OPINION – Who Ya Gonna Call – For A Chronic Traffic Problem ?

Fraser Valley – What do I do about a dangerous road situation? The person asking this question is referring to a stretch of city street where two lanes become three when the street is joined by a freeway off ramp. This 3 lane street is about half a block long before it reaches a T intersection where it is popular to make a right turn. Drivers in what has become the middle lane often make that turn from the middle lane without any consideration for traffic in the curb lane.

Despite recognizing the hazard and exercising extra caution, this person has become involved in a minor collision when the driver on his left suddenly turned into him while attempting to make that right turn. During the resolution of the resulting insurance claim, the situation was discussed with the ICBC claims adjuster who seemed uninterested. The adjuster directed this person to the municipality responsible for the intersection, which is probably the best advice in the circumstances.

A quick look at ICBC’s online crash map for this intersection shows 45 crashes, 13 of them involving injury, between 2009 and 2013. That’s less than 1 crash per month. Chances are very good that the City of Vancouver has many intersections of much higher priority that take up their engineer’s time. However, if you don’t try, you don’t get. It is possible that an inexpensive small change to the street design might mitigate the problem.

The situation might be reported to the police as well. Given the collision frequency, again, it is unlikely that they will be able to take much interest in the situation. Enforcement time is truly better spent in areas with the highest number of crashes.

Our frustrated inquirer has suggested that the city should block access to the side street entirely. If traffic cannot turn right, collisions here will effectively be prevented. Is this a reasonable solution to overcome what essentially seems to be careless driving behaviour? Who do you call to try and get all road users to co-operate and use our highways safely and unselfishly?

The author is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. To comment or learn more, please visit drivesmartbc.ca.


Constable Tim Schewe (Retired)

DriveSmartBC: Where better than average drivers satisfy their curiosity.

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