Variable speed limits are used throughout Europe and seem effective…

Speed Limit Photo

Reader reaction to our posted speed limit poll, conducted with Insights West, was… well, speedy!

No sooner had the paper hit the streets – revealing that 37 per cent of those polled believe a higher than 100 km/h limit should be posted on our major highways – than the emails began flying.

Yours truly expressed some surprise that a majority did not share that opinion, and that 55 per cent believed speed limits should be left alone. While some readers disabused me of that notion, an equal number agreed.

Guenter Hoernig of Penticton asked, “What would you gain by, say, increasing the limits by 10 or 20 km/h? A half an hour earlier in Vancouver? Well, if you don’t have that extra 30 minutes, perhaps you should take the plane.

“I don’t even understand why the public is consulted on this – as any results coming forth from them tend to be purely based on emotions. The safety of the highways should be left to traffic experts and scientists…”

Janet McGarry warned: “NASCAR inspired highways will only lead to more fatalities.”

Currently, 100 km/h is the maximum on most freeways, while 110 km/h is posted on the Coquihalla Highway and parts of the Okanagan Connector.

Vernon resident Brian Romaine made an interesting suggestion: “My view is that the speed sign should have a range of speed, for example instead of say 100 km/h, make it 80 to 100 max. From a psychological point of view, the driver then sees the lower speed and perhaps would have less of a fixation on the max speed limit. Speed limits should be assessed by the experts to be safe for that particular highway and not necessarily increased.”

Variable speed limits are used throughout Europe and seem effective. The maximum limits are posted on overhead electronic signs, which change to reflect environmental conditions and congestion. It is a recognition that speed alone is not the major cause of road carnage but excessive speed combined with over-driving the weather/road conditions does kill.

The provincial government is currently reviewing posted limits and Jack Dubberly believes Victoria should hike them forthwith.

“If the roads are better engineered, cars are safer…  then why not increase the speeds to that ‘average comfortable speed’ that everyone is travelling at when the police are not looking?

“The police can spend more time looking for bad drivers rather than speeding drivers and maybe the general driving public will then respect them more.”

Laura Tomelin shared her driving philosophy: “Do not drink and drive, but drive at your own capabilities and get the hell out of the way of other drivers who take their own risks and feel comfortable doing so!”

The more cynical of our readers, dismissed the current posted speed limits as being artificially low and designed not for safety reasons but as a way of generating cash for the government through fines.

Transportation Minister Todd Stone will give BC residents an opportunity to express their views directly in a series of eight regional public forums set to run between now and January 24, 2014. For details of the Rural Highway Safety and Speed Review, check it out online.

Contact: keith [dot] morgan [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

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