With last Thursday’s head-on collision on Highway 99 near Lions Bay, RCMP officers are reminding travellers to slow down when commuting through the Sea to Sky corridor.
Corporal Scott Bowden from Sea to Sky Regional Police Services said even though extra officers were patrolling the highway this last weekend, many drivers still went over the speed limit.
“It was unbelievable out there this weekend,” said Bowden. “I was out there myself with three other members working between Alice Lake and Daisy Lake Dam, and the fourth person in line continued to get people.
“Even with that type of enforcement, people were not slowing down or figured that they had passed the speed trap.”
The Lions Bay accident happened just after noon on Thursday, June 26, when a car and commercial truck collided. No one was killed, but one of the drivers was transported to the hospital in critical condition. The highway was closed for approximately two hours, with traffic backed up for several kilometres in both directions, before it opened up to single, alternating lane.
Bowden said officers cannot yet confirm the cause of the accident but “do not believe it is speed related, or aggressive driving or impaired related.”
A smaller accident also happened on Saturday, June 28, in Creekside near Highway 99 in Whistler. A jeep rolled over onto its side, causing minor delays on the highway, and traffic was limited to single, alternating lanes.
Bowden said despite these two accidents, the number of vehicle collisions on Highway 99 over the past month is on par with statistics from the past three years.
“One point of note is that we have not had any fatalities in any of the new portions of the highway,” he said, adding that the upgrades do appear to be improving safety.
Bowden added that Sea to Sky Regional Police Services also stepped up their enforcement throughout the corridor on the Canada Day long weekend, with both regular unit members and overtime members on duty. According to ICBC statistics since 2003, an average of three people die and 165 are injured in B.C. on Canada Day.
“We need you to slow down, respect the speed limits, respect yourselves, and respect others,” he warned. “Especially with the present day highway, you may pass a bunch of vehicles, but then you are stuck behind miles of traffic because there is only one lane.”
Inspector Norm McPhail with the Whistler RCMP also reported that Canada Day long weekend in Whistler was tame compared to last month’s notorious May Long weekend.
“It was a very well attended weekend, lots of people were in town, but there were no significant policing problems,” said McPhail.
“It was actually quite a friendly crowd.”
McPhail attributed the discrepancy between last weekend and the May Long weekend to the fact that the Canada Day holiday was more of a family affair.
“Where our problems are for the May long weekend seem somewhat targeted, where we have the younger group coming to town, but this seemed to be much more of a family event and much more families around for the entire weekend, and we didn’t seem to have the issues we had traditionally on a weekend like May long weekend,” said McPhail.