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Sudden appearance of speed bumps sends young skateboarder for a loop

Blair Mark, 16, was surprised last Saturday to discover the city has installed speed bumps over a culvert at the bottom of a hill on Galerno Road. The speed bumps were installed without any notice to protect the culvert from damage caused by vehicles travelling at higher speeds. - Kristen Douglas/The Mirror
Blair Mark, 16, was surprised last Saturday to discover the city has installed speed bumps over a culvert at the bottom of a hill on Galerno Road. The speed bumps were installed without any notice to protect the culvert from damage caused by vehicles travelling at higher speeds.
— image credit: Kristen Douglas/The Mirror

New speed bumps on Galerno Road are slowing down traffic but they also landed one Campbell River teen in the hospital.

Blair Mark, 16, spent his Saturday night at Campbell River hospital after hitting the speed bumps while on his skateboard.

Mark had just returned home from racing his car at Saratoga Speedway, when he, his younger brother Alex, 15, and a friend, 14, decided to go for a quick board around the neighbourhood.

Mark’s mother, Noreen Pollock, said the kids typically ride at night when there’s less traffic and tend to stay away from the Willow Point skate park to avoid some “unsavoury people.”

Pollock said it was just after midnight when she received a call from Mark asking her to take him to the hospital because he had just had an accident.

“I asked ‘what happened?’ and he said he couldn’t see out of (his right) eye and was spitting up blood,” Pollock said.

Mark was headed south down the Galerno hill and in the dark couldn’t see the speed bumps. His board hit the small, square speed bumps recently installed at the base of the hill.

“He hit it head on – the board stopped and he didn’t,” Pollock said. “His brother said (Mark) flew 10 feet into the air and he landed on his face.”

Mark’s brother and friend were at the bottom of the hill spotting and saw the whole thing unfold.

“They were both pretty traumatized to see the extent of his injuries. His brother thought Blair had broken his neck,” Pollock said. “He had his helmet on, thank goodness, or he probably would have broken his neck.”

Her son suffered possible fractured ribs, injuries to his left wrist, his right knee, and his right elbow. His right eye was badly bruised and swollen shut.

Mark was X-rayed for about 40 minutes, over his entire body to check for damage, and was hospitalized for nearly eight hours.

Pollock said he also damaged his Blackberry phone, his Beats headphones and a hoodie he had saved up to buy.

Pollock said although the family lives on Galerno, they were unaware the speed bumps had been put in because they had been away in Victoria.

Pollock said she spoke to some of her neighbours and no one knows why the speed bumps are there and why there was no advance warning they were going to be installed.

Jennifer Peters, the city’s utilities manager, said the speed bumps were put in late last week to protect the culvert on Simms Creek, that runs under the road.

In 2010, an inspector found the culvert was deteriorating and advised the city it needed to be replaced. Peters said the replacement was scheduled for next year but the culvert was inspected again last month and found to be breaking down faster than anticipated.

“Our consultant said if we can slow down the traffic there it will help the culvert to not become further compromised,” Peters said. “A median was put in (about two weeks ago) but it was not very effective so we put the speed bumps in which are very effective.”

The area around the speed bumps is also now a 30-kilometre per hour zone.

Peters said the speed bumps are temporary and will be removed once construction on the culvert starts in September. Construction is expected to last a couple of weeks.

The city has installed signs on either end of the speed bumps warning drivers of the traffic pattern change but Peters said notification letters were not sent out to nearby residents.

“We put the signs up warning people that the speed bumps are new,” Peters said. “That is standard practice.”

Still, Pollock said she wants to raise awareness that the speed bumps are there and can be dangerous because of the way they stick up from the ground.

“I don’t want someone else getting hurt,” Pollock. “People ride their bikes down there. We have lots of boarders and kids in the area.”

 

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