Signpost Ahead: B.C. Highway Speed Limit and Safety Review

We’ve been talking with you recently about how speed limits are set on BC highways. Sounds like some of you are in favour of an increase in limits, while others feel fine with the speed we are at. In order to get a really clear picture of the dashboard, we are stepping the discussion into high gear with a formal B.C. highway speed limit review, beginning with a public consultation beginning in November (more details on that coming soon).

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So, why is the government reviewing speed limits now? The last provincial speed limit review was in 2003, and since that time we have significantly upgraded most of the major corridors in B.C. and newer vehicles have more safety features as well. Setting speed limits to the right level also improves safety and efficiency, not to mention reduces driver frustration!

Wondering how increased speed limits might make highways safer? Well, highways are safer when the majority of vehicles are travelling at close to the same speed, with research showing that as the speed difference between vehicles increases, so does the risk of being involved in a crash.

To make sure we connect with as many of you as possible, we will be hosting public forums in Kamloops, Chilliwack, Nanaimo, Prince George, Dawson Creek, Vancouver, Kelowna and Cranbrook, with additional communities added as necessary. We will also be connecting with you online. We are going to be asking your opinion on the criteria we use to set speed limits, if speed limits should be based on season or weather, if you think there should be different speed limits for different vehicles and which highway corridors should have their speed limits adjusted. This review isn’t focused on increasing speed limits, rather making sure we have the right speed limits.

We view your speed feedback as a valuable measure of what the public truly feels the speed should be. If your feedback and our technical review are at odds, we will consider both sources, in order to find the right balance of requirements for that particular stretch of highway.

Our consultation won’t just consider speed limits; it will also factor in slower vehicles and corridor use along with areas of where wildlife collisions cause concerns. Safety is our number one priority and there are lots of things to take into consideration during a review like this one. Like usual, we will also work with the BC RCMP and ICBC have input in any recommendations we put forward.

There have been discussions recently around changing the speed limit in municipalities, but it is important to note that this review will only focus on the longer sections of provincial highway between communities.

Hopefully this brings you up to speed on where we are at with our highway safety review. If you have any other questions or comments, please leave a comment below.

Page 1 of 28 comments on “Signpost Ahead: B.C. Highway Speed Limit and Safety Review”

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  1. Thanks you for doing this.

    In many cases when I drive the speed limit I feel at greater risk than if I were driving at the same speed as the rest of traffic.

    There are a few roads in the lower mainland where I am passed by close to 100% of the other drivers when I drive the limit. 50 kmh isn’t safe in these cases.

    How do I sign up for notification of the public consultation meetings?

    Reply
    • Hi Jasper,

      If you follow us online on Twitter or Facebook @TranBC, we will post dates for the public consultations as soon as they are made public. You can also subscribe to receive email notification via RSS of Gov BC newsroom here: http://www.news.gov.bc.ca/rss/

      Thanks!

      Reply
  2. Thank you for finally getting on board with this. I am fully in support of higher speeds on provincial highways. I grew up in Europe where the distances are much shorter than here and the speeds are far higher. If the speeds are increased for everyone then the roads will feel more comfortable to drive on and there will be less frustrated drivers.
    With the new graduated drivers program there are better drivers on the road. There are better cars with better tires, suspensions, ABS brakes, better head lights and so on. The problem with any of these public forums is that people who come normally are older and have time to spare to come and complain against changes to anything. I have posted support onto my Facebook page and one friend an Ex-cop is against it and another friend who is older, ill and cannot see well is against it because she doesn’t understand that it is not higher speeds in town, but on the highways. People need to be informed. Let’s get with the rest of the world and have our speeds set at the 85percentile. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Hi Alastair,

      Thanks for your feedback. Please be sure to check back with us for more information on how to have your say.

      Reply
  3. This is GREAT NEWS! I am so glad that BC government is looking at our highway speeds in a scientific way and listening to actual experts, instead of probably biased RCMP or ICBC (who make money off speed tickets).

    I think most highways can easily accommodate 20Km/h+ increase. Basically speed limit MUST BE what 85% of the drivers travel at. This is PROVEN to be the safest speed.

    One other option is to have a dynamic speed limit. This is done in Germany, while most stretches has unlimited speed, during traffic, bad weather, or closer to intersections, they decrease the limit via digital speed limit signs. This obviously is a lot more expensive and needs infrastructure, but maybe it should be considered in phase 2 of this project.

    Reply
  4. Thank you very much, this is very appreciated. I hope we can get all of the speed limits posted to the 85th percentile of drivers speed as recommended in the 2003 report. Kind regards

    Reply