Fewer cars on streets amid coronavirus pandemic means uptick in racing, says Winnipeg councillor

Street racing has become more prominent in her ward over recent weeks, says Winnipeg Coun. Janice Lukes. Getty Images

A Winnipeg city councillor says she’s noticed a dramatic uptick in street racing in her ward now that there are fewer cars on the road due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Waverley West Coun. Janice Lukes told 680 CJOB on Monday that while street racing has always been a problem in her ward, it’s become worse in recent weeks.

“We have beautiful, brand-new roads in south Winnipeg, right? We’ve got a big strip called Kenaston South that comes off the perimeter that’s 80 kilometres an hour,” she said.

“It’s a little mini version of the Gimli drag strip, sometimes, if you ask me and residents.”

Newer roads in her ward mean smooth surfaces and no potholes to trip up drivers, said Lukes, and with people trying to practise social distancing, those walking on the street can become accidental targets.

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“It spills over onto the residential streets because everyone’s all revved up and then they’ve got to go park in their garage,” Lukes said.

“This is a recipe for disaster.”

In her ward, she says constituents tell her the racing begins in the middle of the night in a nearby grocery store parking lot. From there, it spills out onto the main roads.

But it’s not only happening in the middle of the night, said Lukes.

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Lukes said she has been working with Winnipeg police and that they are doing their best.

“They are seeing an uptake in speeding,” she said, noting that this is happening around the world.

Winnipeg police confirmed they’re seeing an increase, sending out a notice on social media Sunday saying that enforcement officers are still out on the roads.

Lukes said people need to do more than just complain — they need to report suspected violations.

Reporting can be done online, she added.

“If you just type on online police reporting Winnipeg, there’s a complete section for traffic,” she said.

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“They can’t police things they don’t know that aren’t happening.”

Click to play video: 'Police operation underway to stop illegal street racing in Calgary'
Police operation underway to stop illegal street racing in Calgary

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