Letter: Lowering speeds won't make a difference

Nobody sticks to the posted speed limit, anyway, so why bother lowering them? Only enforcement and consequences will make a difference

The Editor,

Re. "Road safety comes down to this: people before cars" (Opinion, The Tri-City News, April 25).

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The Tri-City News' editorial stated that some people are suggesting a city-wide 30 km/h speed limit on streets that do not have centre lines.

While I agree with the need for action when it comes to our area's rampant addiction to speed and the resultant increasing frequency of accidents between cars and others (e.g. cyclists, pedestrians), I fail to see how putting a lower number on the speed limit signs will do anything in that regard. There are already precious few of us who drive at, or even near, the posted speed limit, so what difference will a lower limit make?

For example, the posted limit along Lougheed Highway/Barnet Highway from Port Coquitlam through Port Moody is 60 km/h yet you'll find that most people are driving at 80, 90 or even 100 km/h. There is a 30 km/h stretch along Ottawa Street from Riverside Drive to Dominion Avenue in PoCo but everybody is doing at least 50 or 60 km/h along that stretch and ignoring stop signs, to boot. Rush hour drivers are doing anywhere from 60 to 100 km/h along Hastings Street through Burnaby, where the posted limit is 50 km/h.

The problem, as I see it, is that there are no consequences and, unfortunately, most people don't have the wherewithal to police themselves so they simply run amok. When they actually encounter a speed trap, people routinely slow down until they're past the trap and then they resume their previous speed, thereby missing the entire point. They seem to think it's just a game where the objective is to not get caught, never realizing that their behaviour is not only irresponsible, but dangerous to themselves, their passengers and anyone else who happens to get in their way.

By comparison, try driving in Washington State, where there's a larger police presence on the roads. Everybody there is driving at approximately the posted speed limit because there are consequences to speeding. Here, not so much.

The posted limit on Highway 1 is 90 km/h west of the Port Mann Bridge but people drive at anywhere between 70 km/h and 160 km/h or more. That inconsistency makes everything unpredictable, which leads to more accidents.

Our police departments don't have the resources to be everywhere at once, so having an impactful police presence on the roadways has become an unaffordable luxury in our communities and the speeders continue to abuse the limits due to the lack of consequences and their inability to police their own behaviour. Posting lower speed limits will, sadly, not change that behaviour.

K. Walker, Port Coquitlam

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