Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Battle of Hastings - The Need to Stop Deadly Secondhand Speed

People are starting to realize the threat of motor vehicle speed to people walking, cycling and driving in cities. Earlier this week, Pete McMartin, had an excellent article in the Sun busting the myth that speeding to keep up with the flow of traffic is safer than following the speed limit. Unfortunately, this myth is dead wrong.
A majority of those surveyed — 52 per cent — also felt that all drivers should keep up with the flow of traffic regardless of the speed limit. If everyone was driving at 120 km/h, the feeling was, then it was safer that everyone travel at 120 km/h.
But according to a study done by the U.S.-based Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, it is speeding, not speed differences, that causes “significantly” more accidents. Nearly half of all accidents resulting in death, the IIHS found, were single-vehicle impacts where the comparative speeds of the vehicles involved played no role or a minor role.
In other words, most of the accepted wisdom about speeding was hooey.
Saving Lives on Hastings Street
In response to a lot of people being killed while walking across Hastings Street, City of Vancouver staff are recommending, in a report going before council at the Transportation and Traffic meeting on July 26, that the speed limit on Hastings Street between Abbot and Jackson Streets be reduced to 30km/h. In addition to improving the safety of pedestrians, this reduction in speed would also make Hastings Street safer and more comfortable to cycle on.

VPD Opposed
Surprisingly, the Vancouver Police Department has come out against this recommendation. In the comments by VPD spokesperson regarding this, they seem to be confusing speeding with speed. With overwhelming evidence that speeds over 30km/h are deadly to pedestrians and cyclists, it is clear that if traffic was travelling slower, lives would be saved. Even if speeding is not the cause of the collision, it is the speed that causes the fatal injuries. This position is even more puzzling since, in Canada, traffic collisions are the second leading cause of death for on duty officers.

Inevitable Mistakes Should not Result in Death
The reality is that no one is perfect. Both people in cars, on foot and on bicycles will make mistakes. When the inevitable mistakes are made, it is critical that motor vehicles are not going over 30km/h so the mistakes will not result in people dying.
As Vancouver is seen as a leader in BC, their support of safe speeds will encourage other communities to do the same. For example, Burnaby is already following Vancouver's lead in signing bicycle routes.
Vancouver has been a leader in protecting people from the deadly effects of secondhand smoke. Lets encourage them to be a leader in protecting people from deadly secondhand speed.

Email Mayor and Council
As usual, a very vocal minority will likely flood the airwaves and comment sections with angry responses to this critical safety initiative, it is important that you email Mayor Robertson and Council urging them to make safety the priority. Including accounts of the impact crashes have had on you and your family and friends can be very persuasive.,,,,,,,,,,

It would also be a good idea to cc Chief Constable Jimmy Chu,

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Support Funding for the Evergreen Line and Cycling

The Metro Vancouver Council of Mayors has recommended a 2 cent gas tax to fund the Evergreen Line. In addition, they are also looking at other options with the Province including a graduated vehicle levy and a road pricing transportation improvement fee to fund further transit and cycling improvements. Cycling funding would increase from $3 million per year to $6 million per year. While the $3 million per year increase to the current $3 million in cycling funding is most welcome, it is still leaves the region $17 million short of the $23 million per year needed to complete a network of high quality bicycle routes throughout the region, it is a very important step forward.

TransLink will present the Moving Forward plan for public consultation over the next two weeks. As both the increase in gas taxes and the vehicle levy require provincial legislation, it is critical to show strong support across the province for increases in gas, vehicle levies, road pricing and carbon taxes to pay for transit and transit. According to the news report Premier sounding skeptical about proposed gas tax, the gas tax increase might be in trouble already. It is disappointing that the media in general has taken such a narrow view on the issue. 

Better transit can dramatically decrease the cost of getting around the region by providing people with more choices and decreasing the need for expensive highway expansion. The cost to drivers of the gas tax increase will be much less than the $6 a day it will cost drivers travelling over the new Port Mann Bridge. With hundreds of thousands of people expected to move to the region over the next few decades, improved transit and cycling facilities are really the only affordable options. It is critical that people who support cycling and rapid transit contact the Premier and other politicians in support of cycling, transit and gas tax increases.

As well, send letters to the editor and phone into radio shows. All the info is below.

Hon. Christy Clark 

Please cc your MLA. You can find their email address at:

As well, cc:,,,,,,,,,

Radio Station Call in Shows

CKNW - 980 AM
Open Line: (604) 280-9898, Toll Free: 1 (877) 399-9898

7:30-8:30am - Phillip Till 
8:30-9:30am - Bill Good 
12:30 - 3:00pm - Christy Clark's Replacement
3:00-7:00pm - John McComb

Comment Line: (604) 331-2784
CBC - 690 AM
7:30-8:30am - Early Edition - 604-662-6690
12:00-2:00pm - BC Almanac - Open Line: (604) 669-3733, Talk Back Line: 604-662-6104
3:00-6:00pm - Stephen Quinn - (604) 662-6979

TEAM 1410 AM 
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Mobile Phone - *TEAM
24-hour "Rant Line": (604) 280-1410

News 1130 AM
Listener comment line: 604-877-6332 

Newspaper Letters to the Editor

Vancouver Province -
National Post -
Globe & Mail -
24 Hours -