A recent collision between a logging truck and a Ford F-350 on a forest service road near Invermere is shining a light on the importance of backroad safety and communication in B.C.
A photo of the collision has been shared on Facebook thousands of times, with Search and Rescue, contracting companies and locals calling for the use of radios on active forest service/resource roads. No one was injured in this particular incident, according to reports.
Emcon Services, which is a contracting company that works across B.C. and Alberta, re-shared the photo of the incident, stating that anyone who is travelling on an active forest service road (FSR) or resource road (RR) should have a radio with them, ensure they are using the correct channel and call kilometres whether empty or loaded.
If you’re travelling on an FORESTRY SERVICE ROAD, make sure you have a radio with the correct channel, and you know how…
An important safety reminder to all of us who use backcountry roads. Radios can help prevent accidents on back roads. Thankfully no one was injured in this incident.
Thank you for sharing Pat!
Simon Rizzardo, who is a Manager with a division of Emcon, says the company shared the post because it hits close to home.
“We’ve had a couple of close calls. A few years back we had a grader get hit by a logging truck up in Quesnel,” Rizzardo said. “Why that happened — it had to have been a communication thing. Were you on the right channel? Were you communicating your kilometres?”
He compared the importance of having a 2-way radio to having gas in your car.
“It’s one of those have-to-have’s,” he said.
FSRs and RRs are primarily used by industrial vehicles. As the Province of B.C. website states, these roads are used for vehicles engaged in mining, forestry, oil and gas or agriculture operations. They also provide access to many recreational opportunities.
While many people who live in B.C. are familiar with FSRs and have travelled on them many times, they may not have come across a logging truck or otherwise industrial vehicle. These vehicles have the right of way and as Emcon’s post explained, may not have time to stop.
“Logging trucks are all talking to one another. If you’re in a little car and the trucks don’t know you’re there, they will come barrelling down the road. And they have the right of way,” Rizzardo said, adding that he has a radio installed in each of his vehicles, and carries a hand-held when he is in someone else’s.
Many FSRs are narrow, especially during the winter months, and do not allow for two vehicles to occupy the road at one time. Often times there is no safe place to stop and pull over if a logging truck or grader is headed your way. Having a radio can help you anticipate the arrival of a truck, and vice versa.
A proper radio is an investment. They range in price but typically cost around $400 to $500, Rizzardo says, plus install.
Wilf Mulder oversees national dealer sales for Kenwood and resides in B.C. He says that it’s a no brainer to have a radio if you’re travelling on RRs and that there are industry professionals who can help to get you set up.
“You want to make sure you go to your local, authorized communications dealer because they have the local knowledge. They have knowledge of RR radios and the correct channels to program. They are experts who can provide authorized and certified radios,” Mulder explained.
Kootenay Communications is the local service provider for the East Kootenay region and have many years of experience. They are a trusted source for configuring radios and ensuring that they are certified and programmed properly.
Both Rizzardo and Mulder cautioned against buying a radio that is uncertified in order to save money.
“If you’re using an uncertified radio on RR channels, there is a potential for a fine,” Mulder said. “But my bigger concern would be safety. If the radio isn’t programmed correctly, you won’t be able to communicate properly.”
Rizzardo says that radios should have a minimum of 40 channels, 35 for RR channels and five for load channels.
If you don’t have a radio and you’re headed to an active RR, Rizzardo says best practice is to wait at the gate until a logging truck arrives.
“Follow them up, because they will be calling their own kilometres and your position all the way up,” he said.
If you are using a radio, call your kilometre locations and indicate whether you are travelling ‘up’ or ‘down’. Always call your location starting from the parking lot, when entering onto a new road and at the ‘must call’ signs.
There are several other safety factors to consider when travelling on active RRs including driving to the conditions and speed limit. Some RRs don’t have a posted speed limit, but according to provincial regulations it is the driver’s responsibility to travel speeds that reflect the road conditions. If there is no posted speed limit, the maximum speed on an RR in B.C. is 80 kilometres per hour.
The following are posted as active forest road safety guidelines:
– When entering onto an active logging road, proceed with extreme caution
– Never attempt to pass a logging truck. If it pulls over, it is most likely preparing to meet another truck
– Always yield the right-of-way to logging trucks
– There are many wide spots along the way; anticipate the location of the loaded truck and pull into a wide spot before you meet and wait for the truck to pass
– When pulling over into a wide spot, park as far up as possible to leave room behind you for others
For Forest Service Road Use Regulation Laws – click here. For the resource road safety guide – click here. To contact Kootenay Communications visit their website at kootenaycomm.com or give them a call at 250-426-8251.
Another good video on RR channels in the back country.
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