|Malahat Fire Chief Robert Patterson with Riding Community Members during the moment of silence to commemorate ALL persons who have died on the TCH/Malahat.|
Saturday, November 5th, 2011, Motorcyclists from across Victoria's Capital Region gathered at Ogden Point for the 2011 Rider's For Safety event. Approximately 300 riders came together to ride to the Victoria Legislature to hold a remembrance vigil, one week to the day and hour of the latest crash on the TCH/Malahat. Last Saturday a motorcyclist was killed at 3:45pm near the Shawnigan Lake Turn-off. If concrete dividers had been in place it may have changed the outcome of the accident for the motorcyclist. The purpose of the Rider's For Safety event is to raise road safety awareness on the TCH/Malahat and to commemorate ALL lives lost on this road; motorcyclist and vehicle driver. This continues to be the RFS focus and will be until BC Government Officials choose to install concrete dividers and enhance safety on the highway.
Vancouver Island is home to Trans Canada Number 1 Malahat Highway. This is a gorgeous drive/ride, but also deadly when people become inattentive at the wheel engaging in things as mundane as, taking a sip of coffee, texting or using their cell phones, ipods, GPS units and other gadgets that are now routinely found in cars. These devices are distractions to driver's and it is that fraction of a second that can and does change lives irrevocably, shattering the lives of other drivers and all too often motorcyclists. Texting and handheld cellphone and device use is illegal in the Province of BC. Other accident factors such as speeding and driving while under the influence have played a factor in crashes in the past on the Malahat.
Motorcyclists and scooterists are the most vulnerable of all highway users and more often than not when they are involved in a collision with a car the motorcyclist/scooterist is the clear loser in these accidents. People who were otherwise productive citizens are no longer capable of reaching their potential due to debilitating traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries and drastic decline in their pre-accident health status. Some are lucky and are able to return to their pre-accident status as functioning individuals and others who are less fortunate require extensive rehab or care 24/7/365 for the rest of their lives. These events alter the lives of everyone concerned; the victim, their families and the driver responsible for the accident.
The Trans Canada Malahat requires concrete barriers to be installed from Goldstream to Mill Bay. The purpose of the concrete barriers is to keep cars in their lanes and stop them from crossing the centre line. Unfortunately this happens several times a year on the Malahat, often with deadly consequences or lives so shattered that human potential has been damaged beyond repair. Malahat Fire Dept Chief Robert Patterson is a strong advocate for concrete barriers on the Malahat. He and his fire fighters are the ones who are called away from their homes as first responders. They are the ones who scrape people off the pavement, they are the ones who hold the hand of someone who is dying and they are the ones who live with the memory of what they have witnessed. They are the ones who know that a concrete divider will make a difference in accident outcomes on the Malahat. Just this one single act of installing concrete dividers will change the scope of accidents on the Malahat. There still will be crashes, but at least drivers will not be crossing the centre line into on-coming traffic. The cost of a barrier would be minimal compared to the human cost in tragedy and what the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia would pay out for medical expenses, i.e. rehab, disability and claim settlement. Honestly why do we continue to let the carnage happen? How many more people have to die? We deserve to have safe highways, our fire fighters, paramedics and police officers deserve better, they should not have to witness the carnage knowing that it could have been different, because of the installation of a concrete median.
I call on everyone in the driving community to do their part, drivers put down the cell phone, stop texting, stop diverting your attention from the road, keep both hands on the wheel. Engage in road safety habits, don't speed, stop being an aggressive driver. Motorcyclists/scooterists take motorcycle training courses, you will be a better and safer rider. Promise yourself you will be a better driver every time you get behind the wheel or on your bike and if you can't - don't drive.
The human price paid from motor vehicle accidents is just too high for this to continue and it is up to us to let politicians know we demand a safer Malahat highway.
I urge you to write a letter (not email) to the
Provincial Minister of Transportation & Highways: Honourable Blair Lekstrom,
PO Box 9055 STN
VICTORIA, BC, V9W 9E2
**PLEASE SEND A COPY OF YOUR LETTER TO YOUR MEMBER OF THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY (MLA).
To find your MLA visit www.leg.bc.ca/mla/3-1-7.htm
|Vancouver Island Safety Council Motorcycle Safety Instructors|
|Rider Kristy Falconer leading Chief Robert Patterson into Ogden Point|
|Estimated 300 Riders from the Vancouver Island Motorcycling Community|