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).
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.