RJ Monev is breathing a sigh of relief, counting himself and everyone involved lucky.
The Coquitlam resident and his family — including a seven-year-old child — were nearly T-boned by a speeding vehicle at the intersection of Como Lake Avenue and Hillcrest Street early Sunday morning (Jan. 16) despite them having the green light for a significant period of time.
It's not an area he drives around frequently, Monev explained in an interview with the Tri-City News, but as a four-year member of the Coquitlam Metro Ford Soccer Club, whose building is adjacent west of the intersection, he's familiar with the potential danger.
"On the morning of the incident lots of vehicles were using that intersection as the club was handing out team photos," Monev said.
"Coaches and/or managers from all of the clubs were picking their team photos up. From what I could see, lots of the vehicles had children of varying ages in them."
In a dashcam video he posted online and later shared with the Tri-City News, a small vehicle with an 'N' displayed is seen allegedly ripping along Como Lake Avenue heading east by the soccer club's facility and Hillcrest Middle School.
Monev estimates the driver was nearing 70 km/h in the 50 zone as he was heading north on Hillcrest with the aim of going through the intersection, which turns into Thermal Drive.
Not only was there a red light for Como Lake traffic in both directions, the footage showed the green light appeared to be in effect for quite a while for north-south vehicles.
As they approached, the speedster flew by just before Monev entered the intersection, forcing him to it the brakes to avoid a potential crash — or worse — and slowly move through to the other side.
"Of course my first thought was for the safety of my family. If I didn't see the driver and accelerated to get through the lights he would have T-boned us," he remarked.
"At that speed, hitting the driver's side, there's no telling what could have happened. And if I ended up clipping the driver and shunted them at that speed? I can't even imagine what that could have done to cars approaching the intersection. [...] A lot of things go through your mind of what could have happened. Anyone involved in that kind of collision would have their lives changed in an instant."
According to ICBC's latest stats available, there have been more than 70 collisions involving speeding vehicles in that area of Como Lake Avenue between 2016 and 2020 — that includes a three-block radius from Montrose Street to Seymour Drive.
Of that total, 45 have happened at Hillcrest Street.
There are no red-light cameras along Como Lake Avenue with the nearest set up at the crossroads of Mariner Way and Barnet Highway (7A). There are only six in total across Coquitlam's jurisdiction (zoom in on map below).
Monev hopes more can be done to ensure safety along this busy Tri-City stretch, claiming most commuters go above the 50 km/h posted limit.
"This driver ran a very clear red light. Seeing as there's a school on Hillcrest Street, maybe they can install cameras to catch people both speeding and running red lights. That might help. It will certainly keep drivers on their toes."
He adds the province should revisit its current fines and point system for speeding drivers, especially if caught near a school, believing the current deductions are not severe enough.
The current fine for running a red light at an intersection in B.C. is $167 plus two points against your licence.
It's between $138 and $196, plus three points on your licence, if caught speeding through a municipality.
Monev also has a message for the driver: "Do better."
"They got lucky because someone else was paying attention. That they are a fool for not taking more care," he said.
"It wouldn't be fair to ruin the lives of others because of your lack of respect for the road and those that have to share it with you."