An assembly of road users and safety advocates gathered in front of Saanich Municipal Hall Friday afternoon (Dec. 10) calling for the district to treat road safety as an emergency in the wake of a teen’s tragic death.
Those at the demonstration stood in solidarity with 16-year-old Reynolds student, Kaydence Bourque, who was struck on Monday night (Dec. 6) by a vehicle and died the following day in hospital.
“The first thing that people ask, was the victim wearing black or was the crosswalk lit? That is victim-blaming and I want to talk about drivers driving safely,” said demonstrator Janet Besler. “If you’re behind the wheel and you hit someone, you are to blame; even if conditions aren’t good, well then, drive slower.”
Dean Murdock of road safety advocacy group Better Mobility Saanich said studies show when speeds are reduced from 50 kilometres per hour to 30 km/h or 40 km/h, the likelihood of vulnerable road users surviving if they’re struck increases.
“The strongest message we can send is that all road users are valued and deserve safe opportunities to get to where they need to go,” he said.
Demonstration organizer Philip Marciniak wants Saanich to hire officers dedicated to road safety and speed up action on its active transportation plan.
“This is a public health issue because people are getting injured, people are dying on our roads, and in my mind, it shouldn’t be the sole responsibility of police,” he said. “It should be addressed through a holistic approach – infrastructure improvements, increased enforcement, more education, driver retraining. I’m not an expert, I’m just someone who uses the roads every day and too often I have to fight for my life on the roads.”
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