Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen with the newly installed board to read speeds of vehicles on Oak Bay Avenue. The District of Oak Bay and ICBC funded four of the LED boards to help gather data and make drivers aware of speeds in the community.

Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen with the newly installed board to read speeds of vehicles on Oak Bay Avenue. The District of Oak Bay and ICBC funded four of the LED boards to help gather data and make drivers aware of speeds in the community.

Speed reader flashes drivers

Board hoped to raise awareness, decrease speed

The flash of numbers greets drivers heading into, and out of, Oak Bay on the Avenue this week.

The speed display boards will remain in place for a couple of weeks before moving to other high-traffic areas of the community.

“This location was chosen to make people aware we have these devices. Then we’ll shortly be deploying them on Lansdowne and Cadboro Bay (roads) where we recognize there’s a deer/collision hot spot,” said Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen. “We’re trying to affect people’s behaviour. We’re saying, ‘Here’s how fast you’re going – slow down.’”

The concept moves beyond the focus these days on drivers distracted by technology.

“They’re distracted by everyday life,” said Oak Bay police Const. Rick Anthony, community liaison officer.  “It’s about awareness. When that’s flashing at you it catches your eye … We see a lot of our older residents walking in this area and we’d like to encourage drivers to be more aware of the speed limit reductions as they enter the village centre.”

Oak Bay, through its police and engineering departments, partnered with ICBC to buy the four portable electronic speed display boards. ICBC funded half of the total $16,048 through the ICBC 2014 Road Improvement Program, aimed at reducing motor vehicle collisions and claims costs.

“Oak Bay’s Active Transportation Committee is thrilled to have these speed board signs as part of our community’s traffic safety program,” said Coun. Michelle Kirby, council liaison on this committee. “This technology allows our citizens to be more aware of the speed at which traffic moves through our community and for drivers to self-correct as necessary.”

The technology also allows for data collection, simply counting cars that pass and how many are within different speed brackets. It’s knowledge that allows the district to “measure effectiveness,” Jensen said, adding the police department could also utilize the information.

“It’ll collect the data and tell us if there really is a speeding problem,” Anthony said.

They’ll move later this month to the deer active areas of Lansdowne and Cadboro Bay roads in hopes of positively affecting drivers there.

“Over time, the speed boards will also help inform the appropriate location for additional signage support to further mitigate deer/human conflict throughout the community,” Jensen said.