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Online maps show crash hot spots

May 31 2012

Potential dangers on the road are highlighted by a new series of interactive online maps produced by the Insurance Corp. of B.C.

The provincewide maps, launched on the ICBC website, show everything from the worst intersections in an area for motor-vehicle collisions to incidents involving cyclists and pedestrians.

While it comes as little surprise that the website puts Hillside Avenue/Shelbourne Street and Douglas Street/Gorge Road East/Hillside Avenue atop the list of City of Victoria trouble spots, ICBC spokesman Mark Jan Vrem said the mapping project brings together key statistics for the first time.

"This is data that we've had in our data bank for quite a while," Jan Vrem said. "We've been filling individual requests for this information for many, many years.

"We do get a lot requests for data from police, from the media, from various stakeholders and the general public, as well."

The intent of the online maps and data is to make information more readily available, Jan Vrem said.

"We finally realized that it would be more transparent and user-friendly if we just made the data available to whomever wants it."

Jan Vrem said people can look at the maps while considering five years of data for various intersections, or check on individual years if they choose. A search can be refined by clicking on a particular intersection, which takes users to a Google map of the site.

"It's really a graphic reminder of how many crashes there are in British Columbia and which intersections are the most dangerous," he said.

"Hopefully, drivers will take away from that the need for extra caution when driving."

The mapping concept has a strong supporter in Chris Foord, chairman of the Capital Regional District Traffic Safety Commission.

"Putting more information in the hands of all drivers is a good idea," Foord said.

"What we want, at dangerous intersections especially, is for people to pay a bit of extra attention."

Foord said the maps can also help people travelling to other cities to check spots to watch for.

Saanich police Sgt. Dean Jantzen called the maps a good way to increase public awareness.

ACCIDENT ZONES

According to ICBC figures for 2007-11, a sampling of the mostdangerous intersections in area municipalities includes:

? Saanich - Patricia Bay Highway and Sayward Road: 338 crashes

? Victoria - Hillside Avenue and Shelbourne Street: 344 crashes

? Sidney - Beacon Avenue and Patricia Bay Highway: 203 crashes

? Esquimalt - Admirals Road and Island Highway: 196 crashes

? Colwood - Ocean Boulevard and Island Highway: 154 crashes

? Sooke - Murray Road and Otter Point Road: 38 crashes To view the maps, go to icbc.com/aboutICBC/news_room/icbc_facts.

jwbell@timescolonist.com

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