Special Report: Walkable Streets

13-Year-Old Pedestrian Struck at Mud Street and Winterberry Drive

We need to stop blaming people for being human and start blaming our streets for punishing normal, predictable human behaviour with tragedy.

By Ryan McGreal
Published December 21, 2015

Hamilton's dangerous-by-design street network continues to expose the city's most vulnerable road users to elevated risk of injury and death. On Friday, December 18 at 5:35 PM, a 13-year-old boy ran south on Winterberry Drive and tried to dart across Mud Street against the traffic signals.

Winterberry Drive and Mud Street (Image Credit: Google Maps)
Winterberry Drive and Mud Street (Image Credit: Google Maps)

According to the Hamilton Police report, he "narrowly missed being struck by a westbound vehicle" but was then hit by a 58-year-old man driving eastbound in the curb lane in a pickup truck, who had just exited the Red Hill Valley Parkway. (West of Winterberry, Mud turns into an on- and off-ramp for the Red Hill Valley Parkway and Lincoln M. Alexander Parkway.)

The driver remained on scene and attended to the boy until emergency services arrived. The boy was then rushed to hospital by ambulance with life-threatening injuries.

If you witnessed anything and have not already spoken to the police, please contact Detective-Constable Niblock at 905-546-4753.

The Blame Game

The police report makes it clear that the 13-year-old "proceeded to run south across the busy roadway without the right of way" and that "Alcohol was not a factor in this collision".

However, for a long time I have tried to argue that in these cases, assigning blame is not the most important consideration from a policy perspective. Rather, we have to ask: Can we design the street so that it is inherently safer for everyone?

Can we reduce the cost of a bad decision, a moment of recklessness, the distraction and carelessness every one of us will experience from time to time, so that when someone makes a mistake, the result isn't serious injury or death?

Look at the design of Mud Street at Winterberry:

Looking west across Winterberry Drive from Mud Street (Image Credit: Google Street View)
Looking west across Winterberry Drive from Mud Street (Image Credit: Google Street View)

The street is extremely wide: two wide westbound lanes, a lane-width buffer, a left-turn lane, a narrow raised median and two eastbound lanes. Pedestrian affordance here is an afterthought - I would be nervous crossing the street on foot here even if I had a green traffic signal.

This is yet another "stroad", a street/road hybrid that is designed like a highway but also nominally serves local residential destinations, bringing high-speed vehicle traffic - in this case, much of it velocitized by being on the Red Hill/Linc - in dangerous contact with those pedestrians brave or desperate enough to venture out into hostile territory.

Inevitable Conflicts

Consider all the houses in the blocks around that intersection, all of them single-family homes with no integrated small-scale retail. If you want to buy anything, you need to get either to the strip plaza at Mud Street and Paramount Drive or the the Meadowlands East big-box development at Stone Church and Upper Mountain Albion Road.

Neither destination affords a walking- or cycling-friendly route, so people who can't drive - and that set includes many senior citizens and every teenager under the age of 16 - is stuck navigating the stroads.

We have designed our street environment that makes collisions like this one with a 13-year-old pedestrian and the fatal collision two weeks ago with an 81-year-old pedestrian at Queenston Road just west of the Red Hill an inevitability.

This or that party might be "at fault" in a given incident, but the real fault lies with a street system that punishes inevitable errors in judgment with trauma and death.

Our street system disproportionately punishes senior citizens and children, the most vulnerable road users and those with the fewest alternative options in how to get around.

Speed Always a Factor

The police report included an interesting observation: "the posted highway speed will be a contributing factor."

Normally, when a driver is not exceeding the legal speed limit, the police media report notes, "Speed was not a factor." What this means is that the driver was not "speeding", i.e. illegally exceeding the speed limit. However, I have argued in the past that it is misleading to put it this way, since the vehicle's speed is certainly a factor in both the likelihood and severity of a collision.

The kinetic energy of a moving vehicle is an exponential function of its speed. That means if you double the speed of a vehicle, you quadruple its kinetic energy; and if you increase the speed four times, you increase the kinetic energy 16 times.

That exponential increase in kinetic energy affects both the stopping distance, which makes it harder to avoid a collision; and also the level of damage if a collision does occur.

This is borne out in the traffic fatality data. When a vehicle travelling at 30 km/h collides with a pedestrian, the pedestrian has a 5 percent chance of dying from the collision. At 48 km/h, the fatality risk increases to 45 percent, and at 64 km/h the fatality risk increases to 85 percent.

This is why, for example, Edinburgh, Bristol, Paris and many other cities have been moving to a citywide speed limit of 30 km/h: at that speed, most errors in judgment are not deadly.

It's also why the Ontario Coroner has recommended reducing the default unsigned speed limit to 40 km/h and residential streets to 30 km/h on Ontario Streets.

It is not yet clear whether the pickup truck driver was exceeding the speed limit, but again, aside from deciding how to apportion blame it doesn't really matter. Even a legal speed of 50-60 km/h is high enough to kill a huge percentage of pedestrians who are stuck at that speed.

Until we decide that preventing injury and death is more important than saving commuters a minute or two and start changing how we design our streets, these tragedies will continue, one after another, in spates and clusters that provoke eruptions of outrage and defensiveness and finger-pointing.

If our streets were consumer products, we would be demanding a recall. Enough is enough. We need to stop blaming people for being human and start blaming our streets for punishing normal, predictable human behaviour with tragedy.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

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By fmurray (registered) | Posted December 21, 2015 at 10:35:34

Who among has walked along a street and cringed as that vehicle came roaring up the curb lane to "make the light" or "pass on the inside".

This area of Stoney Creek mountain should have severely reduced posted speed limits due to the expected increase in pedestrian traffic. Also, pedestrian crossings should be narrowed for easier crossing. The stores there are designed for shoppers in vehicles, but as you say, there are thousands of houses in that area, with children who may want to go to the movies. They should be able to safely do that.

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted December 21, 2015 at 11:09:19

Children will inevitably behave in ways that are immature. It is insane to have an environment in which it is dangerous for children to have normal child behaviour.

There are alternatives that we can fight for! See:

http://www.childhoodfreedom.com/

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By Suburbanite (anonymous) | Posted December 21, 2015 at 12:42:34

Ryan, you missed a very important point. The eastbound traffic speed limit at that intersection is 90 km per hour!!! It does not "reduce" down to 70 km until vehicles pass through that intersection. This might explain the odd police notation regarding the "highway speed being a contributing factor. We have other "insane" speed limits in Stoney Creek but not as ludicrous at that particular spot. Absolutely no one can blame the child in this case. A residential crosswalk on a highway (and the posted speed limit) is completely due to the design approved by the city.

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By who not drunk? (anonymous) | Posted December 21, 2015 at 12:59:10

"Alcohol was not a factor in this collision". They mean, the boy wasn't drinking? Idiotic news and police reports don't clarify

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By LedPencilPusher (registered) | Posted December 21, 2015 at 13:00:30

I live in this neighbourhood (on the north side of Mud near Old Mud/Winterberry), and this intersection scares the pants off me every time we cross it to get to the Heritage Green shopping centre (Cineplex, Indigo, etc). The whole intersection is really dangerous.

There are only 2 marked pedestrian crossings at the intersection, being on the south side and the east side. So if you want to "safely" cross the street, you need to use one of those two. What I don't understand is this: there is a bus stop on the north west corner, so if you are getting on or off the bus here, there is no way you can get from that bus stop to the plaza without jay-walking or using the unmarked portion of the intersection. Additionally, there is no sidewalk on the west side of Winterberry (north of Mud), just a gravel shoulder. If the 13 year-old was hit crossing the street by a car turning right off the highway, he would've been travelling from where that bus stop is to get to the shopping centre.

The signal crossing on the eastern side of the intersection (to cross north to south) is really short and if you're pushing a stroller or have small kids (like we do), there's barely enough time to cross the street, even with the pedestrian button activated. Additionally, with the long yellow (for cars travelling east/west) and cars travelling at speeds usually 80+ km/hr, it's really dangerous. The posted limit is 70 km/hr, but nobody drives at that speed on that road at that intersection. You're coming off the highway or getting off the highway and people are routinely travelling much faster.

The pedestrian markings are just a pair a while lines so you don't even really notice them when you're driving. The city really needs put in some zebra crossings and better markings. Pedestrians are barely even an afterthought here, and I don't think most drivers even notice that they're there trying to cross the street.

There are bike lanes on Winterberry, but they are always blocked by cars turning right. Also, if you're travelling south on Winterberry by bike, you're sitting on an up-hill right at the intersection, so it takes a bit to get going, and there's cars trying to get around you to turn right (even though it's not really wide enough to do so) to get on the highway.

I really, really wish the city would fix this intersection. I don't feel remotely safe crossing it, and I'm sure I'm not the only one.

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By Mack (anonymous) | Posted December 22, 2015 at 13:58:06 in reply to Comment 115755

LedPencilPusher. I 100% agree with you. I live in the area as well and i can tell you that it scares me to cross at that intersection. Half the time the lights do not work. I go for walks frequently and i have waited 3 lights (continually pushing the signal) and it never changes. I have had to cross on a do not walk signal. Just a matter of time for something worse to happen.

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By fmurray (registered) | Posted December 24, 2015 at 11:03:08 in reply to Comment 115792

Mack, you need to complain to your Councillor. This is a common problem with the installation of pedestrian crossing signals. The buttons do not work until someone complains.

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By JasonL (registered) | Posted December 21, 2015 at 20:13:30 in reply to Comment 115755

This is a city-wide problem. It would be amazing sometime to get a coalition of residents from every corner of the city to present a unified voice to city council on such crazy, life-threatening designs. Your intersection sounds like King and Main at Dundurn. Crazy speeds, no crossing on 1 side, busy transit zone, retail/residential uses in walking distance etc.....

The city needs to stop with these awful designs regardless of whether some councillors want it or not. Your family, and every other one, deserves to be able to safely live in their own neighbourhoods.

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By AP (registered) | Posted December 21, 2015 at 16:52:50 in reply to Comment 115755

"There are only 2 marked pedestrian crossings at the intersection, being on the south side and the east side."

This practice is in place all across the city. The motivation is obvious, but terribly shortsighted, frustrating and ineffective.

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By Suburbanite (anonymous) | Posted December 21, 2015 at 13:09:09

The posted speed is 70 km if you're driving west to get on the RHVP/LINC, but it's still 90 km if you're travelling east coming off the RHVP/LINC; which is the direction of the truck was travelling that hit this poor child. The intersection definitely needs to be fixed!

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By industrious (anonymous) | Posted December 21, 2015 at 16:35:51

consider the difference between how industrial or commercial accidents are handled compared to roadway accidents. in those situations where a worker dies or is severly injured it is not treated as "a shame but oh well" the ministry of labour is brought in and things change. why? because workers are seen as being vulnerable in dangerous environments regardless of fault. if a worker makes a mistake and is killed it is treated as a fault in the design of the work environment and steps are taken to reduce those dangers even if the cause is gross negligence.
we need to start treating our roads in the same manner. we dont build stairs without railings and then blame the child or senior for falling.

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By Suburbanite (anonymous) | Posted December 21, 2015 at 17:20:47 in reply to Comment 115760

Would that responsibility not fall to the Chief Coroners office. Looks to me like it's a community safety issue not unlike recommendations made recently for pools.

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By JasonL (registered) | Posted December 21, 2015 at 20:09:38

A child was killed along the 198 expressway in Buffalo earlier this year. Within weeks the speed limit had been dropped to 30mph, lanes significantly narrowed, entry ramps shortened and stop signs placed at the entrance ramps to the expressway.

http://www.buffalonews.com/city-region/n...

We've had a pile of fatalities recently and not only would Hamilton never consider narrowing lanes or drastically dropping speed limits, but we have a councillor actively working to oppose ANY safety improvements in half the city.

21st Century in Hamilton. Best place to do something other than raise a child.

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By jim (anonymous) | Posted December 22, 2015 at 06:17:40

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted December 22, 2015 at 10:05:52 in reply to Comment 115770

So cars should only be allowed on restricted access highways and not on our residential and business streets? I can get behind that...

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By jim (anonymous) | Posted December 23, 2015 at 04:00:24 in reply to Comment 115777

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By slimjim (anonymous) | Posted December 23, 2015 at 07:15:50 in reply to Comment 115811

Yes, please stop trying to impose not-dying on people! Getting there a minute faster is way more important than not killing people who get in your way!

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By kev (anonymous) | Posted December 22, 2015 at 07:18:26

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By JasonL (registered) | Posted December 22, 2015 at 10:38:41 in reply to Comment 115772

Like the now deceased woman was on Queenston Road? Or how about on the sidewalk like the now deceased man was on York Blvd?

Maybe we should limit the source of the constant killing.
You know, like we do with guns, factory emissions, drugs.......

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted December 22, 2015 at 10:04:51 in reply to Comment 115772

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By red light runner (anonymous) | Posted December 22, 2015 at 12:01:16

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted December 22, 2015 at 12:18:40 in reply to Comment 115782

You missed the whole point of the article.

The goal is not to decide whose "fault" it was, but to design streets to be safe (i.e. fault-tolerant).

If we were satisfied with assigning blame for injuries and deaths, our world would be a far more dangerous place.

We're not content with "train and blame" in dealing with industrial accidents or the design of consumer products, and we shouldn't be happy with the thousands of deaths and injuries our street designs reliably produce each and every year. That is the idea behind "Vision Zero".

To take just one (obvious) example: modern cars are designed with all sorts of passive and active safety features to protect their occupants from collisions ... even if those collisions are the fault of the driver! Freeways are designed with barriers and controlled access to protect motorists. Would you really like to go back to the safety standards of 1950s era automobiles and just rely on drivers being careful instead? The big drop in deaths and injuries for motorists since the 1950s is largely due to safer vehicles and safer street designs (for motorists).

Would you like to fly in planes with no safety features, other than big stickers reminding pilots and mechanics to "be careful"?

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2015-12-22 12:21:01

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By red light runner (anonymous) | Posted December 22, 2015 at 12:23:41 in reply to Comment 115784

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted December 22, 2015 at 12:28:17 in reply to Comment 115785

It matters legally, to determine liability (civil and criminal).

But it doesn't matter if you're trying to make a piece of equipment safe. Have you ever filled out at a workplace accident form? "Not being careful" is not a sufficient explanation for the accident, and telling people to be more careful is not an acceptable response. Of course, people should try to be careful, but actual people are not perfect, which is why equipment and procedures need to be fault-tolerant. If people keep being killed or injured by a piece of equipment it is not good enough to complain that "they were not following procedure".

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2015-12-22 12:59:37

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted December 22, 2015 at 20:24:31 in reply to Comment 115787

Have you ever filled out at a workplace accident form?

Yes. I filled one out earlier this year for someone who walked into a 'pull' door thinking it was a 'push' door, and got a bloody nose from it. "Not paying attention" was the cause of the accident.

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted December 23, 2015 at 07:34:19 in reply to Comment 115809

At McMaster we were told in training on workplace safety that that sort of explanation was NOT acceptable (the specific example was "trips and falls"). Maybe your workplace hasn't been reviewed on the quality of its reports!

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted December 27, 2015 at 13:56:14 in reply to Comment 115815

Yeah, maybe. Or maybe your point just isn't valid.

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By slumjum (anonymous) | Posted December 23, 2015 at 07:17:32 in reply to Comment 115809

I'm a call BS on your BS

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By red light runner (anonymous) | Posted December 22, 2015 at 13:19:29 in reply to Comment 115787

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted December 22, 2015 at 14:00:11 in reply to Comment 115789

Are air bags and seat belts in cars abdicating the responsibility of drivers to drive safely? What about the new collision sensing radars? Are daylight running lights absolving drivers responsibility to be attentive? If there are ways to make equipment safer and fault-tolerant you should do it. People should be careful AND equipment should be designed to be fault-tolerant. You don't need to make a choice!

And there are many simple ways to make our streets safer that have already been proven to work in other cities, mainly reducing design speeds to 30 km/h which means reaction times are long enough to avoid most accidents and any accidents that do happen are unlikely to be fatal. Or restricting right turns on red. Or ensuring pedestrians crossings are abundant and safe. Or widening sidewalks.

Keeping dangerous equipment in place when safer alternatives are available is irresponsible.

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2015-12-22 14:01:06

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By red light runner (anonymous) | Posted December 22, 2015 at 14:10:30 in reply to Comment 115793

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted December 22, 2015 at 14:24:09 in reply to Comment 115794

Exactly: "the results of idiocy are less severe".

That's what we would like for pedestrians (and cyclists) as well as motorists.

The goal is to minimize the number of people getting hurt and killed due to "idiocy" and inattention and tiredness and laziness and bad weather and darkness and bad decisions etc. There is huge scope to do this as the improvements already made in road safety and progress made elsewhere has shown.

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2015-12-22 14:25:12

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By red light runner (anonymous) | Posted December 22, 2015 at 14:28:04 in reply to Comment 115795

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted December 22, 2015 at 14:41:40 in reply to Comment 115797

It is quite possible that if:

  1. The street was narrower.
  2. The street was designed for 30 km/h.

the child would not have been hit because he would have been on the street for a shorter time or the driver would have had time to react and brake to avoid the collision. Or if he was hit, he would not have been killed. There is absolutely nothing inevitable about this.

Apparently, the speed limit at the intersection is 90km/h. The reaction plus stopping time distance at 90 km/h is around 83m (103m on a wet road). Compare this to reaction plus stopping time distance at 40 km/h is only 26 m (30m on a wet road). The total stopping distance would be only around 12-15m at 30km/h.

Do you really think that the driver having an extra 56m to 73m (or even 90m) could have made no difference in the chances of avoiding a collision?

http://www.tmr.qld.gov.au/Safety/Driver-...

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2015-12-22 14:45:11

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted December 22, 2015 at 16:06:31 in reply to Comment 115800

I would suggest refraining from responding to an anonymous troll who is blaming a child. That's pretty sick.

We need to make cities safe for children.

See:

http://www.childhoodfreedom.com/

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By JasonL (registered) | Posted December 22, 2015 at 17:35:21 in reply to Comment 115802

good point. Thx for the reminder.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted December 22, 2015 at 14:38:51 in reply to Comment 115797

You can't know this. If the crossing had zebra stripes sending a message to drivers they are entering a pedestrian space, or better lighting, or more pedestrian friendly light timing, or if there were other crossing opportunities nearby, or any number of designs better than this bare minimum, this might have been avoided.

What's your proposal? Tell kids to be more careful?

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By red light runner (anonymous) | Posted December 22, 2015 at 14:42:47 in reply to Comment 115799

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By red light runner (anonymous) | Posted December 22, 2015 at 14:34:15 in reply to Comment 115797

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By Safety First (anonymous) | Posted December 22, 2015 at 13:36:04 in reply to Comment 115789

Are you familiar with the concept of machine guarding?

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By red light runner (anonymous) | Posted December 22, 2015 at 13:38:28 in reply to Comment 115790

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By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted December 22, 2015 at 16:14:35 in reply to Comment 115791

It might be an idea for RTH to disable commenting on articles that are directly related to a person's death or injury. The articles are important but the comments, some more than others, are unnecessary.

Comment edited by ergopepsi on 2015-12-22 16:20:14

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted December 22, 2015 at 12:16:38 in reply to Comment 115782

"fault" is only a tiny part of the problem

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By fmurray (registered) | Posted December 22, 2015 at 12:26:31

The good news is that Terry Whitehead seems to be in his "arguing-against-but-will-ultimately-support" mode of public engagement re: Vision Zero.

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By Suburbanite (anonymous) | Posted December 22, 2015 at 12:51:24

Since this article 3 more pedestrians have been hit by cars: Rymal Rd & Upper Centennial in Stoney Creek , Kirk Road at 56 in Binbrook, and this morning Barton near Gage. 2 injuries and 1 fatality. We need safer streets - starting with reduced speed limits on all roads to decrease odds of death with these accidents.

Comment edited by Suburbanite on 2015-12-22 12:51:50

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted December 27, 2015 at 13:58:17 in reply to Comment 115788

Yup, because reduced speed on a road in Binbrook that happens ever so frequently will fix someone darting across the road at an unlit, unmarked location. Why not just ban all transportation by all means as a way to bubble wrap humanity?

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By That's Special (anonymous) | Posted December 22, 2015 at 14:27:23

Isn't it great when you figure things out completely by accident.

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted December 23, 2015 at 07:39:49

Here is a video of children, about 13 years old, in a place that actually cares about human life. See:

https://bicycledutch.wordpress.com/2011/...

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By stone (registered) | Posted December 24, 2015 at 01:28:40

As a new resident to Hamilton I have noticed that people drive incredibly fast on residential streets here, but I can't say I'm surprised as there are two giant multi lane highways driving through the centre of town that have been encouraging that behaviour for the last 50 years. I'm not anti car, I'm pro city.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted December 27, 2015 at 14:01:40

As a lifetime resident of Hamilton I have noticed that (generally speaking) people drive safely, regardless of what type of street it is. I'm not anti-city, or pro-car, but let rational thought prevail.

We could discuss at length something that nobody here would really understand, like the Autobahn and related highway network in Germany and other locations in Europe, where there are no speed limits, and how safe/unsafe those are (as well as fatalities, collision rates, pedestrians hit, and so on; how their street vs highways compare for safety to within and outside the country, quality of life, etc) but it'd just lead to nowhere.

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By Opinions Rule (anonymous) | Posted December 27, 2015 at 17:30:29

As a lifetime resident of Hamilton I have noticed that (generally speaking) many people do not drive safely, regardless of what type of street it is. I'm not anti-city, or pro-car, but let rational thought prevai

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By JasonL (registered) | Posted December 28, 2015 at 18:35:09

The war on cars is real folks. More proof here:

https://twitter.com/StevenDelDuca/status...

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By impossible (anonymous) | Posted December 29, 2015 at 12:23:35 in reply to Comment 115846

As of January 1, no vehicles will be able turn left at Bay and King unless the police sit there and ticket jaywalkers and the don't walk time is increased because people ignore the pedestrian signals there all day every day.

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By Fact Check (anonymous) | Posted December 29, 2015 at 15:35:35 in reply to Comment 115851

I cross the street there every working day. The pedestrians are not the problem I assure you

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted December 29, 2015 at 22:10:07 in reply to Comment 115854

if main, king and bay were 2-way, and we had proper highway accesses for both, half the cars wouldn't need to turn from bay to king, and we could have proper signal sequences with longer left turn priority during rush hour....

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By JasonL (registered) | Posted December 29, 2015 at 16:57:56 in reply to Comment 115854

totally. Everyday there are near misses with idiots trying to zip past a parent with their kid crossing on green or an elderly lady heading home from the market. I saw a car squeeze in between two pedestrians there this week and almost hit both at the same time. Never in my 35+ years here have I seen a jaywalker at King and Bay. That's a suicide mission. Jaywalking is common in safe cities where people matter. Not here on our inner city freeways.

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By Bewildreing Slop (anonymous) | Posted December 30, 2015 at 10:09:40 in reply to Comment 115855

If you have never seen anyone cross at Bay and King against the flashing hand you have no eyes.

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By JasonL (registered) | Posted December 30, 2015 at 12:50:57 in reply to Comment 115862

Oh, I haven't paid attention to the flashing hand in years. Use the stop-lights as guide. Half the intersections in the city have the red hand appear right when the light turns green. Anyone walking around paying attention to those things will still be standing at several corners for years on end. Also, the solid red hand is when pedestrian can't cross. Flashing is simply a warning that it's about to change.

But I would highly recommend pedestrians to never look at those. They're useless in this city.

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By C'mon Now! (anonymous) | Posted December 30, 2015 at 12:50:16 in reply to Comment 115862

How can I ever catch the green wave if these pesky pedestrians won't get outta my way?

Can't these people afford cars?

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By Facts (anonymous) | Posted December 29, 2015 at 17:02:43 in reply to Comment 115855

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted December 29, 2015 at 15:08:32 in reply to Comment 115851

Iirc, the new law only applies to those yellow pedestrian crossovers, not normal traffic signals.

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By jim (anonymous) | Posted December 29, 2015 at 10:37:40

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By JasonL (registered) | Posted December 29, 2015 at 16:59:09 in reply to Comment 115849

in the real world when there are millions of deaths caused by one substance or item, we get rid of that item, not the innocent people being killed by it.

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By Few-ture (anonymous) | Posted December 29, 2015 at 15:27:19 in reply to Comment 115849

And when Google cars are released we won't need humans inside OR outside the car and finally the streets will be orderly

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted December 29, 2015 at 12:06:38 in reply to Comment 115849

Just stop and think for a minute about what you're proposing. Every arterial in the lower city is a busy roadway with multiple lanes of fast vehicle traffic. Now take a look at what is on and around all of those busy roadways: tens of thousands of people living, working, operating businesses, running errands, socializing, having fun, raising families, caring for elders - the full range of human social activity.

Do you propose getting rid of that whole constellation of activities just so some people can drive at dangerously high speeds in their automobiles without having to worry about running into someone?

Do you really think that is a better way - more feasible, more reasonable, more likely to succeed - to solve this problem than the alternative, which is to reduce dangerously high vehicle speeds and dedicate safe, protected space for walking and cycling so that people can generally live their lives without fear of being mangled or killed?

Your "solution" is profoundly narrow, myopic and self-absorbed. The blinkered reasoning behind it is actually a big part of why our streets are as dangerous as they are: they have been designed with the assumption that everyone will be in a car, even when they run right through communities full of people trying to live their lives.

Not all of life is lived from behind a windshield, and that is especially true in a dense, diverse city full of mixed-use neighbourhoods. We already know what works, and we have examples from all kinds of different cities around the world that we can follow to make our own city safer and more inclusive for everyone - including people in cars!

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By jim (anonymous) | Posted January 02, 2016 at 18:36:22 in reply to Comment 115850

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By jim (anonymous) | Posted December 30, 2015 at 05:37:25

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By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted December 30, 2015 at 10:19:35 in reply to Comment 115860

Change makes some people scared and angry.

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted December 30, 2015 at 14:17:52

"However, for a long time I have tried to argue that in these cases, assigning blame is not the most important consideration from a policy perspective. Rather, we have to ask: Can we design the street so that it is inherently safer for everyone?"

Ryan you really are a piece of work. Always quick to blame the driver but never the pedestrian. So some kid darts across the road and gets hit and its not his fault? Its now society's fault because our roads could be safer? You sir can not be taken seriously.

By the way, the price of oil is at $36 and going down. What happened to peak oil? What happened to the $200 price predictions a few years ago from this website? PLease explain yourself.

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By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted December 30, 2015 at 14:58:49 in reply to Comment 115866

When I took driving lessons (over 30 years ago so may be outdated) I was taught that pedestrians always have the right of way. So a kid skateboarding down the street, a jaywalker, a drunk guy stumbling through an intersection all require that I yield.

More importantly we were taught to anticipate. This requires that the driver be aware of his surroundings, 360, at all times. If you see a kid on his bike on the sidewalk you have to anticipate that he might suddenly turn into traffic - you get the idea.

The problem with having a high speed limit like 70, 80 or even 90 kph in a mixed pedestrian zone is that human reaction times are not quick enough at those speeds. If the streets were designed to slow down the traffic it would follow that drivers would actually be able to successfully react to whatever might unfold before them.

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted December 30, 2015 at 15:26:00 in reply to Comment 115867

Of course you have to yield, but you won't be charged if someone darts in front of you. This is why we have intersections and stop lights.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted December 30, 2015 at 20:54:50 in reply to Comment 115868

The point is it's hard to yield when you are going 90 as opposed to 40.

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By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted December 30, 2015 at 15:49:38

The primary concern is not whether or not you are 'charged' but rather the death or injury of a human being. And, your notion that you magically get off scot-free just because someone darts in front of you means you missed my point.

Intersections and stop lights are irrelevant. Wherever you are, be it in an intersection or an open stretch of road, you as the driver are responsible for yielding to pedestrians. This is made easier (possible) by reducing speed. Ask any cop.

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted December 31, 2015 at 10:13:06

Pedestrians do not have carte blanche to do whatever they want on the roads. That is why we have intersections and stoplights. If someone darted in front of you and you hit them there is a good chance it is the pedestrian that will be charged.

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By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted December 31, 2015 at 12:45:50 in reply to Comment 115873

whoosh...

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted December 31, 2015 at 10:49:30 in reply to Comment 115873

Nobody is saying that this behavior is okay, what they're saying is that these things happen and the roadway should be designed in such a way to (a) encourage legal crossings by not frustrating pedestrians, and (b) not kill people if they break the rules.

Systems need to be fault-tolerant. That's why we have airbags and seatbelts. A kid darting across the road is a "fault", but the system didn't "tolerate" it.

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By jim (anonymous) | Posted January 02, 2016 at 18:33:00

"Man hit by bus, pulls knife" Selective reporting from those with agenda's to promote do little to diminish the obvious, there are goofballs in your ranks that accurately reflect your leadership.Misfit's and whiners who are hell bent on imposing their misplaced image of Utopia on you and I. Thanks for you input

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By JeffreyL (anonymous) | Posted January 03, 2016 at 00:28:06 in reply to Comment 115876

What in God's holy name are you blathering about??

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By jim (anonymous) | Posted January 04, 2016 at 11:16:46 in reply to Comment 115878

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By JasonL (registered) | Posted January 03, 2016 at 22:18:43

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By Terrible news (anonymous) | Posted January 04, 2016 at 05:26:31

Fatalities are down, but that's terrible

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By Down (anonymous) | Posted January 04, 2016 at 09:01:45

"The 18 traffic deaths in Hamilton last year is down one from 2014 and down slightly from the five- and 20-year death toll averages of about 20 per year."

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By Meh (anonymous) | Posted January 04, 2016 at 10:47:21 in reply to Comment 115888

From the Spec article, "The numbers for Hamilton are markedly different than national averages, which indicate a much lower pedestrian casualty rate."

Typical Hamilton car driver: Shrug.

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By CharlesBall (registered) | Posted January 04, 2016 at 11:15:42 in reply to Comment 115889

The "national averages" are based on 5 and 6 year old numbers when Hamilton was at 11 deaths for 490,000. For pedestrians we are now at 8 per 520,000 or 1.5 per 100,000 which historically has been about the average for every major municipality in Ontario in recent years. As I have said before many times however, whether it is 8 or 11, from a statistical perspective the numbers were and are very low. This is a slightly lower risk than being killed in a violent storm (1 in 68,000) or way lower than death by slipping in a bathtub (1 in 11,000.)

Comment edited by CharlesBall on 2016-01-04 11:19:34

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted January 04, 2016 at 12:16:18 in reply to Comment 115891

I don't think % by population accounts for exposure

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By Down (anonymous) | Posted January 04, 2016 at 16:38:45 in reply to Comment 115896

Whatever the correct way to measure risk is, overall the numbers have been declining markedly since 1975 in spite of significant increases in population and vehicular use. See the the world wide web vehicularcyclist .com / fatals .html

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted January 05, 2016 at 09:28:13 in reply to Comment 115902

In speaking of risk to pedestrians, I would think that a more accurate measurement would be the risk associated with hours spent walking, or kms, not per total population. If the absolute numbers of pedestrian fatalities are going down is it because a lot less people are walking? In regards to bathtub safety, most people shower quite regularly but many people do not walk any significant distance on sidewalks on a day to day basis. I think there is value in studying the risk to the people who commute by foot every day versus those who drive. An equitable public space design would minimize risk to both users.

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