As I began tapping my brakes, I noticed traffic ahead on the highway appeared to be travelling at a reduced speed.
Slowing down as I reached the 10th Ave. SE/Highway 97B intersection – the route I take to drop my son off at South Canoe School in the morning – I recall feeling somewhat relieved.
Traffic on the highway, especially the more concerning northbound flow, which is obscured by a bend in the road a short distance away, appeared to actually be following the 70 km/hr speed limit – with some vehicles going even slower. Such a difference from a couple days prior, when we had to wait for a steady stream of highway traffic that I can safely say was not respecting the reduced speed limit – put in place by the province in 2018 after concerns were expressed by Salmon Arm residents and city council about the nearby school reopening.
At the stop sign, a quick glance to the south and I had my “ah ha” moment. At the bend was a police car, parked safely on the shoulder, lights flashing, next to another vehicle.
When there was a break in traffic, we were able to cross the highway with ease, and without having to go pedal to the metal.
Traffic isn’t always that bad in the mornings at this intersection, but it’s clear not everyone sees, or follows the speed limit.
What, you’re not surprised?
I know. Who pays attention to speed limits, inner city or on the highway (unless there police around)? When aren’t there drivers travelling at 70 km/hr or faster on roads like 20th Ave SE, Auto Road SE or 10th Ave SE for that matter?
Maybe I notice our heavy-footed drivers more now that I have a vehicle with a digital readout that tells me precisely how fast I’m driving.
I know our Salmon Arm Citizens Patrol members have been seeing them elsewhere in the community, including school zones. In September, the volunteer group clocked 2,196 out of 5,960 vehicles (37 per cent) travelling above the posted speed limit. That number included eight vehicles going 80 km/h in a 30 km/h school zone.
The city recently installed “speed humps” (think really wide speed bumps) on Okanagan Avenue by Fletcher Park – where a 30 km/hr speed zone has been in place for I don’t know how long. Some might oppose the traffic-calming measure, but so long as speed limits are one of those things it seems many feel are optional, or don’t apply to them, it doesn’t hurt to have such reminders that driving is a privilege that comes with rules.