Fort St. John Doctor Against East Bypass Speed Limit Change

The East Bypass Road. File photo

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Dr. Paul Mackey, who has been practicing medicine for over 20 years in the Energetic City, has written a letter via email to the Ministry of Transportation outlining his concerns regarding discussion of possibly raising the East Bypass Road’s speed limit.

The proposal, which has not yet been adopted by the city for a vote, was raised at the May 24th Council meeting by Councillor Gord Klassen after a vote in favour of renaming the road “Northern Lights Drive” passed. The decision regarding the change in speed limit on the road ultimately rests with the provincial ministry.


In his letter, which was also sent to Coun. Klassen, Mayor Lori Ackerman, and, Dr. Mackey explains that the difference in travel time on the road at both 50 km/h and 60 km/h was roughly 39 seconds. Dr. Mackey states that he believes the potential for serious injury will increase by 25 percent should the speed limit be upped 10 km/h, citing a 2011 study by the American Automobile Association. Mackey also mentioned that should the limit be raised, it would incite drivers to simply drive even faster. Dr. Mackey did not return a phone call requesting an interview before publication.

The full text of Dr. Mackey’s letter can be found here:

Maria Butts

District Manager Transportation

Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure

Peace District Office

Suite 300 – 10003 110 Ave

Fort St John BC


Dear Maria

I am concerned that the M.O.T.  is considering increasing the speed limit on the East Bypass Rd around the hospital from 50km/hr to 60 km/hr (or even higher). Increasing the speed limit by just 10km/hr increases the risk of serious injury to pedestrians from 50% to 75% if an accident should occur. I did an (admittedly uncontrolled) experiment this morning. I drove the East Bypass from the intersection with 100th St to the intersection with 100th Ave first at 50mk/hr then 60km/hr. At 50km/hr it took me 5 min 4.68 secs. At 60km/hr it took 4 min 25.8 secs. Thus is seems to be inviting an unnecessarily dramatic increase in risk of serious pedestrian injury for the sake of 30 secs. I should point out that during my “experiment” I was travelling significantly more slowly than any other vehicle on the road at the time, even when travelling at 60mk/hr. Thus, increasing the speed limit will only invite drivers to drive even faster and thus the risk of serious injury will be even more than the 75%.

Thank you

 Dr Paul Mackey