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Lights not the solution in Slocan tragedies, director says

A roadside memorial is seen at right at the spot where a 35-year-old Winlaw woman was struck and killed this summer on Highway 6. - Greg Nesteroff photo
A roadside memorial is seen at right at the spot where a 35-year-old Winlaw woman was struck and killed this summer on Highway 6.
— image credit: Greg Nesteroff photo

The Slocan Valley’s regional district director says the onus is on drivers and pedestrians to prevent tragedies like the ones that claimed the lives of two residents on Highway 6 this year.

“When you’re walking our roads, especially at night, have a flashlight and wear high-visibility clothing,” Walter Popoff told 103.5 The Bridge. “My suggestion to motorists is be aware of the circumstances around you.”

Last week a 22-year-old Winlaw man was struck and killed by a jeep in the 6600 block at Appedale. According to police, he was hitchhiking at the time. The driver was unable to avoid the man, whose name hasn’t been released.

In August, a 35-year-old woman was struck and killed by a semi-trailer in the 5900 block at Winlaw.

Popoff says aside from the fact both tragedies occurred on the same highway at night the circumstances were quite different. One was in a high-density area with a reduced speed limit, whereas the other was on a straight stretch.

Although neither area is well lit, Popoff doesn’t think street lighting is a practical solution.

“If we could have street lights along our rural roads that would be great, but it’s not feasible,” he said. “We’d basically have to light up the whole highway and I don’t think Fortis would accommodate that.”

Popoff said he isn’t sure there is anything inherently dangerous about the places where the two fatalities occurred and suggested they could just as easily have happened “on the North Shore, in Thrums … it’s not really area-specific.”

Popoff added that he often drives Highway 6 to evening meetings in Silverton and New Denver, and motorists have to watch for deer and elk in addition to pedestrians.

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