Time to stop high-speed road racing

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Some of you are not going to like what I have to say, but here goes. I cannot believe that Bell Island town council and the provincial government are allowing the Targa race to happen on the island.

Most small communities in Newfoundland have houses that are built very close to the street, therefore, these cars travel at extreme rates of speed, right by their door.

Last year, one of these cars lost control in another community and hit a lady who was sitting watching the race.

This year on Bell Island, a car hit a utility pole and cracked it off, knocking out electricity to that area plus one of our water sheds is located in that area. When the power went out, it caused the water to back up and when the residents got their water again it was brown.

But that is the least of my worries — about 20 to 25 feet from that pole was a group of spectators. I thank God that it was a pole — this time.

Nobody even knew this race was happening on the island this year, there was nothing put in the mailboxes, no posters and no phone calls.

One street in particular was barred off on both ends; nobody could leave their driveways until the race was over.

Now, picture for a moment someone having a heart attack and an ambulance is called and the race has started.

As we know these cars cannot stop on a dime (or the utility pole wouldn’t have been hit), an ambulance is on its way, there is no access to this street.

Does the ambulance go to the patient and take a chance on being hit, or wait until someone gets word to these drivers to stop?

Seconds count in a life and death situation.

Are we going to wait until one of those cars travelling at an extremely high rate of speed goes through a house and kills one of our children or adults?

The only thing between the cars and the people is a ribbon. Are we willing to risk even one life?

Come on people, let’s put a stop to this, once and for all. 

Let them play in their own backyards, not ours.

Different stories

I was told by our council that the RCMP and our provincial government endorse this race.

I contacted the RCMP and was told “The RCMP does not endorse or participate in Targa. The road closures come under the authority of the government of Newfoundland and Labrador.” 

I also contacted my insurance company regarding property damage and was informed that if a car should go through my house, I would be covered once the $500 deductible was paid, plus my insurance may go up. They would go after Targa for the money.

As we know, some people, through no fault of their own, cannot afford insurance.

Who will take care of them and how quickly will the work be done? If a life is taken, then it doesn’t matter, because no money will bring back the life of your loved one.

They say that it brings money to the community but do the risks outweigh the money?

Only approximately eight cars come over here, in my opinion, to practice.

They arrive, do their races and leave. The hall that the local ladies cater to for lunch maybe makes, in my opinion, $400 to $500.

They do make a donation to figure skating.

But I ask you again: is any amount of money worth risking even one child’s life?

Jean FitzPatrick writes from Bell Island.

Organizations: RCMP

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Bell Island, Targa

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  • LaJarvus Monk
    October 29, 2013 - 20:32

    Some people can't afford insurance? Sorry, if you can't afford insurance then you can't afford your house, period. I'm so sick of this entitlement mentality around here where people don't want to take responsibility. Sell your house and get an apartment if you can't afford it. Stop expecting those around you to pick up the financial pieces when you don't bother to protect yourself.

  • Jean FitzPatrick
    October 29, 2013 - 19:48

    Since this letter I have received a response from the Provincial Government stating that, "The Provincial Government are NOT directly involved with Targa. NO APPROVAL is given for the use of the provincial roads impacted; rather it is left to the municipality to sanction the race." Therefore, in the event of injury, death or destruction of property both Targa & The Wabana Town Council are responsible!!

  • OldMAn
    October 29, 2013 - 08:00

    Your article is very misinformed. 1) Yes, last year there was an accident. A line was knocked down which caused a failure to a pump in your water utility building. Because of this some organic matter go into your water. When you ran your water for a little but the "brown" went away. Correct me if I am wrong but is your water still brown? This is just bickering. 2) The Targa organizers are in direct communication with EMS. If you need an ambulance, the cars are radioed to pull over. They don't have to race against the competing cars like in your fantasy here. Beside this, there are EMS on site, so if a medical emergency is needed, it is likely that you could possibly get it sooner then if an ambulance had to be dispatched. There ya go. Targa Saving lives. 3) Targa and its racers are covered by insurance. They have to be, no exceptions. If damage is done, then it will be replaced. The Targa race courses are not selected by randomly picking streets to race down. Every road and corner is selected for a reason and safety is #1. Organizers are not go to endanger anyone unnecessarily. Targa is a family event and something great for our province. They don't tie up our streets for any great period of time and they offer us some entertainment. Unfortunately accidents do happen, but this occurs in all and any sports! We can't stop this and if we did then there would be no sporting events (Hey! this is what you want). For my self and other who like to get outside and participate in these well organized and safe events, rather then sitting inside complaining about others. I say, Keep it up. We need more events like this to show off our beautiful province.