On Oct. 9, two teens walking to school were hit by an SUV while crossing Montroyal Boulevard.
It was shocking, but, after hearing from the neighbourhood’s residents, not exactly surprising.
That’s because the narrow roads, sparse sidewalks, and drivers as myopic as they are arrogant have created a culture of close calls in the area.
It’s now been more than 30 years since Steven Oakley was hit and killed on that street. Since then we’ve seen a speeding SUV plunge into a ravine and a driver fail to negotiate a curve and plow through a hedge.
The small neighbourhood is a microcosm of a worrying trend in our car-centric province: We’re bad at driving and getting worse.
There were 350,000 crashes in B.C. in 2017 – a 34 per cent increase since 2013.
What’s more, one survey reported that 30 per cent of drivers said it was OK to “bend the rules” when the road is somewhat empty. The problem, of course, is the massive gulf between a road that is empty and a road that looks empty.
We wouldn’t need speed humps and extra signs on and around Montroyal if every driver possessed an iota of common sense. But they don’t, so we do.
It’s true that we can’t make impulsive children stay on the sidewalks or follow crosswalks. But the least we can do is give them sidewalks and crosswalks.
We’re depending on District of North Van council to show some leadership and make the safety upgrades that residents are now calling for.
The kids who were struck in October are OK. They were lucky, this time. Let’s make sure there is no next time.
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