LACONIA — A sharp curve where Scenic Road turns into Watson Road near The Weirs needs better signs to prevent serious traffic accidents like the one that critically injured a motorcyclist this spring and one that killed another motorcyclist last year, Charlie St. Clair said Tuesday.
St. Clair, executive director of the Laconia Motorcycle Week Association, said the present signs are not sufficient. He first brought up the issue at the City Council meeting Monday night.
There is one on either side of the curve, and three chevrons, or arrows, in the curve.
“It’s an unforgiving curve whether you are in a car or a motorcycle,” St. Clair said, standing on the road’s shoulder. “If you drift over a couple inches from here it can be fatal.
“We know we have a problem here because we keep having accidents here.”
The first sign doesn’t adequately warn of the curve’s danger and by the time motorists see the chevrons, it can be too late, said St. Clair, a Democratic state representative.
“Let’s try some digital signs that flash when a car is approaching with an arrow showing where you need to go,” he said. “Why not something that says, ‘Dangerous curve ahead.’ We’re not making that up. The facts bear that out. It’s a dangerous curve.
“So if we can mitigate accidents, even if we have two less accidents a year, wasn’t it worth it?”
Public Works Director Wes Anderson said the speed limit in the area is 30 mph, and a lower speed limit will be posted on the initial curve signs.
He said it’s not clear the signage was to blame in the accidents that have occurred there.
“You have to determine the cause of those accidents,” he said. “Are they going too fast, faster than the posted speed limit? There’s nothing we can do about that. Were they inebriated?”
Police Chief Matt Canfield said that during Motorcycle Week, a temporary light tower is placed near the curve and police enforcement of the speed limit is stepped up.
“Certainly we have had a number of accidents there,” he said. “It is a sharp curve. It is pretty well marked. Not all, but a number of the collisions have been the direct result of speed and/or alcohol.”