October 24, 2011, Kitchener, Ontario
Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer
Pedestrians, bicyclists and car drivers need to be very vigilant at intersections. Whether at a lighted intersection or a roundabout, car drivers need to be aware of pedestrians and bicyclists on the sidewalk as well as traffic. Between 2005 and 2010 there were 112 pedestrian accidents in Waterloo Region annually. At the same time, pedestrians need to ensure that they have the attention of car drivers and bicyclists need to slow down and exercise extra caution when entering an intersection.
As reported by the Waterloo Region Record
October 31, 2011
Not even crosswalk signals guarantee safety
WATERLOO REGION — Critics taking aim at roundabouts say crosswalks aren’t safe without a signal to stop traffic.
Sarah MacIntyre has learned there’s not always safety in a crosswalk signal.
Her son Tanner, 12, was recently hit by a van while crossing at Courtland Avenue and Shelley Drive in Kitchener. Tanner was riding his bicycle but now knows he’s supposed to dismount.
Tanner’s OK, but MacIntyre is rattled. She wants a speed warning or a Watch for Children sign installed.
“I don’t want further damage to any other kid,” she said, complaining that people are driving too fast and not paying attention.
A pedestrian was struck last year at the same intersection by a left-turning pickup that failed to yield. The pedestrian, 32, suffered minor injuries, collision records show.
Collisions like these occur frequently, but don’t always make the news.
On average, 112 pedestrians are struck annually on our busiest commuter routes, according to an analysis by The Record of collisions on regional roads between 2005 and 2010.
That’s about two pedestrians per week. On average, just over two pedestrians are killed each year and a dozen others suffer major injuries.
Almost half the pedestrians who get hit are crossing at traffic signals with the right of way. More than half the time, drivers are turning left. About one-third of the time, drivers are turning right.
These collisions help persuade Kitchener Coun. Jim Wideman that roundabouts are safer for pedestrians, even after a Grand River Transit bus hit and badly injured a teen at the new roundabout in Kitchener at Homer Watson Boulevard and Block Line Road.
The high-profile collision has sparked a roundabout backlash, overshadowing arguments by traffic planners that circles are safer due to slower speeds, shorter crossing distances and greater alertness.
“We need to take a step back and recognize how serious our crashes and our pedestrian incidents are at both lighted and unlighted intersections,” Wideman said.
The most frequent way pedestrians are hit is when a left-turning vehicle hits someone coming from the opposite direction who has just stepped off the curb.
“We believe this happens most frequently because motorists commit to turns once they find a gap, unfortunately in many cases, into the pathways of crossing pedestrians,” said Bob Henderson, regional manager of transportation engineering.
Collision records show downtown intersections in Kitchener and Waterloo and university areas in Waterloo are among the most common places for pedestrians to get hit. Traffic planners say the high number corresponds to high pedestrian traffic.
Sites where pedestrians actually face the most danger are at intersections that see more collisions than anticipated by the amount of pedestrian traffic.
Planners have equipped some of the most dangerous sites with crosswalk signals that count down the seconds left for pedestrians to cross.
It’s hoped this will help drivers and pedestrians better understand the space they share.
Most dangerous places to walk
These intersections saw more pedestrians hit than expected by the amount of pedestrian traffic between 2005 and 2010.
1. Bridgeport Road at King Street, Waterloo. Nine pedestrian collisions when two expected.
2. Hespeler at Avenue roads, Cambridge. Six collisions when one expected.
3. Victoria Street at Fischer-Hallman Road, Kitchener. Six collisions when one expected.
4. Hespeler Road at Munch Avenue, Cambridge. Five collisions when one expected.
5. Wellington at Main streets. Cambridge. Four collisions when less than one expected.
6. Duke at Ontario streets, Kitchener. Four collisions when less than one expected.
7. Franklin Boulevard at Saginaw Parkway, Cambridge. Five collisions when two expected.
8. King at Central streets, Kitchener. Four collisions when one expected.
9. Frederick at Edna streets, Kitchener. Four collisions when one expected.
10. Highland at Westmount roads, Kitchener. Five collisions when two expected.
Source: Waterloo regional government