Average speed cameras

BC should embrace average speed cameras as a way to stop deaths on our highways.

 ยท 2 min read
 ยท Andy McKay

Average speed cameras have been introduced throughout the world as a way of keeping speed under control on highways, but this topic of conversation never comes up in British Columbia.

The traditional speed camera is one that is at a fixed point and measures cars going past that point. In BC these were called photo radar and had a spotty past. They were introduced and hated, because that's more important that saving peoples lives. David Eby, now our current premier said in 2017:

"We're not considering photo radar. It is wildly unpopular among British Columbians. They hate it. We've heard that loud and clear."

David Eby, Source

Average speed cameras measure the time it takes for a vehicle to get from one location to another. This is perfect for a highway, such as the Sea to Sky highway, which is one of the most dangerous highways in BC, with crashes regularly. The Sea to Sky is the road from Vancouver to Squamish and Whistler. It's always been plagued by speeders, from those rushing up and down from Whistler to catch skiing, to just the people commuting from Squamish.

But it has very few entrances and exits that people use. Horseshoe Bay to Lions Bay, Lions Bay to Squamish and then Squamish to Whistler would be 3 ideal spots to place speed cameras. That's a total of 6 sets of cameras and can ticket people who travel faster than the (sometimes variable) speed limit in that area.

Do average speed cameras work? Yep.

Study in the UK:

"...the number of fatal and serious collisions decreases by 36% after average speed cameras are introduced."

RAC Foundation, Source

Scotland Minister:

"When we had them on the A77 [highway] back in 2005, fatal and serious casualties dropped by 74 per cent within a really short period of time"

CBC, Source

The Lions Bay mayor is asking for them:

"In a presentation that was also given to provincial officials the Mayor states that the MOTI reports that 85% of motorists are traveling between 85-110 km/h through the 60 km/h zone that runs through the community"

Mountain FM, Source

Average speed cameras work and have many other advantages, they reduce enforcement costs, reduce insurance premiums and so on which I'll get into other posts. But put simply, they stop people speeding. Speeding is one of the biggest contributor of crashes in BC and also increases the chances of fatalities.

Crash data from ICBC in 2021 1. Contributing factors in fatal crashes:

  • Speed: 27%
  • Impairment: 23%
  • Distraction: 28%

  1. In 2020 distracted driving overtook speeding as the main contributing factor according to ICBC