As if to emphasize the point, seven semis ran through yellow and red lights during the hour-and-a-half that a group of Salmon Arm residents protested at the side of the Trans-Canada Highway downtown Sunday.
Allison Morris, who is a flagger and has seen all kinds of bad driving behaviours, organized the protest in response to a rear-ender involving a semi at the intersection of the Trans-Canada Highway and Ross Street on Jan. 18 which resulted in the death of a baby. The baby’s mother, who was 31-weeks pregnant, was a passenger in the vehicle the semi hit. That vehicle was pushed into a pick-up truck ahead. The mom underwent a C-section, but the baby died two days later.
About 10 protesters turned out Sunday, some carrying signs urging vehicles to slow down through the intersections. Drivers going by responded with honks and waves.
“It’s not just the semis, it’s everyone, we all need to slow down,” Morris added after she provided the number of semis that ran lights.
One of the protesters, Ashley Berggren, knows all too well the damage collisions can wreak.
“I was almost killed by a semi – I was hit head-on at the Tappen Co-op,” she said, explaining the February 2014 crash involved a semi following too closely. “He crossed the centre line, couldn’t stop and hit me head on.”
She said drivers must be aware of what can happen when they speed or follow too closely.
“I feel like it’s therapeutic to be out here, it adds a little bit of awareness.”
Lyndsay Hynds echoed her comments.
“This is my best friend,” she said, motioning to Berggren standing next to her. “I was in the hospital right after it happened. It was extremely scary watching what she had to go through. Something needs to be done.”
Also protesting is Jordan Morris, Allison’s daughter, who explains that one reason she’s protesting speeding drivers is because her mom is.
The other reason: “I want to help support people, trucks need to know to slow down. A baby died, my brother was almost hit, our dog was hit and died.”
She pointed to the Alexander Street and Trans-Canada Highway intersection.
“While we were here, there was literally almost one (collision) right here – a semi almost hit the car in front of him.”
Jordan’s friend Rylee Kelly was also at the protest.
“I came because somebody I know almost got hit – the stroller got hit by a car.”
She also remembers being halfway across the sidewalk near the downtown activity centre when a vehicle nearly struck her.
Jordan’s mom Allison adds that her daughter and son are getting to the point they don’t want to cross the highway anymore.
Moore says she met with Stu Bradford, owner of the Barley Station Brew Pub, and they talked about putting a petition in his restaurant to demand changes. The next step might be to take it to city council.
She also hopes to go around to downtown businesses to gather their opinions on what should be done. As well, she plans to observe downtown intersections at peak hours.
Her goal is simple: “Just pretty much, slow down.” And she’s determined. “I’m not giving up, I’m going to keep going.”