Cowichan's highways among B.C.'s most dangerous, study shows

Crews work in the aftermath of one of the crashes that have put the Island Highway between Victoria and Nanaimo on B.C.
Crews work in the aftermath of one of the crashes that have put the Island Highway between Victoria and Nanaimo on B.C.'s most dangerous roads list.
— image credit: Rob Patterson/file

No wonder so many car accidents happen in Cowichan.

Highways between Victoria and Nanaimo, and Duncan to Lake Cowichan, have some of B.C.'s highest crash rates, a transport ministry-ICBC study shows.

Thursday's five wrecks — reported by police between Allenby Road and Malahat's peak — during a sprinkling of snow added to stats in the Rural Highway Safety and Speed Review ( review).

Shawnigan Lake RCMP Sgt. Scott Stephen simply advised drivers to "slow it down" to stop them from becoming a fresh statistic.

Still, the provincial review seeks citizen input until Jan. 24. That includes a Jan. 15 town hall meeting at Nanaimo's Coast Bastion Hotel between 5 and 8 p.m.

Minister Todd Stone also wants to hear your highway-safety worries. He's hosting a twitter town-hall meeting starting at 7 p.m. on Dec. 12.

One of the review's biggest safety risks bridges the Malahat — still dangerous despite millions in medians and other upgrades in recent years — to Nanaimo.

Vancouver Island is among seven B.C. safety zones studied.

Data logs highway length, posted speeds, lane numbers, divided sections, average daily traffic in both directions, percentage of truck traffic, collision rates per million vehicle kilometres, and average annual wildlife collisions per kilometre.

The Trans-Canada Highway from Victoria to Nanaimo is slightly more risky than Victoria to Port Renfrew, because the later is undivided, review numbers show.

Both stretches are 109 km long.

Victoria-Nanaimo has a .56 collision rate, a 90-km speed, divided and undivided areas, 22,000 daily traffic with four percent truck traffic, and 1.09 wildlife hits.

Victoria-Renfrew has a .71 collision rate. It sees 13,300 vehicles in average daily traffic.

Duncan to Lake Cowichan's collision rate is .68 across 28 kms, taking 3,300 vehicles daily.

With a 2.06 collision rate, B.C.'s most dangerous span is Anahim Lake to Bella Coola.

That undivided, 134-km, two-laner handles just 100 vehicles daily.

Back on the chaotic Cowichan-Malahat span, Sgt. Stephens reported five accidents, some with injuries Thursday morning.

Rollovers occurred at the Malahat's washroom pull-off; another took place near Bamberton.

There was also a wreck on Fisher Road, plus one in Cobble Hill.

Driving too fast for slippery weather conditions was the suspected culprit in those five, he said.

Meanwhile, Cpl. Jon Stuart of North Cowichan/Duncan's detachment, reported injuries during morning mayhem at TCH and Allenby, near Lifetimer Boats.

That collision saw a northbound Dodge Ram pick-up turn left into the path of a southbound VW Golf.

"Both cars pulled to the side of the road. The driver of the southbound vehicle was taken to the hospital with minor injuries, and released.

"The driver of the northbound truck was issued a violation ticket for failing to yield," Stuart said.

Review submissions can be emailed to Call 1-855-974-1330.

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