Opinion » Maxed Out

Driver ed before speed limit increase a good idea



The government of British Columbia, our very own government — though few of us are foolhardy enough to enthusiastically claim ownership — wants to know what we think about speed limits on provincial highways.

Now, admittedly, having the government of B.C. ask me what I think is uncomfortably reminiscent of Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown and promising not to snatch it away just before he tries to kick it. But like ever-hopeful losers everywhere, I'm willing to fall on my back one more time when the football disappears, or, in this case, the government completely ignores my advice.

Right up front I have to say I'm not optimistic about having any impact. That's because the review is technically limited to rural highway speeds and Whistler isn't on the province's list of places forums will be held. Whatever faint hope we might harbour for a review of speeds on the Sea to Sky Highway falls under the notwithstanding clause, the promise they'll add additional communities as necessary.

There are three reasons I'm suspicious the StoS will be overlooked. First, it's only rural if you believe bears grazing on the highway are as bucolic as cows. Second, revenue from traffic violations on the StoS runs a close second to tax revenue generated by Whistler's tourists themselves as contributors to the province's bottom line.

And third? Because the StoS is chock-a-block with the largest collection of unskilled, moronic, simple-minded drivers to be found anywhere outside of Richmond proper. Just sayin'.

How unskilled, moronic and simple-minded, I hear you ask? Let me cull the collection of I-can't-believe-anyone-is-this-dumb experiences I've chalked up over the years and tell you one that tests my dexterity by making me rub my belly, laugh and scratch my head at the same time.

A guy walks into Creekside guest relations where I'm working and says, "Someone's car hit me in the parking lot."

"You hurt?" I asked.

"Let me rephrase," he replied. "I meant to say someone's car hit my car."

I was about to launch into an explanation of how we — WB — weren't really responsible for parking lot accidents when he stopped me before I began by motioning outside and saying, "You've got to see this."

At the time, Creekside was about to embark on its rebuild. There was some parking on a slope. People parked sideways to the slope and that's where this gentleman had left his car. Unfortunately, the guy who parked next to him on the uphill side had miraculously driven from Vancouver to Whistler in a car with tires that had no tread. By no tread, I'm not exaggerating. No tread.

Having made it successfully to Creekside and parked, the warming temperatures of spring did the rest of the job. When the snow warmed enough to raise a little meltwater, his parked car slid sideways into the hapless guest's car beside it.

Generally, when people come in and relate a tale of woe, I'm pretty good at maintaining a professional, your-concerns-are-my-concerns, demeanour. But when I saw what had happened and why, I busted out laughing. Fortunately, so did the guy whose car had been customized on the passenger's side.


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