doing 65km/h in a 50km/h zone. I have a very clean driving record, so not only was it disappointing, but I was trying to avoid an accident due to the other driver and there are no speed limits posted.

    According to CRD Pender Island is considered a rural district, as such BC Highways speed limits are suppose to be 80km/h. There are no signs designating speed on Pender Island or where I received the ticket. There may be one at the ferry terminal fifteen minutes away from the Driftwood center. It’s really not possible anywhere on this island to drive at 80km/h and there is no need to. I am curious to know exactly what is the speed limit on Pender Island? Mostly, we all driver safely here, as there are no shoulders on the roads which also poses a great risk for pedestrians and cyclists and so we try to take great care. Most of us are not rich either on this island, and there has never been an officer giving out tickets before. As such it seems to be important for more clarity for us all. Thank you for your attention and thoughts.
    Best Wishes
    Jesai

    Reply
    • Hello Jesai,

      Thanks for your message. We asked our traffic engineers your question and they let us know that Pender Island is covered under a blanket speed zone of 50 km/h. This speed zone was established in 1969 and covers all public roads on North and South Pender Island. So, unless otherwise posted, the speed limit on Pender is 50 km/h and has been for a very long time. We can’t confirm where exactly a sign is posted stating as such, but presume it is at the ferry terminal.

      Reply
  15. I would like to know how a person or persons go about having
    A speed limit changed. What steps do we need to take to start the process.
    Thank you. I await your reply.

    Brent Skode

    Reply
    • Hi Patricia,

      Looks like Kehler Street is in the Municipality of Chilliwack. Typically municipality roads are 50 km unless otherwise posted, but we encourage you to contact Chilliwack directly to confirm this.

      Reply
  16. Sea to Sky at 12mph above city streets is ludicrous.
    Its a high speed divided highway…..and you lowered it to
    80kmh.

    Reply
    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Jason. The BC Motor Vehicle Act establishes the basic or “statutory” speed limit on all public roads: 80km/h outside municipalities and 50km/h within municipalities.

      Reply
    • Good morning Marianne – Gundy Road is a Private Development Road and is unfortunately not a part of our public road inventory. We suggest you contact the BC Oil and Gas Commission. They should have the contact information for the company that owns Gundy Road. The Fort St John OGC contact is: 250-794-5200
      Hope that this helps!

      Reply
    • Hi Ed,

      Thanks for your comment. We aren’t sure we fully understand your question. The posted speed limit on the Upper Levels Highway in West Vancouver is 90 km/hr and 80km/hr through North Vancouver. Are you looking for other information than this? Let us know. Thanks!

      Reply
    • Hello Jenn – thanks for your question.

      The BC Motor Vehicle Act establishes the basic or “statutory” speed limit on all public roads: 80km/h outside municipalities and 50km/h within municipalities. The respective road authority (Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure or incorporated municipality) may alter posted speed limits. If you live within a municipality, and you don’t see a posted speed limit sign on your residential road, check directly with them. Hope that this helps.

      Reply
  17. How does someone go about suggesting a modification where speed limits change? Along Highway 3 in Jaffray, there is a 70/100 change and where it is currently placed is dangerous – the transition should be much further East so traffic can properly slow down before town as well as not speed up so quickly while still in town. Is there something formal I can request?

    Reply
    • Hi Adam – thanks for letting us know your concern. We are going to share this concern with our traffic engineers who recently reviewed the speed limits across the province, and ask them for their input on why the speed it set as it is in this location. Stay tuned.

      Reply
    • Hello again Adam, we sent your comment forward to our engineers and they have asked that you connect directly with the local area manager regarding your request. Local Area Road Managers know everything about the operation of the roads they look after and are familiar with all aspects of road operations, including their speed zoning. As such, they would explain the rationale behind the current speed limit in place. They can also ask the regional traffic engineering team to review zones in their area. The Road Area Manager for Jaffray is:
      Monique Gairns
      (250) 426-1519 (O)
      Monique.Gairns@gov.bc.ca

      Hope that this helps!

      Reply
  18. I have noticed a lot of drivers seem to speed up prier to reaching a speed limit changed sign. For example In Chetwynd they moved a speed sign so when heading east just before a driver climbs what locals call Wabbi hill, most drivers start to accelerate from 50 to 70km from 1/2 km to 3/4 of a km from the 70km sign and are doing 80km+ when they go by the 70km sign before they get to the 100km speed sign they are doing 100+kms (this is baced on how fast they pass me and when I see them going past the signs and not on me trying to clock their speed with my vehicle). I know it’s been a while since I took my drivers training but is there not something in the drivers manual that explains when it is safe for drivers to change their speeds? Or where would someone learn the proper time to accelerate or decelerate?

    Reply
  19. Highway 17 from Surrey to Delta is 80Km/h.. NOBODY goes 80.. everyone goes 100 or 110.. why is it still 80? its unsafe and dangerous to have such slow drivers on such a fast road.. even the semi trucks drive 120 on it.. I don’t get it BC.. your speed limits are soo Nanny state.. oh no my children are gonna crash and die if I let them drive a reasonable speed for the conditions and let them be adults who drive cars instead of treating them like children.. anyways freeways everywhere else in the world are like 130km/h.. highways are 100.. country roads are 80.. city roads are 50 or 60. and in dense areas its sometimes 30.. but it feels right.. it feels like 100 is a max.. it feels like 130 is crazy in the rain.. it feels like 60 is too fast sometimes too.. the speed limits everywhere else I’ve been are actual limits.. here we have this 85th percentile shit.. but obviously they don’t check with the 85% of us who drive 20km over the speed limit on a regular basis because its simply too slow.. anyways I’ve got 2 speed tickets not his damn road.. and Im fighting them because they are unjust.. especially when everyones doing it.. and 85th percentile means nothing obviously when people obviously know its still safe..

    Reply
    • Hi Anonymous,

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on speed limits set for Highway 17 from Surrey to Delta.

      I will forward you comments to our traffic engineers responsible for that area.

      Reply
  20. I live in Tulameen,BC, Otter Road runs through the middle of the community and has a posted speed limit of 50KMH. The speed limit needs to reduced to 30, on any given weekend this road can be lined with any number of cars, trucks, quads, motorcycles, bikes, children, dogs, side by sides, or all of them at one time. The shoulder is gravel and is very dusty. If Princeton can have a 30 k zone in their downtown store fronts, a resort town with a highway running through the middle should have also. There 10 intersections on this stretch through town and there are over 50 driveways accessing this road.

    Reply
    • Hi Linda,

      Thanks for connecting with us here. Do you know if Otter Road is the responsibility of Tulameen? Is Tulameen incorporated?

      Reply
          • On a side note is it possible to have the gravel removed from the road edge from the winter.

          • Sweeping the roads is the responsibility of the maintenance contractor (Argo). They will typically do this in the spring, once the snow has melted. We will share your request with our local area manager, but you can also send in a request directly to Argo at: 1-800-661-2025

          • Hi there Linda,

            Our local area manager just informed us that Argo should start their routine sweeping work in your area next week.

  21. I live on departure bay road in Nanaimo across from a popular beach and childrens play area. I can not understand why the speed limit along this beach strip is 50 km/h.This is a very busy playground and also very busy roadway. The motor vehicles act states playground speed limits are 30 km\h from dawn to dusk.

    Reply
  22. I really don’t understand, why the main road our driveway ends too is a 80 Zone!
    We got 2 young children and not the only family on this road, we all are afraid that our kids will be run over by the many people who are rushing from and to the Ferries daily !!! Who would not think about all the families who lives here on this road? … Not acceptable!!! should be a 30 or max 50 zone. Not at all a 80 zone!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  23. I am quite dismayed at the lack of policing or engineering for speeding drivers in West Vancouver to Burnaby along Highway 1 . We have only 2 exit points to the south. Highway 1 has some major engineering flaws that are due to the bridge crossing allignment at Capilano River, and the snakey mess at the bottom of the cut onto the second narrows. I really can’t understand why the government is so cheap that they dont either FIX IT, or police it so people get the MESSAGE. People drive way too fast in these areas and subsequently cause huge delay costs to loss of revenue for people crossing the two bridges. Everytime it rains after a dry spell, people wonder why did that car slam into the corner, and cause a pile up. But the occassional accident will happen anywhere. The problem is you can’t expect the unfamiliar, distracted, uneducated drivers who cause these accidents to be as responsible for an engineering and enforcement problem. Each accident costs Canada more than would enforcing the speed limit with cameras or cops in loss of earnings due to multiple car pile ups and delays to motorists during rush hour and loss of life during other times. Put in cameras. Fine them appropriately. And make them all do community time cleaning the garbage off the street wearing a sign saying they were a speed violator.

    Reply
  24. Morning everyone just happen to stumble onto this site. Totally agree with Michel.For I too live in 70 Mi House on the hwy. If Any one agrees to th lowering th speed limit here
    pls let it be known to Min Hwys 100 mi bc, DOT Kamloops BC, Clinton RCMP. Did you know w are th only community in BC wifi no reduced speed limit.Go figure. Yours Tridawn

    Reply
  25. Around 70 mile house junction the speed would be better suited to be reduced as the log truck traffic pulling out there makes this location very daunting

    Reply
  26. Many drivers are seriously overestimating their driving abilities concerning speed. After driving for a while they lulled into a false sense of security and are so surprised after colliding with an animal or after spinning off the road. They always say something to either blame the road or the animal. These kinds of “accidents” could be minimized with a lower speed limit. Also what about fuel economy and this crap about carbon emissions? Perhaps with today’s fuel prices and insurance rates a lower speed limit is warranted. Don’t’ even get me started about the idiots texting and how the police are virtually powerless to stop.

    Reply
  27. Commerce cannot flow safely and efficiently on roads fundamentally unchanged since they were designed in the 1950’s and early 1960’s. I speak primarily of the hazards to which motorists are now placed, because of the excessive amount of heavy truck traffic permitted to roll on 2 lane highways such as 1, 16 and southbound to Kamloops. The Rogers Pass highway between Golden and Revelstoke on the evening of November 8, 2013, was nothing less than perilous because of the wet conditions, with muddy spray from the dozens upon dozens of multiple wheelers eliminating visibility especially in the turns. Trucks should have been halted at Golden as soon as darkness fell. The mountains present challenges for highway designers, but truck traffic must be restrained. Much of the cargo now travelling by truck ought to go by rail, which will require federal and provincial legislative intervention. Finally, it is disgraceful that Canada’s alleged Trans-Canada Highway, though BC, has not been upgraded everywhere to even 1965’s Interstate Highway standards. The Federal government’s meager efforts to fund highway upgrades, are unsatisfactory.

    Reply
  28. In order to have higher speed limits BC needs to address the shoulder widths. There are many areas with inadequate shoulder widths for cyclists creating potentially deadly situations. Take highway 16 for example between Prince George and Vanderhoof. The speed limit is 100 km/h but for large portions of it it only has a 30 cm wide paved shoulder. The shoulder should be at least 2.0 m to provide safe passing of cyclists while remaining in ones lane and provide safe stopping areas for broken vehicles.

    It is pretty typical to see sections of highway where shoulders disappear completely for sections with a passing lane, concrete no post barrier or tunnels. These sections of highway need to be addressed. There are many other shoulder hazards as well including catch basins, debris and rumble strips.

    In order for speed limits to be raised safety needs to be addressed for all users. Even current speed limits do not allow for safe cycling so these issues need to be addressed.

    The highways ministry should plan and fund physically separated bike routes. New highway installations should include separated routes including the Highway 99 corridor. I was very disappointed that the SFPR did not include a parallel multi-use path.

    Reply
    • Thanks for your feedback Tim. We will share your concern about Highway 16 with the area office. With the recent announcement of the replacement of the Massey Tunnel along Highway 99, we are focused on planning for transit/cycling solutions that will provide the most benefit to commuters and travellers along this corridor.

      Reply
  29. A law which is not obeyed by even 50% of the population is a terrible law. It incites disrespect for the law. 1950s speed limits are easy to justify by the lazy approach of chanting a single slogan: “safety, safety, safety.” How can anyone be against safety. But a zero speed limit would be the ultimate in safety. The speed limit should be set at that speed which 90% of the population drive below.

    Reply
  30. The 85th percentile speed, alluded to in the article, and over-relied upon by the engineers is an outdated concept developed by the US Highways Administration in the 1960’s. While it may still have some validity on major divided highways, engineers, perhaps out of sheer laziness, have adopted this as a rule of thumb for all roads. According to the 85th percentile rule the slower you go the more danger you are in. This is just plain stupidity on roads other than major highways. The default speed limit should not be more than 40 kph for municipal streets and even better, 30 kph for residential streets. This would allow municipalities the freedom to set higher limits for major cross town connectors without having to post the lower, more appropriate, speed limits on the much more numerous residential streets. It is time our traffic engineers moved into the 21st century. Roads are for moving people, not just for cars!

    Reply
    • Is this site even monitored any more? If so, I whole heartedly agree with Bob’s position on lowering the urban street traffic speed to 30 km/hr.
      Municipal road engineers are still designing streets to the 50 km/hr standard and then when actual speeds creep up to 60-70 km/hr because the streets are inviting those speeds, traffic calming measures are called for and if those don’t succeed because of lack of support it falls on the police to enforce the speeds. Needless to say, its not a high priority for police and so the neighbourhood suffers the consequences of this provincial guideline.

      Time to change it. And don’t leave it to the BCFM as they whine about the cost of the replacing signage.

      Reply
      • Hi John,

        Thanks for your comments about lowering speed limits in urban areas. I will share them forward with our people responsible for setting speed advisories.

        Please be aware that the speed set on most municipal roads, is chosen by the city, town, village, etc.

        Reply
  31. We need to pass laws such that the ministry have to transparently publish how speed limits are set for all roads.

    We need to look towards a better motoring country like Germany as our goal, where the roads are not only safer, but also much more efficient to travel on… Is this too much to ask for from TranBC?

    Reply
    • There is a law for this BiscottiGelato. It’s called the Freedom of Information (and Protection of Privacy) Act. Simply ask and you’ll receive whatever public documents you wish.

      Reply
  32. The speed limits are not to blame. People need to exercise more patience and stop acting as if the world owes them everything. I used to be this way until I realized patience in fact does work. I travel from Vancouver to the Kootenays often and have found that I make the exact same time whether I speed or go the speed limit. Also, driving in the lower mainland I often laugh when people race to the next red light. It’s as if they can’t wait to wear out their vehicle faster… I have to agree that sometimes speed limits feel too low but if people were more patient they’d realize speeding is just another bad habit that will eventually lead to bigger problems.

    Reply
  33. It says in the article there are a number of factors are used in determining speed limits. Sight lines, the terrain, and the types of vehicles on the road are a few. A couple things people fail to realize is that BC is very mountainous terrain, and believe it or not, four wheel vehicles are not the only thing on the road.
    Varying speeds has been a reason cited as a dangerous situation. This makes it dangerous for the excessive speeds that people already travel. If you’re traveling at your usual 130+ kmh and you come around a corner to see a semi truck doing only 50 kmh because of a crazy little thing called gravity, then YOU have created a dangerous situation because you have to slam on your brakes and/or swerve into another lane.
    The short amount of time you save by doing 20 – 30 kmh over is not worth the risks you put everyone in.

    Reply
    • You are joking right !!! people in BC don’t see mountains etc . I don’t think you should be commenting anymore Kevin and perhaps you should hand in your license

      Reply
  34. 18,000 drivers have had their vehicles impounded since 2010 for “excessive speed”, and these are just the ones who were caught. That doesn’t include drivers who drive 10-30kph over the limit on our freeways.

    This level of compliance with freeway limits is a pretty clear indication that speed limits aren’t set according to 85th percentile travel speeds in BC.

    Reply
    • The majority of people’s speed was only one factor in the decision making. Just because most people drive too fast, doesn’t make it right.

      Reply
      • “just because most people drive too fast,doesn’t make it right”…

        What utter nonsense. The speed limit in B.C. before we were converted to the “metric system” was 70 mph as it continues to be in Washington State. That was in the days of inferior automobiles. Kevin can drive at a slower speed in the right hand lane if he chooses. He inferior driving abilities should not reflect on other skilled drivers. In fact, if Kevin is not capable, he should not have a drivers licence.

        Reply