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Surrey crosswalks under review in wake of fatal accident

Grade 12 student Amarpreet Sivia was killed when she was hit by a motorcycle as she crossed 128th street.


The City of Surrey will review a stretch of road that doesn't have a crosswalk near Princess Margaret Secondary after a 16-year-old girl was struck by a motorcycle and killed.

Amarpreet Sivia died Wednesday after she and two friends were hit as they crossed the street. The teens were hit on 128th Street near 68th Avenue.

Philip Bellefontaine, Surrey's transportation planning manager, said in an interview Thursday the city respects the RCMP investigation that is under way. However, he added the city will launch its own review in the next few days.

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Surrey has, over the past three years, completed safety reviews for each of its schools. A 2011 review cited students jaywalking across 128th as a concern. But the city ultimately decided a crosswalk wasn't warranted.

When asked whether the city could be accused of failing to act, Mr. Bellefontaine said: "It was identified within the report. The city did do something. We did follow up and review it in more detail. And applying this very objective approach of the warrant assessment showed that it wasn't something that we could support at the time."

He said an objective, methodical approach is necessary when it comes to crosswalk requests, since the city receives so many. He said the 2011 report didn't explicitly say a crosswalk was needed, just that it should be looked at more closely.

Mr. Bellefontaine said the review will be a formal assessment and will include information from traffic cameras and the monitoring of pedestrians, among other factors.

He said Wednesday's collision will also be considered before a decision is made.

The RCMP issued a public appeal in the case on Thursday, asking the driver of a vehicle that was passed by the motorcycle shortly before the crash to come forward. The initial investigation has determined the motorcycle was heading south on 128th when it changed lanes around another vehicle. The motorcycle then hit the students.

Surrey RCMP's criminal collision investigation team is working on the case, as is the integrated collision analysis and reconstruction service.

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The motorcyclist and one of the teens were taken to hospital in serious condition.

Friends have taken to social media to honour Amarpreet, with some remembering her kind spirit, and others her smile.

Doug Strachan, a spokesman for the Surrey school district, said the focus Thursday was on helping students manage their grief.

Surrey RCMP's school liaison officers and victim services have also offered their assistance.

Mr. Strachan said a message was read to students letting them know support is available if they need it. He said students were also told to be mindful of their safety on the street and to use crosswalks.

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