Transportation

No Such Thing as a Fender-Bender

By RTH Staff
Published April 01, 2010

There's just no such thing as a fender-bender in this city. Instead, everything on our urban expressways is high-speed and dangerous.

Imagine an urban street network in which it just wasn't possible to engage in the kind of high-speed driving that ends in serious injury or death.

18 Comments

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Read Comments

[ - ]

By Really? (registered) | Posted April 01, 2010 at 16:52:31

How does one get into a fender-bender while zooming down an expressway @ 55km/h simply to make the next green?

BTW, drivers everywhere are terrible today --expect the same all weekend! And for the love of God, DON'T J-WALK! It's a suicide mission in this City!

Comment edited by Really? on 2010-04-01 15:53:15

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Michelle Martin (registered) - website | Posted April 01, 2010 at 19:05:45

This occurred around the corner from our house (we are actually about 5 houses north of Montclair), on the route that my 5 youngest kids take to and from school. I'm glad they stayed at school for lunch today. It was a high-speed police chase, though. Normally, no one speeds on this particular road-- it ends at a footpath that leads into Gage Park. The worst road for East-West speeding (besides King St. East, of course) is closer to the escarpment, on the edge of the neighbourhood: Lawrence Rd. The North-South routes, including Ottawa and Balmoral (our own street) are quite bad for speeding-- presumably, these folks are heading up to Lawrence Rd, which becomes an on-ramp for the southbound Red Hill Expressway...

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By matthewsweet (registered) | Posted April 02, 2010 at 09:38:15

Yes, the one way expressway style roads through the lower city are a bad thing for a variety of reasons that get mentioned frequently on RTH. This article is a bizarre misstep. Of course there are fender benders in this city. The funny thing is, they don't make the papers. I also have a hard time with using two collisions that apparently involved police to prove the point about our dangerous streets.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By John Neary (registered) | Posted April 02, 2010 at 13:14:03

@transitstudent: no one denies that police chases contributed to the collisions, at least not that I've heard. But streets that allow high speeds, restrict cross traffic, and provide poor visibility may also have contributed. Collisions can be multifactorial.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Michelle Martin (registered) - website | Posted April 02, 2010 at 14:18:50

My main problem with the Montclair accident was that it looks like the police were engaging in a high-speed chase through a residential neighbourhood at a time of day when children would be returning to school after lunch. Do cops not weigh risks/benefits? It's not like there was a kidnap victim in mortal danger in the vehicle. Why a high-speed chase over a suspected stolen item? It's a car-- not worth risking lives over.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By matthewsweet (registered) | Posted April 02, 2010 at 16:08:24

@John. the blog post certainly does not allow for the multi-factorial nature of accidents as you rightly suggest, hence my problem with it. The main assertion is that there are no minor accidents in the city, which is absurd taken on its own. It also attempts to use two accidents which involved the police (and need to be fully investigated) to prove the point. Its a flawed argument which is unnecessary considering how many strong arguments exist against current road design and traffic engineering in Hamilton and which have been stated many times on this site.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted April 02, 2010 at 21:29:26

Police chases can be very dangerous and people have been injuried or died. Michelle brings up a very good point, given that it was lunch time and children walking around.

I can till remember on mothers face when my brother got hit and killed by a car over 40 years ago, that memory stills holds very strong in my memory.

Drivers today, are very impatient to say the least, everybody is in a hurry to go nowhere.

Comment edited by grassroots are the way forward on 2010-04-02 20:29:51

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Ted Mitchell (registered) | Posted April 02, 2010 at 21:52:34

Insane isn't it.

Today I witnessed a young guy in a nice car honking, no, leaning on the horn for 5 seconds, twice within 5 blocks on Main west. Once, for jaywalkers, second time, for a car making an abrupt lane change but not in any way requiring emergency action.

Both times, he was coming up to a red light. What are these drivers thinking?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted April 03, 2010 at 00:04:14

Maybe someone should show that nice young man this video; gives a nice overview of life in the GTA : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZAZ_xu0D...

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By John Neary (registered) | Posted April 03, 2010 at 12:35:47

@transitstudent: you're right -- the blog post ought to have mentioned the police chases. I agree with you and Michelle that the police should not engage in high-speed chases without extremely good reasons to do so. I hope the investigations will shed some light and prevent further collisions of this nature.

I do not, however, think that it is inappropriate to reiterate the urban design factors that may have contributed to the collisions -- at least on Cannon. While I agree with you that they have been mentioned many times on this site, it is also true that no substantive change has yet occurred. And that's not entirely because of poor political organizing -- it's also because a lot of people don't yet agree that these streets are a problem.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Michelle Martin (registered) - website | Posted April 03, 2010 at 13:02:20

Normally, no one speeds on this particular road-- it ends at a footpath that leads into Gage Park. (me, above, referring to Montclair)

You know, when we walked by the crash site, it looked as if the crash was took place on Grosvenor (just around the corner from Montclair)-- a north-south route that leads to Lawrence Road at the south and King St. E at the north. I should have posted here to clarify that.

The thing is, our immediate neighbourhood is pretty driveable, walkable and bikeable for the most part, and the people who live around here behave politely and safely. The problem lies on the Lawrence Road and King St. East expressways- lots of speeding goes on there, and sometimes cars use the north-south routes through our neighbourhood as a detour to one of these two roads. It's not the design within our neighbourhood itself that is at fault-- rather, the problem lies in all the factors that converge to encourage speeding on the perimeter: the speeding sometimes spills over and past our front yards. This time, it was a getaway car.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted April 03, 2010 at 15:28:20

yea, let's not get carried away trying to make it sound like this blog posting is out of line due to the police involvement. Look at all the flower bouquets taped to street poles all over the lower city from people being killed by cars. it's a massive problem and the design shares the bulk of the blame. I spent some time in downtown Dundas today. Saw a suburban politician enjoying the stroll down a vibrant and people-filled King St while families rode the horse drawn carriage down the street and kids chased the Easter bunny around looking for eggs.

Knowing how big of a stink these suburban politicians and their residents make whenever two-way conversions are discussed for downtown Hamilton made me wish that we could convert King St in Dundas to 4-lanes, one-way with timed lights and signed transport truck routes.

Perhaps once the power brokers see their enjoyable Sat afternoon ritual greatly disturbed, it might cause them to stop and think twice about why folks like me don't deserve to enjoy a similar quality life in my neighbourhood.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By John Neary (registered) | Posted April 04, 2010 at 10:29:04

@Jason: well said.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By frank (registered) | Posted April 05, 2010 at 16:02:31

I was waiting at the lights at Gage and King where the guy got nailed by street racers a few years ago. Heard an engine revving and watched as a late model Blazer flew through the intersection...right past the flowers stuck on the pole...

Having said that, no one knows what the police were doing. If I'm not mistaken the article says "following" not chasing. Granted there should be risk/benefit analysis but don't lose sight of the fact that the criminals in the case were driving the car being followed not in the cruiser...

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted April 06, 2010 at 15:06:54

the blog post certainly does not allow for the multi-factorial nature of accidents as you rightly suggest, hence my problem with it.

Every accident is caused by multiple contributing necessary factors that reinforce each other to traffic effect. We've explored this idea in detail in other articles.

However, a necessary corollary to this is the fact that if you remove a necessary factor in a causal chain, you break the chain. There would be much fewer high speed collisions resulting in injuries and deaths if our road network was not optimized for high speed automotive travel.

Any sound engineering safety approach entails the premise that if you can't control what individuals do (and you usually can't), you must therefore design the system to limit the harmful consequences of individual actions.

The main assertion is that there are no minor accidents in the city, which is absurd taken on its own.

The assertion that there are no minor accidents was meant to be taken as sarcasm. Sorry if that wasn't clear.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By matthewsweet (registered) | Posted April 06, 2010 at 20:51:31

Every accident is caused by multiple contributing necessary factors that reinforce each other to traffic effect. We've explored this idea in detail in other articles.

However, a necessary corollary to this is the fact that if you remove a necessary factor in a causal chain, you break the chain. There would be much fewer high speed collisions resulting in injuries and deaths if our road network was not optimized for high speed automotive travel.

Once again, and if I haven't been clear about this I apologize, but I agree with everything that is being said here. I just don't understand why the blog post uses two collisions that involved the police, which in your words is a contributing necessary factor in these collisions but must also be acknowledged as a rare or special condition which distorts the impact of all other factors. There are plenty of good arguments and good case studies against the current state of traffic engineering and road safety in Hamilton. Why bother bringing in cases which can be so easily questioned? It only weakens your argument overall. That is my concern. The blog post in my mind smacks of tunnel vision, seeing only the issue you choose to see and ignoring the circumstances. Make your point well (as RTH so often does), or don't try to make it at all.

Comment edited by transitstudent on 2010-04-06 19:51:48

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By adam2 (anonymous) | Posted April 06, 2010 at 23:00:12

Hamilton could learn a lot from downtown Burlington when it comes to traffic calming measures. Brant St. was remodeled several years back in such a way to slow traffic... and it is effective. If a city with under 200k people can get it right, why not a city with over 600k? Someone has dropped the ball..

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Skully (anonymous) | Posted April 07, 2010 at 15:31:31

I live on Grosvenor and judging by the 15-foot skid marks from the police car and immediate eyewitness reports, the police car was chasing, not following, that van and going at a very high rate of speed. I emailed Bernie Morelli asking why, exactly, the police felt it necessary to engage in a high speed police chase through a residential neighbourhood at noon hour on a school day. What, exactly, is the protocol and why the hell didn't the officer follow it? This could've had hugely tragic consequences, nevermind the fact that an innocent bystander, who happened to be driving the SUV, is still in hospital with serious injuries.

If it's not the speeding idiots running red lights on King Street, it's our own police endangering our lives. Enough's enough, people...

Permalink | Context

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to comment.

Events Calendar

Recent Articles

Article Archives

Blog Archives

Site Tools

Feeds