NO, REALLY: River City drivers are bad but there are worse

They approach the four-way stop as if they had never seen a red stop sign ever before in their lives

It’s funny how we complain about “traffic” in Campbell River.

“Oh my gawd! I had to wait forever at the Seventh Avenue lights…like for a minute! And then, just when I thought I was getting the green, a pedestrian, A PEDESTRIAN, pushes the damn button and it turns yellow!”

And, for the record, this is an all-too-common message texted from a “smart” phone, and Tweeted too, while driving along Dogwood Street.

Then there are those who grumble about the Crawford Road morning crawl to the Island Highway; there are the old biddies who give you the finger while trying to park near the hospital; but few compare to the slow-witted who compete in the “Great Campbell River Standoff.”

Go see it for yourselves each Monday to Friday – morning, noon and quitting time – at the intersection of Alder Street and 2nd Avenue.

They approach the four-way stop as if they had never seen a red stop sign ever before in their lives. And it’s not just one stop sign, it’s four! And what’s more, there are three other cars which just pulled up – all at once.

The Great Standoff ensues.

Eyes narrow, breaths become snorts, feet press heavily on well-worn brake pedals, and then some fool works up the courage to make a clean break through the intersection…matted…just hair-second as the guy to the left tries the same fool thing…hence the well-worn brake pads.

I’ll say it once: Right of way!

Yep, we’re a sorry lot when it comes to driving in Campbell River, but we could be worse. Come with me and let’s take a drive, accompanied by the 2011 crash statistics provided by ICBC.

First stop, downtown. According to the 2011 Canadian Census, the population of Campbell River proper was 31,196. In 2011, there were 1,640 crashes in the city resulting in 340 injured victims.

Okay now, buckle up and let’s head south to the nearby Comox Valley. ICBC only provides statistics for Courtenay and Comox, but, what the heck, if we toss in Cumberland, the population for the three communities is roughly 41,000.

ICBC records show 1,780 crashes in Courtenay and another 560 in Comox, which injured, maimed or killed 550 people. That’s 670 more crashes than in the River City and 210 more wounded. No wonder the new Comox Valley hospital is going to be larger than ours.

Let’s keep going and get through Nanaimo carefully (you don’t even want to know the numbers) and stop in Langford, pop. 29,228, which is similar to Campbell River.

Langford had 90 fewer crashes than the River City in 2011, but they resulted in far more injuries: 110. Yikes!

And the moral of the story is this: Don’t be a statistic.