Rural Highway Safety and Speed Review – Results

Engagement Summary

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure conducted a province-wide consultation and engagement seeking input about safety and speed limits on British Columbia’s rural highways. For each highway segment participants were presented with current information and asked to assess four key aspects of road safety on rural highways:

  • The setting of appropriate speed limits;
  • Requirements for winter tires;
  • Keeping right except to pass; and
  • Wildlife collisions.

Engagement Timeframe:
November 29, 2013 to January 24, 2014.

Input Received:

  • 8,067 visits to the website
  • 1,422 feedback forms (1,335 online, 87 hard copy)
  • 566 written submissions
  • 65 people participated in a Twitter Townhall
  • 266 people attended 8 public forums
  • 30 people attended 12 stakeholder meetings

Input leads to action:

As a result of this public engagement the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is taking the following actions on the four key aspects surrounding road safety on rural highways:
Speed Limits:

  • Adjust speed limits on 33 sections of highway covering 1,300 kilometres (approximately 15% of the length of highway that was reviewed);
  • Introduce a new maximum speed limit of 120km/h on certain sections of divided multi-lane highways;
  • Pilot variable speed zones on sections of the Trans-Canada, Coquihalla, and Sea-to-Sky highways;
  • Commit to ongoing monitoring and evaluation of speed limits and safety measures with the Road Safety Executive Steering Committee; and
  • Work to improve the way that data is shared among all Road Safety Executive Steering Committee members.

Winter Tires:

  • Bring forward changes to the Motor Vehicle Act to clarify that Mud and Snow, and mountain/snowflake tires, are defined as winter tires;
  • Modernize the studded tire and chain regulations;
  • Change the dates winter tires are required on high mountain passes from October 1 to April 30 to October 1 to March 30;
  • Install new winter tire signs to clarify the requirements; and
  • Continue to work with road safety partners to promote the ‘Shift into Winter’ campaign, which reminds motorists to prepare their vehicles, ‘know before they go’, and to drive to road conditions.

Keep Right Except to Pass:

  • Bring forward changes to the Motor Vehicle Act to give police better tools, through clearer language, to enforce the requirement for slower vehicles to keep right;
  • Adopt new signage and pavement markings to increase voluntary compliance of ‘keep right’ requirements; and
  • Pilot signage on Highway 4 advising motorists with more than five vehicles following to pull over.

Wildlife Collisions:

  • Pilot two active wildlife detection systems on Highway 3 between Cranbrook and Sparwood;
  • Install gateway signs at the entrance of highway corridors with higher instances of wildlife collisions;
  • Increase the use of flashing LED warning signs in high crash locations;
  • Increase the use of wildlife fencing in high crash locations; and
  • Continue to monitor wildlife incidents, identify high-risk sections, and implement further measures as required.

2016 Update:

  • After collecting one years’ worth of data, ministry engineers reviewed all 33 highway sections that received speed limit increases.
  • As a result, the following actions were taken:
    • Speed limits were rolled back on two corridors – Highway 1 from Hope to Cache Creek and on Highway 5A from Princeton to Merritt.
    • On the 14 sections where the crash rates increased, the ministry invested in added safety features like improved road markings, better signage, new rumble strips, variable speed signs and wildlife safety measures.


2018 Update:

  • Based on the recently completed review of three years’ worth of data, the speed limits are being rolled back by 10 km/h on the following 15 highway corridors that have seen any increase in collisions:
    • Highway 1 – Cowichan Bay to Nanaimo – 90 km/h to 80 km/h
    • Highway 1 – Whatcom Road to Hope – 110 km/h to 100 km/h
    • Highway 1 – Boston Bar to Jackass Mountain – 100 km/h to 90 km/h
    • Highway 1 – Tobiano to Savona – 100 km/h to 90 km/h
    • Highway 1 – Chase to Sorrento – 100 km/h to 90 km/h
    • Highway 3 – Sunday Summit to Princeton – 90 km/h to 80 km/h
    • Highway 7 – Agassiz to Hope – 100 km/h to 90 km/h
    • Highway 19 – Parksville to Campbell River – 120 km/h to 110 km/h
    • Highway 19 – Bloedel to Sayward – 100 km/h to 90 km/h
    • Highway 97A – Grindrod to Sicamous – 90 km/h to 80 km/h
    • Highway 97C – Merritt to Aspen Grove – 110 km/h to 100 km/h
    • Highway 97C – Aspen Grove to Peachland – 120 km/h to 110 km/h
    • Highway 99 – Horseshoe Bay to Squamish – 90 km/h to 80 km/h
    • Highway 99 – Squamish to Whistler – 100 km/h to 90 km/h
    • Highway 99 – Whistler to Pemberton – 90 km/h to 80 km/h
  • The remaining 16 corridors showed no reduction in safety, and speed limits will remain the same.
  • The ministry will also be installing more modern road weather information systems, which will be connected to our network of digital signs on the Sea to Sky Highway. This will give drivers real time road information so they can better drive to conditions.


For more information: 

For up to date information on reports please visit the Safety and Speed Review site.