The LEAMaple LeafDRS Program

Results-Based Traffic Safety for Red Deer Road Users

ROAD USER EXPERIENCES

If you have witnessed positive actions from road users,
poor actions from road users, or dangers that other
road users should be aware of, please pass them on to
info@leadrs.ca so we can post them on this page.

A Driving Question: What do you do if you are in an auto collision?
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BICYCLING SAFETY 1:
CROSSWALK AND SIDEWALK RIDING

During the last three calendar years, there were 34 motor vehicle-bicyclist collisions in Red Deer during which 34 bicyclists were injured. In 20 cases, the bicyclist was at fault; in 9 cases, a motor vehicle driver was at fault; in 5 cases, the at-fault person was not indicated.

Red Deer's rate for bicycling injuries in 2011 and 2012 was 14 persons/100,000 population. That was midway between Calgary's (11/100,000) and Edmonton's (21/100,000).

The injured Red Deer bicyclists were mostly male (21 out of 34) and in the 15 to 44 age group. Seven of the 34 injured bicyclists were under 15 years old, 8 were 15 to 24 years old; 15 were 25 to 44 years old; 2 were 45 to 64 years old; 2 were 65+ years old.

At least one-half of the bicyclists were not wearing a helmet. (All 7 youngsters were.) About 20% of the 34 injured , including all 7 persons under 15 years of age, would not be expected to be familiar with the Rules of the Road.

In 15 of the 20 cases where the bicyclist was at fault and in the majority of the cases involving bicyclists under 15 years of age, the error was riding across a crosswalk or riding on a sidewalk. It seems that many bicyclists (and skateboarders, joggers, rollerbladers, etc.) do not realize that provincial legislation does not recognize bicyclists (or skateboarders, joggers, rollerbladers, etc.) as being authorized users of crosswalks or sidewalks. Consequently bicyclists, etc., may not recognize the danger in bicycling (or skateboarding, jogging, rollerblading, etc.) on crosswalks and sidewalks.

When a collision between a moving motor vehicle and a person on a crosswalk or sidewalk occurs, determining who was at fault may involve the following paraphrased sections of the Use of Highway and Rules of the Road Regulation:

  • Section 36(3) requires the driver to stop a vehicle that is emerging from an alley or driveway before driving onto a sidewalk, or a vehicle crossway over a sidewalk, and yield to any pedestrian on the sidewalk and, where the vehicle is entering an alley or driveway, to yield to any pedestrian on the sidewalk or on the vehicle crossway over the sidewalk.

  • Section 41(1) requires the driver of a vehicle to yield the right of way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk.

  • Section 41(4) requires a person driving a vehicle to exercise due care for the safety of pedestrians.

  • Section 91(2) prohibits a pedestrian from proceeding onto a roadway into the path of any vehicle that is so close that it is impracticable for the driver of the vehicle to yield the right of way.

  • Section 93(2) requires a pedestrian to exercise due care for the pedestrian's own safety.

Consequently, if a person proceeds along a sidewalk or onto a crosswalk and collides with a motor vehicle such that

  • it was impracticable for the driver of the vehicle to yield the right of way

  • the person proceeding along a sidewalk or onto a crosswalk did not exercise due care for his or her own safety,

then it is likely that the person proceeding along the sidewalk or onto the crosswalk will be deemed to be the person at fault. If the person was bicycling, rollerblading, etc., rather than walking, then the vehicle driver becomes less able to yield the right of way and the likelihood of the bicyclist, etc., being found to be at fault rise correspondingly.

A suggested approach for bicyclists, skateboarders, etc., to apply when about to proceed across crosswalks or on sidewalks is to scan thoroughly for other crosswalk, sidewalk and roadway users and to always be prepared to yield to them.

A public safety issue arises because there is no person or organization in Red Deer, as well as many other places, whose role includes informing bicyclists (and skateboarders, joggers, etc.) about the safe use of crosswalks and sidewalks. If there is a person or organization in your community that has that function, please email contact information to Doug.Taylor@leadrs.ca

Thank you,
Doug Taylor

BICYCLING SAFETY 2:
BLIND "T" INTERSECTIONS

"If you can't see it, it can't be all that bad!"

That may be true in many cases, but it's not necessarily true if you're a bicyclist in Red Deer approaching one of the many uncontrolled "T" intersections.

Several hazards are associate with "T" intersections.

One hazard results from the practice of not erecting  intersection warning signs in urban areas. If the main road curves and/or the side road enters a sharp angle, the bicyclist may not recognize the importance of looking for vehicles entering f4rom the side road in sufficient time to avoid colliding with them.

A second problem arises from Section 77(2) of the Use of Highway and Rules of the Road Regulation which requires bicyclists to be as near as practicable to the right curb or edge of the roadway unless the bicyclist is making a left turn. If the bicyclist is riding next to parked vehicles, it can be impossible for a motorist leaving the side road to see the approaching bicyclist until the motorist is well into the intersection. And difficult as well for the bicyclist to see vehicles about to enter the main road from the side road.

There is, however, somewhat of a blessing in that most drivers do not follow provincial rules when navigating uncontrolled "T" intersections!.

The rules of the road for B.C., Alberta, and Saskatchewan say the same thing when navigating uncontrolled intersections, regardless of the number of legs to the intersection. For an uncontrolled three-legged intersection, regardless of it having a "Y" or "T" configuration, the driver to the right has priority, irrespective of being on the main road or the side road. Nevertheless, in reference to the sketch below, although driver B has priority, he or she must not proceed until he or she has confirmed that the driver of vehicle A has given driver B the right-of-way. The clip below from the Alberta driver's guide illustrates the situation.

                                         

In many cases, a YIELD sign has been erected on the side road where driver "B" is in the above sketch. The sign changes the intersection from being uncontrolled to controlled, thereby giving driver A priority over driver B. Due to the location of the sign, driver B will know that the "T" intersection is controlled and that driver A has the right-of-way, but driver A who cannot see the sign, will not know whether he or she has priority over driver B.

The general practice, for both main and side road drivers, seems to be to treat unsignalized "T" intersections as if there is a YIELD or STOP sign on the side road. But don't count on it, especially if you are a bicyclist in the position of vehicle A in the above sketch. If there is no YIELD  sign on the side road, and if you are riding in shadows next to parked cars, there's a good chance that you will be both injured and at fault if vehicle B enters from the side road.

The two clips below use City of Red Deer webmaps of the uncontrolled "T" intersection of Richards Crescent (the main road) with Ray Avenue (the side road) to illustrate the hazard. The clip on the left identifies the roads; the clip on the right shows where vehicles could be parked, the route of a bicyclist next to the parked vehicles, and the position of a vehicle aout to enter Richards Crescent from Ray Avenue.

Consider the situation facing an eastbound bicyclist, travelling in the shadows of parked vehicles, on Richards Crescent when a Ray Avenue vehicle proceeds north on Ray and turns either west or east on Richards Crescent. The bicyclist may not see the bicycle until collision is imminent; the vehicle driver may not see the bicyclist before his or her vehicle straddles the bicyclist's path

The most cost -effective way to increase the likelihood of the Ray Avenue vehicle driver and the Richards Crescent bicyclist seeing each other in sufficient time to avoid a collision may be to ban parking in front of the 85 Richards Crescent residence. Considering the number of similar intersections in Red Deer residential areas, applying that fix city-wide would eliminate a significant number of parking spots while increasing sign maintenance and curb painting costs. A public safety issue arises because there is no person or organization in Red Deer, as well as many other places, whose role includes informing bicyclists and motorists about the safe navigation of uncontrolled "ET: intersections. If you know an organization or person with that function, please email contact information to Doug.Taylor@leadrs.ca

BICYCLING SAFETY3:
BLIND INTERSECTIONS AND PARKING LOT ENTRANCES/EXITS

"If you can't see,how do you know its safe?"

Even before the bicycle lanes were maked on the pavement, the unsignalized intersections on 48 Aveenue between 43 Street and 48 Street were a dilemma for drivers wanting to cross or turn left onto 48 Avenue.

The issue occurs during weekday business hours, and during Saturday mornings and afternoons when the Public Market is operating. The problem is that vehicles parked in the parallel parking slots at the end of the block on either side of 48 Avenue seriously interfere with the ability of drivers, who are waiting at the cross street stop signs, to see oncoming traffic from their left. For many drivers, to see whether it is safe to move forward from the stop sign area, they must inch their vehicle so far forward that it will be in the 48 Avenue travel lanes.

The photo below on the left shows the impaired view of oncoming traffic to the left for a driver waiting at the westbound stop sign of 46 Street and 48 Avenue. The middle photo gives a sense of how far forward a waiting driver must move to adequately see oncoming traffic from the left. And if a delivery truck is parked at the upstream end of the block, the problem can be much worse.

  

The situation doesn’t just occur at the stop sign intersections with 48 Avenue, it’s also the case for the exits to 48 Avenue from the Red Deer Lodge parking lot.

Note that if you cause a collision when inching forward onto 48 Avenue to see whether it is safe to proceed further, you are likely to be ticketed for a stop sign violation. (This is confirmed by collision reports: in one case, several occupants of the inching forward vehicle were severely injured and its driver was fined.)

Now consider the case when the parking spots are full and you are a bicyclist in a 48 Avenue bicycle lane. Your attention is on the uneven road surface ahead and the possibility of vehicle doors opening on the driver’s side of the parked vehicles ahead. Due to the parked vehicles on the side of 48 Avenue, you are not likely to notice what is happening at the intersection ahead until you have passed the last parked vehicle. Can you stop fast enough if a vehicle enters your path immediately ahead from the right?

The likelihood of a bicycle-vehicle collision increases as more bicyclists use the 48 Avenue bicycle lanes and as more vehicles enter or cross 48 Avenue at the stop sign intersections. Every day, there is more traffic of all kinds everywhere.

At least three actions are possible to reduce the likelihood of these collisions:

  • Vehicle drivers could use only the signalized intersections at 45 Street and 48 Street to enter or cross 48 Avenue. This would minimize the opportunity for at-fault collisions with bicyclists or vehicles approaching from the left.
  • Bicyclists could be advised of the potential hazard at the stop sign intersections and parking lot exits so that they approach those danger points with appropriate caution.
  • The City of Red Deer could eliminate sufficient upstream parking spots so that drivers wanting to enter or cross 48 Avenue from stop sign intersections or parking lots could have an adequate view of oncoming bicycles or vehicles.

The 48 Avenue situation is not unique: drivers and bicyclists need to be alert for similar hazards in all communities. After all, if you can’t see, you can’t know if it’s safe.

Notice:

The page is for Red Deer road users to provide positive feedback, describe road use incidents, ask questions and share suggestions about how we could be safer when travelling within the City of Red Deer.

BICYCLING SAFETY 1

BICYCLING SAFETY 2

BICYCLING SAFETY 3 (new)

       DRIVE SAFER      Site Under Development   March, 2017                BE SEEN AS DRIVING SAFER