Residents urging four-way stop after fatal Saanich motorcycle crash

Residents near the Saanich intersection of Cumberland and Union roads, where a 19-year-old motorcyclist died Monday in a collision with a car, are calling for a four-way stop, saying the intersection has been unsafe for years.

The car was driven by a 16-year-old who attends nearby Reynolds Secondary School.

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Saanich police said the car driver, who was uninjured, is being investigated for dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death.

Union Road resident Craig Fraser said residents have been hoping to see a four-way stop put in at the intersection “based on trying to obviously slow some traffic down there and prevent these kinds of things.”

He said that a few weeks ago, there was another motorcycle-related incident at the intersection where the rider appeared to injure his shoulder.

Fraser said Union is where people tend to speed, and he and others have physically stepped into the street at times to flag down speeding vehicles. “These are highway speeds these guys are going at.”

Given that Union runs between Quadra Street and Blenkinsop Road, Fraser said it is an emergency route and things such as speed humps or traffic circles wouldn’t be suitable.

“We’re looking at it and saying a four-way stop seems like the most pragmatic solution,” he said. “You’ve got the lowest cost to the city, and you’ve got the ability for lights and siren — ambulance or police or fire — to go directly through that intersection the same way they would anything else.”

He said he moved into the area in 2016 and has had discussions about road safety with neighbours, who tell him that concerns go back much farther and the push for a four-way stop began in 2001.

Fraser said the issues with safety go beyond the area directly around Cumberland and Union.

“This is not just us,” he said. “You’ve got multiple sets of residents that are turning in and out of that neighbourhood who are all feeling the same way.”

A community meeting was scheduled for Tuesday night at a private home.

Saanich police Sgt. Julie Fast said a February 2018 speed assessment in the area that went for 11 days and looked at 11,000 vehicles, showed that 85 per cent of them were travelling at 51 kilometres per hour or less.

The speed limit is 50 km/h.

“That, from our perspective, does not indicate a speed problem,” Fast said. She said there will always be anomalies in such efforts. “The lowest speed was three km/h, the highest speed was 91.” Along with that, she said data from the area covering 2014-19 shows that the only two motor-vehicle incidents at the intersection have been the two recent motorcycle-related crashes. Before that, there were 11 collisions for the length of both Cumberland and Union, she said.

Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes said he will look at the results of the police investigation to see if any action might be needed. “Across Saanich we take the safety of our residents, pedestrians, motorists and cyclists seriously.”

In a letter to school parents and guardians, Reynolds principal Tom Aerts wrote: “A youth from Reynolds was involved in a motor-vehicle accident, which has resulted in the fatality of an adult motorcyclist.

“All youth that observed or were directly involved with this incident were uninjured and are receiving supports from the school and/or community.”

The Greater Victoria School District Critical Incident Response Team and school counsellors are available for anyone who needs them.

jwbell@timescolonist.com

‘L’ is for learners, and here are some of the restrictions

The car driver in Monday’s fatal crash with a motorcyclist is 16 years old, so it’s likely that he or she has a learner’s licence, designated by an L decal.

The L licence comes with the following restrictions:

• A licensed driver at least 25 years old must be in the vehicle in the front seat to supervise.

• You can have a maximum of two passengers, including the supervisor.

• No driving is allowed from midnight to 5 a.m.

• There must be no alcohol or drugs in the driver’s body.

• No cellphones, including hands-free, or other electronic devices are allowed.

ICBC said that driver inexperience, driving without due care and overestimation of ability can be factors in the high rate of crashes involving 16- to 21-year-olds.

The corporation said that police data from 2012-16 for 16- to 21-year-olds shows that they made up 24 per cent of speeding drivers and 15 per cent of distracted drivers..

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