Top 3 Island intersections for crashes are all in Saanich

Saanich intersections take the top three spots on ICBC’s list of intersections where the most crashes occurred on Vancouver Island in 2019.

ICBC released data this week that can be filtered to the municipal level by severity, street name and what type of road users were involved.

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Transportation safety planner Chris Foord said the data should be a reminder to all road users to take extra care when approaching and passing through the intersections where the highest number of collisions occur.

At the top of ICBC’s list is the McKenzie interchange, including intersections with the Galloping Goose and Admirals Road, where there were 101 crashes last year.

The intersections had been under construction since September 2016, which wrapped in late December 2019. Foord said it’s to be expected that a construction zone would have a higher number of crashes than other areas.

“I do think it shows that when things change, as in a construction zone, you are perhaps more prone to crashes because people are not familiar,” said Foord, a member and former vice-chair of the Capital Regional District Traffic Safety Commission.

Second on the list is the intersection of Douglas Street and McKenzie Avenue, including the McKenzie on and off ramps and Patricia Bay Highway on ramp. There were 68 crashes in 2019.

It’s an area where rear-end collisions are a common type of crash, Foord said, although he was surprised the intersection made the list.

Third, with 62 crashes, is the intersection of Boleskine Road, Douglas Street and Saanich Road. The high number there can likely be attributed to drivers accelerating through the intersection on an amber light, Foord said.

“We have a lot of drivers that have kind of figured that amber still means green. It doesn’t. It means almost red. Amber is the time for you to be taking your foot off the gas pedal and putting it onto the brake. It’s a transition time. It’s not a time to gun it,” he said. “You’re not that important that you can’t wait another 45 seconds for another cycle of lights.”

Victoria’s intersection where Douglas and Government streets meet Gorge Road and Hillside Avenue took number four on the list, with 61 crashes last year.

Foord said he was surprised the intersection had so many collisions, because he thinks it’s well-signed and drivers had figured out the slightly unusual intersection.

Of the remaining six in the top 10 are two other Saanich intersections, two in Nanaimo, one in Langford and one in Colwood.

Many crashes happen as a result of last-minute lane changes, Foord said.

“And all of a sudden that sets something in motion that ends up with somebody running into somebody else. And quite often the person that maybe caused the thing isn’t involved in the collision,” he said.

Drivers and other road users should take the ICBC data as a reminder to “back off a little bit,” be less aggressive, pay more attention and expect the unexpected so they can react as quickly as possible to anything that happens on the road.

“We all need to learn how to share the road a little more, a little more co-operatively, and treat other road users with a little bit more respect rather than righteous indignation,” Foord said.

That means leaving the cellphone alone, keeping both hands on the wheel with eyes looking ahead and brain engaged on what you’re doing, he said.

Pedestrians should also remember that crosswalks are not safe places and to be alert when using them.

“You can be totally in your legal rights. If you’re the one who’s going to get injured in a collision, you should be the one paying more attention,” Foord said.

An average of nine people have been killed per year and 7,100 injured in collisions on Vancouver Island roads over the past five years.

regan-elliott@timescolonist.com

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