With an uptick in traffic due to summer travel as well as the province’s reopening, a cone zone campaign and the Ridge Meadows RCMP is warning community members of the dangerous working conditions created for roadside workers.
Cst. Julie Klaussner of Ridge Meadows RCMP said that typically the summer months are when there are more construction zones.
“When driving through construction zones be alert to the workers and their equipment. Obey all the signs and allow for safe distances between vehicles to allow for any unforeseen circumstances and safe stopping. Plan ahead to know whether your area is impacted by road work so that you have enough time to get to your destination safely,” she said.
According to Louise Yako, program director for Road Safety at Work and spokesperson for the 11th annual province-wide Cone Zone awareness campaign, roadside work is a dangerous job. Between 2011 and 2020, 12 roadside workers were killed and 207 injured resulting in time loss, all over the province.
“With regional travel restrictions lifted and more activity on roads, we all need to do our part when driving to make sure roadside workers make it home to their family at the end of their shift without injury,” she said, adding that last year alone, 23 workers were injured after being hit by motor vehicles.
“One of the greatest risks to a roadside worker in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows is a motor vehicle being driven through their workplace,” Yako said. “Dangerous behaviour like speeding and distracted driving puts workers at risk – and drivers too.”
The cone zone awareness campaign, which will run until the end of August, encourages people to practise safe driving behaviour in cone zones, which are work areas set up to alert drivers that roadside workers are on site. Cone zones often use distinctive orange cones – but not always as at times, these cones are difficult to set up in certain areas, she explained. In those cases, reflective triangles and signage are used if possible.
When approaching a cone zone, “slow down and leave your phone alone” said Yako.
Not following the cone zone instructions could not only be dangerous but could also result in heavy fines such as $368 for using an electronic device when driving, $196 and up when speeding, $196 if caught disobeying a flag person and $121 if caught disobeying a traffic control device.
“We want to ensure everyone gets home safely and everyone needs to do their part,” said Cst. Klaussner.
More information on the cone zone campaign could be found here: https://www.conezonebc.com/
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