An email was sent to municipal election candidates this week, saying that the number of large signs posted in the area of Old Yale and Maclure roads might have been a factor in a serious pedestrian collision on Tuesday.
The email from city clerk Bill Flitton was sent Tuesday and was done so at the request of the Abbotsford Police Department (APD), said Const. Paul Walker.
The email asked that candidates remove large election signs from the location and use only “the small plastic signs on the small metal frames.”
They were requested to do so by noon Wednesday. The email stated that any large signs remaining at Old Yale and Maclure after that time would be removed by city staff.
An 18-year-old boy remains in critical condition after being struck while he was using the crosswalk in that area on Tuesday at about 7:15 a.m.
A small vehicle was travelling east on Maclure Road and the driver struck the teen as she was turning right into the yield lane on Old Yale Road.
An air ambulance landed in the nearby baseball diamond at Ellwood Park, and the teen was transported to a Vancouver-area hospital.
The female driver remained on scene and co-operated with police, Walker said.
He said APD collision reconstructionists look at several factors when considering the cause of a crash, including lighting, road conditions and sight-line obstructions.
In this case, it was determined that large election signs might have been a factor, although it is not definitive.
“Some of the larger signs that were erected on the median portion were a possible sight-line obstruction for the pedestrian being able to see drivers and a possible distraction for the drivers,” Walker said.
He said police asked that the email be distributed to election candidates and the large signs be removed in “the interest of public safety.”
Walker said officers have been told that as they are travelling around the city, to make note of any other areas of concern and those areas will be addressed.
Mayor Bruce Banman said candidates are encouraged to ensure that their signs meet city bylaws, and city staff will be checking to verify the guidelines are followed.
“Anything we can do to help people exercise their democratic right on Nov. 15 is important, but safety has to come first,” he said.
A portion of the city’s bylaw that addresses political signs states that “signs on city property shall not obstruct or otherwise interfere with sight lines or movement of motor vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists or any other highway traffic …”
City communications director Katherine Treloar said that when the city becomes aware of possible contraventions of the bylaw, “it determines the level of compliance activity, especially in terms of public safety.”
The municipal election takes place Nov. 15, with 30 candidates running for council, two for mayor and 16 for the board of education.