West Kelowna mother Natasha Clark is asking for Mounties to snap into action and start dealing with a strip of road being used by area motorists as a racetrack.
“It’s become ridiculous. Someone could get killed,” Clark said. “Webber Road and the entire upper Glenrosa area is treated like a speedway.
“People will drive side-by-side racing at 90/km an hour and there are never any police.”
Concerns around motorist behaviour on the stretch of road aren’t new, but Clark was pushed past tolerance last Friday when her 12-year-old son Salem was hit by a truck she believes was speeding.
“He walked his bike up the hill, and he had just started to ride across the road when a (driver) came flying up the hill and hit him,” she said, noting her son neglected to put on his helmet before impact.
“He was laying there, covered in blood. Now he has stitches, black eyes, he’s bruised and has road rash.”
There are skid-marks at the site of impact, but police have said they can’t find evidence of speeding, and Salem wasn’t using a crosswalk—it’s a point of view which is merely fanning Clark’s anger and frustration.
“It’s (the driver’s) word against his,” she said, noting her son is a high-achiever and honest.
“Police can’t prove speeding, and there were no witnesses.”
Ultimately, however, she says the issue would never be debated had the road been made safer through regular police enforcement and some traffic calming measures.
“There are so many accidents with pedestrians up here,” she said, noting she never sees police during the busiest hours, when her children are going to and from school.
“There are no sidewalks, barely a bike lane and only one crosswalk—that’s it.”
Michael Trenn, of the Glenrosa Residents Association, said it’s an issue the community group has been working with for some time.
“I’ve lived in Glenrosa for eight years, and it’s probably been (a speeding zone) for most of that time and, certainly, in the last few years it’s been more prevalent,” said Trenn.
“The way Webber Road is designed…it invites speeding. There’s no calming, and it’s not uncommon to see people doing 80 km/h as they exit off Glenrosa.”
Webber Road isn’t the only concern in West Kelowna, however. Many of the arterial pathways through the district need to be closely scrutinized, said Mayor Doug Findlater.
“We’re looking at all of our roads in terms of a roads and transportation master plan,” Findlater said. “There’s a longer term concern about the condition of roads we inherited.”
Boucherie and Westlake roads, for example, are just paved wide enough for a car, with no room for pedestrians, while Webber has a bike-lane.
As the road system gets analyzed, Findlater said enforcement has become the focus.
“The No. 1 complaint that I and other (West Kelowna) councillors get is speeding,” he said.
“What I’ve asked about after becoming aware of this is that we have a greater police presence in that area.”
With extra funds, three reservists have been brought in to do extra enforcement, particularly related to school zones.
“They’re doing their best to address it, but it’s difficult for police to have 24/7 coverage everywhere,” he said.
Until the situation is remedied, Clark and others will continue asking for change and Salem will heal from his injuries.
The silver lining of the situation at hand, said Clark, is that the community rallied around her when she needed them.
“All the support was incredible,” she said.