Is the Problem Excessive Speed or Distracted Driving?

In the relatively short time that my family has lived in Coquitlam there have been serious motor vehicle collisions at the corner of Como Lake Ave and Gatensbury that have resulted in cars or trucks landing in the front yard of homes on each of the four corners of the intersection.

Como Lake and Gatensbury
Como Lake and Gatensbury

The most recent collision happened this weekend just gone. As you can see in the photo above, the white SUV landed upside down and almost cut in half by the fence that the vehicle landed upon.

First Responders on Scene
First Responders on Scene

The collision – and I purposefully use the word “collision” because these collisions are NOT accidents. These collisions are caused by the choices that people make – they do not happen by accident.

Anyways, I digress, the most recent collision caused Como Lake Ave to be closed from Porter Ave east to Shoolhouse Ave from 6:45pm until nearly midnight. At midnight they were finally able to remove the SUV from the front yard of the home on the corner.

For hours after the collision there were at least ten police cruisers, five ambulances, and at least four fire/rescue vehicles on the scene. Later in the evening three or more tow trucks arrived to remove the vehicles involved in the collision.

Northwest Corner
Northwest Corner

In the picture above you can see how there is a very well established hedge and then the new, little trees. That is a result of a violent collision that sent cars hurtling through this family’s hedge to land in the yard only a few metres from their living room.

On all corners of Como Lake and Gatensbury there are similar scenes. Vehicles collided so violently one time that one of the vehicles was pushed east on Como Lake Ave until it ran into the side of the nearby apartment building.

Half an hour before the most recent collision took place I was standing with daughters at the exact spot where the SUV landed. If we had played at the new Como Lake playground for thirty minutes more I would have been standing at that exact spot with my daughters.

What makes these spectacular collisions all the more curious is the fact that the speed limit, not the recommended speed, but the actual legal, posted speed limit on Gatensbury for many blocks in either direction of Como Lake Ave is 30kmh.

Of course the speed limit on Como Lake Ave is 50 kmh. A speed limit that is rarely, if ever enforced.

The question is, how is that when two vehicles collide on a corner where the speed limit is 50kmh on one street and 30kmh on the cross street, how is it that one of the vehicles can become airborne and land in the front yard of a nearby home?

Of course that is completely disregarding the question of how did two or more vehicles traveling in opposite directions enter the intersection at the same time.

Southeast Corner
Southeast Corner

To get to the bottomline, I understand that distracted driving is a serious problem. But do we really need police officers standing at the corner of Como Lake Ave and Clarke watching for people who look down at their phones while they are stopped at the red light while they disregard the drivers who routinely ignore the red light?

What is the point of having speed limits if they are not enforced and obviously not followed?

At what point do we say enough is enough?

1 Comment

  1. HI Stacey. I guess its what the Coquitlam detachment of the RCMP have prioritized in its traffic enforcement division. With the new fines and points out for distracted driving (even when at a red light, to look down at your GPS for a second can now cost you 4 points and a huge fine… a fine I might add that goes right into the municipality’s coffers as opposed to the provincial governments) it seems the focus of the most lower mainland law enforcement is to set up gotcha traps and nail people for that. Don’t get me wrong, distracted driving is a danger on the roads… and with today’s cars coming standard with blue tooth handsfree, there’s no reason not to use it.

    Perhaps you should approach the traffic committee in Coquitlam and raise these concerns. And then maybe also approach council as well. I guess its going to take a few fatalities at that corner before someone really does something.

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