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PHOTOS: Even with speed team in position, some Port Moody drivers are still not slowing down in high-crash areas

Despite passing the warning crew at the bottom of Heritage Mountain Boulevard, commuters continued to speed up the road — and it cost them a hefty nickel.

Heritage Mountain Boulevard is a 50 km/h zone from top to bottom and vice versa.

However, Port Moody police (PMPD) said it continues to be an area of safety concerns on a weekly basis as motorists are seen speeding up the street, weaving in and out of traffic and causing potential hazards for those wanting to get home in one piece.

On Wednesday afternoon (Oct. 28), the Tri-City News was invited to observe with PMPD and Tri-Cities Speed Watch team warn, alert and inform local drivers to slow down and follow the rules of the road while heading north on the arterial route.

In a one-hour span — out of 1,100 vehicles counted in the 1100-block of Heritage Mountain Boulevard — six were given speeding violation tickets totalling more than $800 in fines, while 30 cruised well over the 50 km/h limit, some nearly doubling that number. No vehicles were impounded.

PMPD spokesperson Const. Sam Zacharias said the rest of the drivers were following the rules of the road, but it's still a basic law that others simply aren't grasping.

"The motorists I stopped and ticketed were exceeding the speed limits by a large degree, despite having just passed by the speed watch volunteers," he explained to the Tri-City News.

"This particular stretch of roadway is an area we receive frequent complaints about with aggressive motorists known to weave in and out of traffic and speed during the evening rush hour... Speeding is one of the leading factors in fatal collisions in British Columbia."

Last weekend in Coquitlam, RCMP's traffic enforcement unit pulled five vehicles off the road after they were all caught excessively speeding in a 50 km/h and a 70 km/h zone — four were along the Mary Hill Bypass (Highway 7B).

The drivers each received a seven-day impoundment on their vehicle, a $368 fine and one got an extra $109 fine for failing to signal while changing lanes.

Regardless of where you drive, Zacharias urges commuters to slow down as the risk is also there for pedestrians.

Residents who walk up and down the four-lane Heritage Mountain Boulevard stretch have an increased risk of getting hit.

"This stretch of Heritage Mountain Boulevard is definitely a busy one for us. It's one of many spots that we do have lots of traffic issues on. We respond to collisions in nearby intersections here. We also take into account the factors on the roadway; there's lots of pedestrians that are walking up and down, it's an open road which often allows for people to travel at faster speeds."

"So we want to get the message across to motorists to slow down, take it easy, and not be in such a rush to get home," Zacharias added.

"It's not worth it. It's important to give yourself extra time and also give yourself extra distance from other vehicles for extra braking time."

EXCUSES, EXCUSES

And then there are the commuters to try to talk their way out of getting a ticket.

"There are no excuses for speed and unfortunately, it won't get you out of a speeding ticket," explained Zacharias, who can recall a few stories he's heard while out of the job.

"One time, I pulled over a driver who said they were just testing their tires out [on Heritage Mountain Boulevard]. They wanted to see how they performed and they were going almost twice the speed limit... Another one that sticks out to me is the time a driver told me they were speeding to dry their car off after a car wash."

True or false, Zacharias encourages the public to "please slow down," especially since fall weather is creating shorter days, evenings getting darker sooner and more inclement conditions on the way for the Tri-Cities.

"With pedestrians out on the road as well, we want to make sure that everyone gets home safely at the end of the day."

ICBC states an average of nearly 30 people are killed every year in the Lower Mainland from speed-related crashes, and more than 80 across the province.

More information on driver safety and pedestrian awareness can be found on the provincial organization's website.

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