Throttle down that need for speed

There were until this week six highways in Canada that should have speed limits of 120 kph or higher.

There were until this week six highways in Canada that should have speed limits of 120 kph or higher, in my opinion. And I should know — I’ve driven most of the highways in Canada.

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure this week raised the speed limit on three B.C. highways. Of these, I agree with only one. That makes for seven Canadian highways, in my opinion, that should have speed limits of 120 kph, or higher. And to be frank, I’m still not sure about one of them.

The thing about speed limits is this: Most everyone will drive at a speed of around 100 kph — a very civilized, egalitarian mile-a-minute, which has worked quite well as a standard of automobile speed for years. But not everyone will be driving 120 kph (except on those seven Canadian highways). I would suggest a far greater percentage will be driving under the speed limit than would be in a 100 kph zone.

The B.C. Truckers Association, for example, which opposed the increase, has already said its members will not be driving that fast. And there will be a large percentage, I would bet, that will drive faster than the speed limit. So right off the bat we’ll have a greater variety of speeds than before, leading to “snakes,” leading to greater impatience, leading to more aggressive driving, risk-taking, etc.

Speed, of course, is not the only factor in driver safety, or lack thereof. There is driver fatigue or error, weather conditions, automobile condition, etc. But varying rates of speed in heavy traffic is a condition that renders that highway unsafe.

The seven highways in Canada where the speed limit can be 120 kph, or even more, are the No. 16 (the Yellowhead), from Saskatoon to Edmonton, the No. 2 between Calgary and Edmonton, the Trans Canada across Alberta and Saskatchewan, the Highway 11 between Regina and Saskatoon, and the No. 3 between Lethbridge and Medicine Hat. The sixth is the relatively new Inland Island Highway on Vancouver Island (one of those upped to 120 kph this week).

The seventh, which I’m not sure about, is Highway 401 out of Toronto (eight lanes, doncha know), which becomes Highway 20 through to Montreal and Quebec City. But oh, the traffic congestion, the traffic congestion … On roads as congested as southern Ontario or the Lower Mainland in B.C., traffic should be made to slow down — for everybody’s safety. Similarly with the Coquihalla in the B.C. Interior, one of those upped to 120 kph this week. Though a well-engineered highway and a key connector, Highway 5 sees enough vehicle crack-ups at 110 kph. It sees so much tourism traffic, inclement weather and extreme rates of incline, that drivers should be encouraged to slow down — just a little — not to speed up. For everybody’s safety.

Or do you think what I’m suggesting is just Communism?

Listen, Comrades, here are the criteria for 120 kph. Take the No. 3 between Lethbridge and Medicine Hat — a stretch of wide four-lane that runs straight as an arrow over country so flat you can see around the curve of the earth beyond the horizon. Ditches as gentle as spoons. This is how Highway 3, and the others, fits the bill for 120 kph, or even higher. This is how the Inland Island Highway, as opposed to the Malahat from Victoria to Nanaimo, fits the category. Here are other criteria:

• Commerce, not tourism. A highway that sees an awful lot of recreational vehicle traffic, like many of B.C.’s highways, is cluttered with varying rates of speed and drivers of various rates of experience for the geography. On the Inland Island Highway, the 120 limit starts at Parksville, beyond which most of the Vancouver Island tourism ends.

• If there are mountains, forget about it. Keep your eyes on the road, your hands upon the wheel, and the speed at 100 kph (or just a wee bit faster).

• A visually uncompelling drive. The prairies are pretty in their own right, but there’s not much of a tendency to gawp at the scenery between Regina and Saskatoon. Pedal to the metal!

• Heavy traffic (see above). I’ve been “rooted out of the groove” on the 401 going into Toronto. If the car behind you is going faster, you’ve got to get out of the way into the adjacent “slower” lane. Being forced to speed up to 140 by someone behind you flashing his lights and honking his horn, while looking for a spot to slip into the next lane so you can immediately slow down to 120, can be a little white-knuckling in heavy freeway traffic. There are crack-ups aplenty on the 401.

In any case, the Ministry elected there was enough research and support for its speed limit modifications. I’ll look forward to seeing you all in the left hand lanes.

Just Posted

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

Ryan McKenzie of the Kimberley Trails Society made an in-depth presentation to City Council describing the initial steps of the Electrify the Mountains eBike trails project. This is a look at the project one map.
Kimberley City Council hears details on Electrify the Mountain project

At the meeting of City Council on Tuesday, June 8 Ryan McKenzie… Continue reading

The Kimberley Public Library invites kids of all ages to join the 2021 BC Summer Reading Club. Kimberley Public Library file
Kimberley kids invited to join summer reading club at Public Library

The Kimberley Public Library invites kids of all ages to join the… Continue reading

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Thursday, June 10, mentioned Grand Forks among two other COVID “hot spots” in B.C. Photo: Screenshot - YouTube COVID-19 BC Update, June 10, 2021
PHO Henry says West Kootenay city is a COVID ‘hot spot’ in B.C.

There are 11 cases of COVID-19 in the Grand Forks local health area, according the BC CDC

t
How to tell if a call from ‘CRA’ is legitimate or a scam

Expert says it’s important to verify you really are dealing with the CRA before you give out any info

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 13 to 19

Flag Day, Garbage Man Day, International Panic Day all coming up this week

British Columbia-Yukon Community News Association’s 2021 Ma Murray Awards were handed out during a virtual ceremony on Friday, June 10. (Screen grab)
Black Press Media winners take gold at B.C. and Yukon journalism awards

Publications received nods in dozens of categories

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets campers while visiting McDougall, Ont. on Thursday, July 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
71% of B.C. men say they’d prefer to go camping with Trudeau: survey

Most British Columbians with plans to go camping outdoors say they’d prefer to go with Trudeau or Shania Twain

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

Chilliwack cocaine trafficker Clayton Eheler seen with a tiger somewhere in Asia in 2014. Eheler was sentenced to nine years jail in 2018, but was released on bail in October 2020 pending his appeal of conviction.(Facebook)
Director of civil forfeiture seeks $140,000 from Fraser Valley drug dealer’s father-in-law

Clayton Eheler’s father-in-law Ray Morrissey caught with money in Fort St. John by B.C.’s gang unit

A Comox Valley shellfish operator pleaded guilty and was fined $10,000 in provincial court in Courtenay earlier this year. Record file photo
B.C. clam harvester fined $10,000 for Fisheries Act violations

Charges against three others were stayed in Courtenay Provincial Court

Frank Phillips receives a visit from his wife Rena at Nanaimo Seniors Village on their 61st wedding anniversary, March 31, 2020. Social visits have been allowed since COVID-19 vaccination has been offered in all care homes. (Nanaimo News Bulletin)
B.C. prepares mandatory vaccination for senior care homes

180 more cases of COVID-19 in B.C. Friday, one more death

Most Read