Opinion: How many more have to die on Burnaby roads before changes come?

Chris Campbell

When I heard a driver had died on Boundary Road Saturday morning, the location sounded pretty familiar.

I did a little research and, yup, another driver – of a motorcycle - had died in virtually the same spot back in August.

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The two drivers were heading south down the hill on Boundary at around Rumble when they lost control, crashed and died. Speed is suspected in both incidents.

These two deaths are part of yet another deadly year on Burnaby roads. By my count, at least eight people have died on Burnaby roads in road-related incidents.

Aside from Saturday’s death, these are the others:

An 88-year-old female pedestrian died Wednesday at Willingdon and Beresford after someone driving and SUV struck her.

At the end of August, Burnaby resident Charles Masala was struck and killed by a suspected drunk driver while he was cycling on Gaglardi Way.

In August, a motorcyclist died on Boundary Road at Rumble.

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The scene on Thursday on Marine Way near Boundary Road in Burnaby. A 75-year-old pedestrian died. SHANE MACKICHAN PHOTO

In early June, there was a horrendous spate of fatalities with four people dying in four separate incidents. The people killed were a mix of drivers and pedestrians, including one person killed after they were struck by a bus.

There might be other incidents from earlier in the year that I have missed. I’ll be consulting with the RCMP about the numbers.

But eight people dead is already eight too many. Another motorcyclist was nearly killed at Hastings and Ingleton in October when they were struck by a van driver. I’ve included an image from that crash to show just how the obliterated motorcycle.

Some people get touchy about these photos, but, sorry, I feel the truth needs to be shown in order to remind people of what happens out on our local roads.

And that’s the point of this blog – to remind people of just how ugly it is on our local roads.

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One man is in hospital with serious injuries after an afternoon crash in Burnaby Heights at the corner of Hastings Street and Ingleton Avenue. Shane MacKichan photo

I want people to see these incidents grouped together and demand changes from our government, from our police agencies and, yes, from ourselves.

People have reacted on social media by saying changes are needed.

They include:

  • Lower speed limits on some roads.
  • More resources put into speed enforcement.
  • Banning certain SUV vehicles with high grills that obscure visibility of pedestrians.
  • Full photo radar.
  • Protected bike lanes.

Those are some of the things government and police can consider.

But let’s not forget personal responsibility. More drivers need to rethink how they drive and slow the (expletive deleted) down. I know drivers like to blame cyclists and pedestrians for crashes, but I blame the bad behaviour of drivers for most of the carnage out there on our roads.

As I’ve written before, I was a speedy driver myself. I have changed my ways. Before I get behind the wheel, I take a second to relax and tell myself that I need to slow it down. If I am running behind, I still tell myself it’s OK to be late. That driving faster isn’t worth the risk to other drivers, pedestrians and cyclists.

It’s time to stop blaming others and take personal responsibility for our actions out on the road.

Lives are at stake

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.

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