Malahat victim’s children call for safety upgrades
Cale and Gizelle Grant want to ensure their dad’s tragic death leads to road improvements on the Malahat, a stretch of the TransCanada Highway known for fatal crashes.
Colin Grant, 54, was heading toward Victoria on his Harley-davidson Saturday when about 3:45 p.m. a northbound PT Cruiser veered into oncoming traffic and struck him head-on. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Seeing improvements to the Malahat would mean “something good” will come from his father’s death, Cale said.
Their dad had an impeccable driving record, his children said. He was never in an accident before this and had been riding a motorcycle since “before he was even legal,” Cale said.
A medical issue affecting the driver of the PT Cruiser might have been a factor in the crash, according to South Island Traffic Services officers. Investigators have ruled out speed, alcohol or drugs as contributing factors. Road conditions were dry and clear.
The journey was a routine for Colin Grant. He would ride to Lake Cowichan and back almost every weekend, said Gizelle, 24. “It was his life. He loved to ride,” she said. “I worried about him every time he left the house, but he was such a safe driver, it’s almost unbelievable this could happen.”
The last time she saw her dad was when he went out to pick up a painting he had commissioned, showing him riding his motorcycle through Death Valley National Park in California. She said the image of their dad on a bike in Death Valley is a bit “eerie” for Cale, 25, but it stands as a reminder of their dad’s passion for riding.
Grant was a master warrant officer with the Department of National Defence in Greater Victoria. The native of Antigonish, N.S., joined the military right out of high school, after moving to B.C., and stayed for 33 years. In 2007, he joined the Air Reserve Flight at 443 Squadron in North Saanich.
His wife, Sylvia, was serving on an overseas mis- sion with the Royal Canadian Air Force at the time of the crash.
A Riders for Safety event has been organized for Saturday by the Vancouver Island Safety Council, a non-profit group dedicated to improving road safety. The ride begins at 2:45 p.m. at Ogden Point and will end at the legislature by 3:45.
The group would like to see more barriers dividing the Malahat’s lanes.
B.C. officials are reviewing whether more barriers are needed, said Transportation Minister Blair Lekstrom. “There’s medians along the Malahat on certain stretches,” said Lekstrom. “There has to be the ability to put them there, you can’t just go put a median down the middle part of every highway.”
There have been 14 Malahat fatalities since 2000, including two on motorcycles since July. The provincial government has spent $9.7 million in upgrades to the Malahat since 2001.
NDP MLA Bill Routley, whose Cowichan Valley riding includes part of the Malahat, said the fatality rate is “totally unacceptable” and the government needs to call a meeting of emergency responders to get ideas for change. “Something needs to be done and there has to be a thorough review of what options are available.”