Motorists who are in excess of the posted speed limit are warned to reduce their speed. (Fiona Grisswell photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Motorists who are in excess of the posted speed limit are warned to reduce their speed. (Fiona Grisswell photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Lack of awareness of speed changes causes close calls

Fiona Grisswell’s column to the Free Press

This is going to be a grumpy column.

Driving to Prince George the other day I had a moment of panic.

I was cruising through Lac La Hache at a sedate 55 kilometres per hour when I noticed a young boy riding his bike down the side of the road.

He looked like he was wrestling a little bit with the plastic bag he was carrying, and his bike was wobbling just a wee bit. I slowed down a little more.

Suddenly, his front tire got hung up on something and turned sideways. Rut in the ice maybe?

All I know is both he and his bike spilled into the road directly in my path.

He landed on his hands and got up quickly, pulling his bike to the side of the road. He did not appear to be injured, but as I started to move again our eyes met for a moment and I could see my feelings of panic reflected in his.

Thankfully, that’s all there was to the incident.

What scares me? It could’ve been a different story.

I was out in Lac La Hache a couple of months ago doing a story on the speed radar signs the community installed in an attempt to slow traffic down going through town.

The posted limit coming into town is 60 kilometres per hour.

I remember standing there and watching the numbers on the board as vehicles went by: 65, 71, 57, 100

Residential speed limits are posted for a reason.

It’s an attempt to slow people down due to the additional hazards that are part and parcel of it being in an urban setting.

Traffic turning on and off the highway, mothers with strollers, children crossing the road to go to school and yes, young boys on bikes.

So why is it so difficult for people to obey these posted limits within towns?

There is a stretch of road leaving Lone Butte that is posted at 70 km unless there are children on the highway. Then the speed drops to 50.

Yet I have had vehicles roar past me as the school bus is disappearing around the corner, having just dropped kids off on the road.

Even coming down the hill into 100 Mile House each morning has its moments.

The semis are the scary ones. Some of them creep right up on my bumper, making me uneasily aware they are behind me.

I understand everyone has a place to be and they want to get there. Really, I get it.

But as my experience last week shows, potential accidents are out there, just waiting to happen.

So ask yourself, is saving those few extra minutes gained from ignoring residential speed limits really worth it – better yet, ask that young boy.

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