Calgary traffic fatalities nearly doubled Edmonton’s total in 2013
By Robson Fletcher – Metro http://metronews.ca/news/calgary/1082026/calgarys-traffic-fatalities-nearly-doubled-edmontons-total-in-2013/
A total of 40 people were killed on city streets in 2013, up 39 per cent from the previous five-year average.
A growing number of community leaders are calling for lower speed limits as newly published data shows Calgary streets were nearly twice as deadly as Edmonton’s last year.
Calgary police recorded 40 traffic fatalities in 2013, marking a 39-per-cent increase from the annual average over the previous five years, according to a report to be presented to members of city council this week. Edmonton, by contrast, saw 23 people killed, representing a 16-per-cent decrease from the previous five-year average in that city, according to a report published earlier this month.
The spike in Calgary fatalities comes despite no significant change in the total number of collisions in 2013 compared to the five-year average. Impaired driving offences were also down more than 15 per cent during the same timeframe. For Mount Royal resident Jodi Morel, the numbers add up to one thing. “I think speed is obviously a factor,” she said Sunday. “When you’re looking at the same number of accidents, the only real variable is how fast these people were going when the collision occurred.” Morel has been campaigning to reduce the standard speed limit in Calgary’s residential areas from 50 km/h to 40 km/h, citing international evidence she says clearly shows a “huge” difference in fatality rates.
Tony Norman of the Marda Loop Community Association (MLCA) said reducing speed limits is “one of those ideas that makes a lot of sense.” In light of residents’ concerns over dangerous driving, he’s organizing a “neighbourhood pace car program” for Marda Loop that he plans to launch on July 12. The pace-car movement – now active in numerous Calgary neighourhoods – sees volunteers affix magnets to their vehicles and erect lawn signs aimed at encouraging “driving by example.” Norman said it’s one small thing communities can do but he’d like to see action from higher municipal levels. “Grassroots stuff is all good and fine but we need the city to come in with their hammer and do something about it,” he said. Coun. Peter Demong, who introduced a successful motion at council last month calling on the province to boost fines for speeding in residential areas, said Sunday he’s not in favour of adjusting the default speed limit across the city. “I’m one that likes to go step by step,” he said. “I’m not in favour of a blanket lowering of speed limits to 40 km/h, simply because I think that would raise the aggravation level of a lot of drivers in trying to get from point A to point B.” Demong said he’s prefer to see targeted enforcement in areas where speeding is a particular problem. “I would say, anecdotally, even in the last four years since I’ve been elected, that I am noticing a huge increase on residential roads in the amount of speeding,” he said. “It’s gone, I would say, ballistic.”