MD should address root causes of unsafe roads
Wednesday, Aug 16, 2017 11:13 am
I applaud the MD of Foothills for recognizing that safety on our roads and highways is important, and that they recognize the vulnerability of bicyclists that live and visit our region. I worry that root causes of traffic safety are not being seriously addressed.
As a resident in Okotoks for 18 years and cycling in the area for over 25 years, I am fortunate to have a long term and close up view of safety issues.
In 25 years, we have seen a lot of growth and development in the region. As density increases, we see traffic use increase, and when road surfaces are improved, driving speed increases. With congestion, drivers are more impatient and passing behaviour becomes more dangerous. Furthermore, new technology provides endless distractions for the modern driver.
Faster speeds, impatience, distraction - in my opinion these factors are leading to the dangerous situations that drivers and cyclists are facing as we use the roads everywhere, not just the Foothills region.
The MD should be focusing on safe design and behaviour in order to protect all legal road users.
Two recent road fatalities in similar near Okotoks suggest a problem with the highway design that doesnít protect us from poor decision-making by drivers. Sweden developed a design system to address this issue. I encourage readers to research the Vision Zero approach to eliminating traffic deaths and injuries. We should not tolerate any aggressive behaviour on our roads.
The Alberta Use of Highway and Rules of the Road Regulation should be updated to meet the safety requirements of modern road users. Investment in safer road design will save our economy in the long run with fewer accidents and tragedies.