Edmonton police are sending out another warning about the increase in speeding on city streets.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions were announced in mid-March, the City of Edmonton told Global News that traffic volume has decreased in some areas by half.
But it appears some lead-foot drivers are using the empty streets as their own person race tracks.
Wednesday evening, police chief Dale McFee tweeted that speeds are getting “ridiculously dangerous,” and in one case a driver was caught speeding 117 kilometres an hour over the limit.
Sgt. Kerry Bates with the EPS Traffic Section said that speeder was pulled over on Anthony Henday Drive, which has a speed limit of 100 km/h.
“Any adjustment, any quick lane change by other drivers on the road could be a disaster at the speed,” Bates said.
“The higher speeds are a little more extreme, it appears.”
“Some of those are in 50 km/h, 60 km/h zones — so you’re looking at 100 km/h in a 50 zone.”
Since the end of March, EPS said about 100 drivers have been caught going at least 50 kilometres over the speed limit, and in some instances it has happened in the middle of the day.
The punishment for speeding more than 50 km/h over the posted limit can include fines of up to $2,000 and six demerit points, and the potential of a driver’s licence suspension of up to 90 days.
Chris Buyze, president of the Downtown Edmonton Community League, said speed and noise in the downtown has been an ongoing issue during the pandemic.
“With the streets being empty, some people are taking the opportunity to speed through our neighbourhood,” he said.
Buyze said complaints about the constant noise of vehicles ripping up and down downtown streets are mounting, and he added, “it’s also a real safety concern.”
City councillors have also raised the issue of noise complaints a few times during council meetings in recent weeks.
Bates said those noise and speed complaints are also coming from people living near Whyte Avenue.
Police said they are stepping up speed enforcement in those areas, adding since traffic courts in Alberta are closed due to the pandemic, officers aren’t tied up inside with court duties.
“Everyone is available to be out and doing enforcement,” Bates said.
“Hopefully if word gets around they’ll wake up and just observe their speedometers more closely.”