EDITORIAL: Side effect of reopening economy may be more reckless driving incidents

More kids are out on bikes and more drivers are speeding on our roads

There are many unintended consequences and side effects from the COVID-19 pandemic, and we hope one of those isn’t a child being seriously hurt or killed by reckless drivers.

With schools and playgrounds closed over these past few weeks and with fewer cars on the roads, a perfect storm may be brewing for just such a tragic outcome.

A new survey conducted for BCAA by Insights West found that more than half of British Columbians are seeing more children playing outside and in varied locations due to school, park and playground closures.

And that change in the play patterns of our children comes at a time when people are also seeing an increase in excessive speeding (49 per cent), particularly in residential areas (45 per cent).

• READ MORE: All your local, regional and national COVID-19 coverage in one place

A recent incident of extreme speeding by a group of motorcycle drivers and one car that was allegedly witnessed by residents of Sardis, but also in other neighbourhoods, culminated in a dangerous rollover on the Evans Road overpass, behaviour we do not need to see in our community.

That incident is under investigation by the RCMP, and witnesses to this and all dangerous driving incidents are asked to contact police.

“Speeding cars, increasing traffic and more kids playing close to home at all times of the day could be a recipe for disaster.” That’s according to Shawn Pettipas, BCAA’s director of community engagement, who said in a press release that he, too, has noticed more kids playing around his neighbourhood.

School is back in session part time starting June 1, and playgrounds are set to re-open. Kids are playing outside more and more in different places, including driveways, alleys and laneways. Bike riding seems to be up, with 56 per cent of people surveyed reporting seeing more kids riding around residential streets.

And yet more and more drivers are speeding and ignoring stop signs, even in school zones.

As restrictions ease more people will be on the roads, more kids will be enjoying the spring weather outdoors, and everyone needs to feel safe in our community.

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