On Saturday, August 1, 2009, the 42nd Annual Scotiabank Caribana Festival Parade will take place on Lake Shore Blvd. W. between Strachan Avenue and Colbourne Lodge Drive.
The festival will require numerous road closures, restrictions which will lead to delays and congestion in the immediate area of the parade.
The following Gardiner Expressway ramps will be closed at 12:30 a.m., on Saturday, August 1, 2009.
E/B Gardiner Expressway exit to Jameson Avenue,
Jameson Ave and British Columbia entrance ramps to E/B Gardiner Expressway,
W/B Gardiner Expressway to Dunn Ave. exit ramp.
The following closure will commence at 1:30 a.m. on Saturday August 1, 2009
Westbound Lakeshore Blvd. W. will be closed to traffic from Strachan Ave. to Parkside Dr.
Eastbound Lakeshore Blvd. W. will be closed from Colbourne Lodge to Strachan Ave.
RESTRICTED ACCESS POINTS
In order to assist the safe movement of traffic and to provide for as little disruption as possible to residents, the following streets will have a restricted access, for vehicles:
Dufferin St. south of King St. W.
Dowling Ave. south of King St. W.
Stadium Rd. south of Lakeshore Blvd. W.
Queens Quay W. west of Bathurst St.
Springhurst Ave. west of Jameson Ave.
Springhurst Ave. east of Jameson Ave.
Other streets, although not restricted to vehicles, will be strictly enforced for parking infractions. Those streets are bounded by King St. W., east of Colborne Lodge and west of Bathurst St.
BATHURST ST. CLOSURE
Vehicle access west of Bathurst St. on Fleet St. and Lakeshore Blvd. W. may be closed after the parking lots at Ontario Place and Exhibition Place Gore Lots are full. This closure will be determined by need.
Toronto Transit Commission vehicles must have free movement during this event.
There will be a temporary T.T.C. bus stop on the south side of Lakeshore Blvd. W. near The Palaise Royale/Sunnyside Foot Bridge, for express buses to the Keele St. Subway Station. Approximately 25 buses will be put on this route starting at 0840 hrs.
There will be a temporary T.T.C. bus stop on the south side of the westbound lanes of Lakeshore Blvd. W., between Dunn Ave. and Jameson Ave., for express buses to the Bloor St. W. subway line. There will not be a southbound drop off at Jameson Ave. and Springhurst Ave. All drop offs, and pickups will be made on the westbound lanes of Lakeshore Blvd. W. just east of Jameson Ave.
T.T.C. service to and from the east end of the event will be through the Manitoba Dr./Strachan Ave. area of Exhibition Place.
T.T.C. will stop at Strachan Ave/Fleet St., to enable any passengers attending Ontario Place to exit at this location.
T.T.C. must also have unobstructed access at Springhurst Ave/Dufferin St., Illegally parked vehicles and obstructing vendors will be removed.
ONTARIO PLACE ACCESS
All access to Ontario Place will be through Remembrance Dr. at Lakeshore Blvd. W./Strachan Ave. Vehicles exiting Ontario Place will do so only at Lakeshore Blvd. W. and Ontario Place Blvd. and will travel eastbound on Lakeshore Blvd. W. only.
Disabled Parking will be at the Direct Energy Centre in the within the CNE grounds
Enter via Manitoba Dr/Strachan Ave. then south on Canada Blvd. to the entrance ramp of the Direct Energy Centre.
Valid disabled parking permit must be shown.
All vehicles including tour buses, parked illegally on:
Lakeshore Blvd. W. (including the grassed area),
King St. W.,
Queen St. W.,
will be tagged and towed.
Vehicles parked illegally in the Parkdale and Stadium Rd. areas will be tagged and towed.
The Gardiner Expressway is a restricted access highway which will be patrolled to ensure that vehicles are not parked adjacent to the parade route and pedestrians do not enter the highway area. Drivers who chose to stop or drive in a manner that puts other road users at risk will be subject to strict enforcement.
Due to the large number of visitors and continuous events that occur with the festival, intermittent road closures may occur throughout the downtown core in the evenings and nights of Friday, July 31 to Sunday August 2 in the interest of public safety.
Historically, Yonge Street and the Entertainment District access has been restricted in the evenings and overnight.
It is recommended that you make yourself aware of alternative routes before heading into the downtown or entertainment district areas to avoid delays.
Friday, July 31, 2009
On Saturday, August 1, 2009, the 42nd Annual Scotiabank Caribana Festival Parade will take place on Lake Shore Blvd. W. between Strachan Avenue and Colbourne Lodge Drive.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
But what that means in the end is simple...as speed doubles, stopping distances increase exponentially. As speed decreases, stopping distances decrease in the same manner.
When you are moving you are covering distance which is relative to the speed or velocity that you are travelling. The faster you are going, the more distance you travel in a relative time.
At 50 km/h you are travelling at a velocity 13.89 meters per second.
At 100 km/h you are travelling at a velocity of 27.78 meters per second.
So lets assume that 10 meters (32 feet) from where you are you see a child run into the street in front of you. I won't even get into perception and reaction time, just a simple "hammer the brakes" to avoid the child. You are travelling in a 40 km/h school zone so you thing that going just a little over the speed limit is ok...well lets look at that.
At 50 km/h on dry asphalt with 100% braking it will take you 13.1 meters (42 feet) to stop. So 10 feet after you struck the child you stopped.
So, why slow down? Lets take 10% off the speed.
At 45 km/h on dry asphalt with 100% braking it will take you 10.62 meters (34.84 feet) to stop. So 2 feet after you struck the child you stopped.
Considering that approximately half your speed gets cleared in the last five meters of braking, the impact speed is far greater when the child gets hit.
Now here is what happens when you travel the speed limit.
At 40 km/h on dry asphalt with 100% braking it will take you 8.39 meters (27.52 feet) to stop.
Congratulations! The child now looks at the front of your car, grabs his ball and runs back to the sidewalk. You get home and the we never have to go tell the child's parents that because you were going just a little over the speed limit they need to go to the hospital to see their child...or worse.
The above is best case scenario...you want the reality? Add distance for perception and reaction time, add distance for poor tires, insufficient brakes, distraction and wet roads....so, slow down and drive safe.
Don't take it from me, here are a couple of things that support what I am saying.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
New York Times, July 27, 2009
The first study of drivers texting inside their vehicles shows that the risk sharply exceeds previous estimates based on laboratory research — and far surpasses the dangers of other driving distractions.
The new study, which entailed outfitting the cabs of long-haul trucks with video cameras over 18 months, found that when the drivers texted, their collision risk was 23 times greater than when not texting.
The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, which compiled the research and plans to release its findings on Tuesday, also measured the time drivers took their eyes from the road to send or receive texts.
In the moments before a crash or near crash, drivers typically spent nearly five seconds looking at their devices — enough time at typical highway speeds to cover more than the length of a football field.
Even though trucks take longer to stop and are less maneuverable than cars, the findings generally applied to all drivers, who tend to exhibit the same behaviors as the more than 100 truckers studied, the researchers said. Truckers, they said, do not appear to text more or less than typical car drivers, but they said the study did not compare use patterns that way.
Compared with other sources of driver distraction, “texting is in its own universe of risk,” said Rich Hanowski, who oversaw the study at the institute.
Mr. Hanowski said the texting analysis was financed by $300,000 from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which has the mission of improving safety in trucks and buses. More broadly, the research yielding the results represent a significant logistical undertaking.
The overall cost was $6 million to equip the trucks with video cameras and track them for three million miles as they hauled furniture, frozen foods and other goods across the country.
The final analysis of the data is undergoing peer review before formal publication.
Tom Dingus, director of the Virginia Tech institute, one of the world’s largest vehicle safety research organizations, said the study’s message was clear.
“You should never do this,” he said of texting while driving. “It should be illegal.”
Thirty-six states do not ban texting while driving; 14 do, including Alaska, California, Louisiana and New Jersey. New York legislators have sent a bill to Gov. David A. Paterson. But legislators in some states have rejected such rules, and elected officials say they need more data to determine whether to ban the activity.
One difficulty in measuring crashes caused by texting drivers — and by drivers talking on phones — is that many police agencies do not collect this data or have not compiled long-term studies. Texting also is a relatively new phenomenon.
The issue has drawn attention after several recent highly publicized crashes caused by texting drivers, including an episode in May involving a trolley car driver in Boston who crashed while texting his girlfriend.
Over all, texting has soared. In December, phone users in the United States sent 110 billion messages, a tenfold increase in just three years, according to the cellular phone industry’s trade group, CTIA.
The results of the Virginia Tech study are buttressed by new laboratory research from the University of Utah. In a study over the last 18 months, college students using a sophisticated driving simulator showed an eight times greater crash risk when texting than when not texting.
That study, which is undergoing peer review and has been submitted for publication in The Journal for Human Factors, also found that drivers took their eyes off the road for around five seconds when texting.
David Strayer, a professor who co-wrote the University of Utah report, offered two explanations for the simulator’s showing lower risks than the Virginia study. Trucks are tougher to maneuver and stop, he noted, and the college students in his study might be somewhat better at multitasking.
But the differences in the studies are not the point, Mr. Strayer said. “You’re off the charts in both cases,” he added. “It’s crazy to be doing it.”
At Virginia Tech, researchers said they focused on texting among truckers simply because the trucking study was relatively new and thus better reflected the explosive growth of texting. But another new study from the organization is focusing on texting among so-called light-vehicle drivers, specifically teenagers.Preliminary results from that study show risk levels for texters roughly comparable to those of the truck drivers. The formal results of the light-vehicle study should be available later this year. By comparison, several field and laboratory studies show that drivers talking on cellphones are four times more likely to cause a crash than other drivers. And a previous Virginia institute study videotaping car drivers found that they were three times more likely to crash or come close to a crash when dialing a phone and 1.3 times more likely when talking on it.Researchers focused on distracted driving disagree about whether to place greater value on the results of such a so-called naturalistic study or laboratory studies, which allow the scientists to recreate conditions and measure individual drivers against themselves.
But, in the case of texting, laboratory and real-world researchers say the results are significant — from both scientific methodologies, texting represents a much greater risk to drivers than other distractions.
A new poll shows that many drivers know the risks of texting while driving — and do it anyway. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety plans on Tuesday to publish polling data that show that 87 percent of people consider drivers texting or e-mailing to pose a “very serious” safety threat (roughly equal to the 90 percent who consider drunken drivers a threat).
Of the 2,501 drivers surveyed this spring, 95 percent said that texting was unacceptable behavior. Yet 21 percent of drivers said they had recently texted or e-mailed while driving.
About half of drivers 16 to 24 said they had texted while driving, compared with 22 percent of drivers 35 to 44.
“It’s convenient,” said Robert Smith, 22, a recent college graduate in Windham, Me. He says he regularly texts and drives even though he recognizes that it is a serious risk. He would rather text, he said, than take time on a phone call.
“I put the phone on top of the steering wheel and text with both thumbs,” he said, adding that he often has exchanges of 10 messages or more. Sometimes, “I’ll look up and realize there’s a car sitting there and swerve around it.”
Mr. Smith, who was not part of the AAA survey, said he was surprised by the findings in the new research about texting.
“I’m pretty sure that someday it’s going to come back to bite me,” he said of his behavior.
Friday, July 24, 2009
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What is it about summer that instills in some people a need for speed and recklessness? As soon as the warm weather arrives the convertible top goes down or the moon roof is up, tunes are cranked and the gas pedal is pressed to the floor.
It's during these months that some people feel the urge to star in their own personal version of The Fast and the Furious: Terror in T.O., dangerously weaving in and out of traffic, running lights and putting their lives and those of others at risk.
Though this year our city can hardly hold the weather to blame, we've already seen enough evidence of street racing and its deadly consequence to demand it be eradicated from our roads and highways.
Last week, two men in their early 20s were charged with street racing, their licenses suspended, cars impounded and fined between $2,000 and $10,000 after they were nabbed driving 200 km/h on a residential stretch in north Etobicoke.
Speed limits exist for a reason. Traffic Services reconstructionists at that street racing incident estimated that under "ideal conditions," with full braking, it would take a car 7.5 seconds and more than the length of two football fields to come to a full stop while driving that fast.
Less fortunate were two high school friends from Scarborough who were killed after a crash on the Don Valley Parkway earlier this month in what police suspect was a case of street racing. A young female passenger was also hospitalized after their car crashed through a guardrail and took out a light standard.
Driving on our city streets and highways is no video game. There's no re-start option when your car's been impounded, your license suspended and you've been assigned a day in court. The quick thrill drivers get in racing at high speeds could be just as quickly dashed when slapped with charges, or worse, when they've caused casualties and forever ruined someone else's life.
Two men from Etobicoke and a third from Mississauga are continuing to live with that weight after their dangerous driving on Hwy. 400 led to the death of a truck driver in June 2007 when his rig was forced off the road and flipped. Their court trials continued this summer.
There's no glamour, no thrill in facing these kinds of consequences. If you're inclined to racing, take it to a professional track because that kind of driving has no place on the streets of Toronto.
Ever wondered something about traffic law or traffic safety but didn't know where to get the real answers?
Wouldn't it be great if you could send a comment to a traffic officer about a job well done or something you think that could be improved to make Toronto's streets safer?
Well, here is your opportunity!!
"Traffic Talk with a Traffic Cop" is a new initiative here at Traffic Services that will allow you to do just those things.
We welcome your questions, comments and feedback.
I am often asked questions that tell me people just don't have enough understanding of the law and or how and why we do what we do. Ignorance of the law is no excuse. If you are using our roads, we expect you to know the laws: if not for your own personal safety, then for everyone else's.
If I can't answer your question, I will find the experts who can.
When a question comes in that I believe could be of great benefit to the public, I may post the question on this blog with the answer. (Your email address and name will not be used, so your privacy is assured.)
So, lets get going with this...email your questions, concerns, comments, feedback to:
Please ensure the subject line says...Traffic Talk
Also remember to vote on our weekly polls, to the right of the main body of the blog. The way you are thinking about a subject could influence how we do what we do! Results are posted after the poll closes.
Looking forward to hearing from you!
Not report anything = 0%
Report from home = 67%
Report from my handheld device = 32%
Go to a police station to report = 0%
(if you are looking for the other one percent, which is a change from the normal 2% missing, refer to the top...'non-scientific'.)
Thanks for the response! We'll call it 100% for argument sake, want the ability to be able to report with convenience. No one indicated that they want to report to a police station. Can't say I really blame you.
With those kind of results, I believe we have a strong case to take to the powers that be to see if we can move into the world of on-line reporting. Stay tuned...
New poll question:
As of June 30th, traffic fatalities are down 39% in the city of Toronto compared to last year. This is most likely the result of:
You can vote on the right side of this blog
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
In partnership with the TTC, on Monday, July 20, 2009, a one−week project, “For Safety's
Sake − Take Time to Check,” will focus enforcement efforts on risk−taking behaviour in areas
of TTC operations.
With over one million people a day relying on public transit, the safe and efficient flow of
traffic, including public transit, is of paramount importance to the Toronto Police Service. Each
month, a TTC customer is struck by a motor vehicle passing the open doors of a streetcar
and, daily, TTC operators witness over 100 incidents where motor vehicles fail to stop behind
the open doors of a streetcar.
The safety and security of the transit system is of high importance to all our citizens. This
extends from the protection from criminal activities to the safe and efficient movement of
On Monday, July 20, 2009., at 10 a.m., with representatives from police and the TTC,
including Chair Adam Giambrone, the kick−off to the enforcement will take place at the
Exhibition Place Streetcar Loop on Manitoba Drive, behind the Ricoh Coliseum.
Media will have the opportunity to speak to police and TTC officials and see first−hand what a
streetcar operator experiences during their daily operations.
“The TTC is one of the largest and safest transit systems in North America. Part of that safety
record is the expectation that Toronto's road users will abide by the law and principles that
keep the TTC users and employees as safe as possible,” said Traffic Services Superintendent
Earl Witty. “This program is designed to raise awareness and promote education for Toronto
drivers but, for those who choose to ignore the safety of others, enforcement will occur.”
All police and parking enforcement officers will be paying particular attention to infractions that
impede public transit movement, including motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians who commit
offences in the vicinity of TTC bus stops, streetcar lines, HOV lanes, and Wheel Trans
Traffic Services is dedicated to ensuring the safe and orderly movement of traffic within the
City of Toronto. Stay informed with what’s happening at Traffic Services by following us on
Twitter (TrafficServices), and Facebook (Toronto Police – Traffic Services).
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Do you see what I see?
In our previous segment, we discussed being a smooth driver, and how having control of your vehicle gives your passengers a sense of comfort.
Smooth drivers, use proper applications of their inputs; steering, brake and accelerator and adjust those inputs appropriately and timely to the actions of others.
With each of those input factors, there was always some association to the use of the driver’s eyes and placement in regards to their movement and environment.
Considering those inputs, what would you regard as the single most important factor that is required to travel safely on the road?
Would your have guessed space?
If so you’re one of the smarter people.
Use of space and creating time to plan, has to be the greatest asset to safe vehicle operation hands down.
Managing Time and Space Intervals
Consider our circle of safety “the present time zone”, knowing what is 0-4 seconds around you.
Eyelead and scanning, is relative to speed, therefore, the faster we drive the further down the road we should be looking. It helps us to better use the space ahead to plan our drive.
Drivers should be continually scanning to identify where their space cushions are and how often they change; Past (behind), Present (around), Future (ahead).
Check the spaces behind you. If you are aware of your past you will have some options and time on your side to implement them.
It is also very important to pay attention to your lane position and your following distance.
A new driver should learn to keep the vehicle in the center of the driving lane and away from the edges.
While driving straight ahead you will normally stay on this driving line unless other factors affect the position of your car.
Sometimes, you will use different lane positions to make adjustments for potential problems and create more space between your car and dangerous situations; this is referred to as offsetting.
There are 3 lane positions that a driver can choose without changing lanes.
Position number 1 is in the middle of the lane and will be used for most driving situations.Positions 2 and 3 are offset placements to the left and the right when restrictions to your path or view exist; without having to move out of the lane of travel.
Advantages of offsetting are that it opens up your field of view, improves your eye lead, allows for better route planning and helps to break target fixation.
Is there enough space ahead?
You control your space; you control your following distance.
Our following distance should be 3 seconds away from a vehicle travelling directly ahead of us.
We calculate this distance by:
Picking a stationary object on the road,
As the rear of the vehicle in front of you passes this point, start counting one thousand and one, one thousand and two, one thousand and three,
When the front of your vehicle reaches that point, stop counting,
If you could not reach the count of three, you probably didn’t have a safe enough following distance.
The benefit of using this technique is that it works at any speed and eliminates our need to guess or estimate how many car lengths we may need to brake or manoeuvre.
Anytime you as the driver, are faced with a doubtful situation, you should be covering the brake.
Anytime you are not actively using the accelerator you should be covering the brake.
What is the benefit to covering the brake?
It can save 1 second of reaction time
80% of collisions could be avoided if drivers had one more second of reaction time.
Drive to your space
Not always as easy as it sounds.
A lot of drivers when turning into oncoming traffic will often stare at the traffic approaching far too long. The longer they stare, the smaller the space cushion becomes as the vehicles get closer.
The driver should be looking at the space between the vehicles, as the space cushion approaching them is travelling at the same rate as the vehicles.
Driver who can accomplish this tend to move into the space and the flow of traffic with little to no disruption to other vehicles.
Use of space is about where you look, and how long you’re looking there, that will usually dictate where you will end up.
Remember, what you see and what I see is not what we see.
Next Article Coming:
Communication-Can we talk and drive?
Monday, July 20, 2009
Restraining Orders for Food?
Hagerty Classic Insurance, a provider of classic-car insurance, looked more closely at this issue after a DMV check on an insurance applicant turned up a "restraining order" against anything edible within his reach while driving. The man apparently had several accidents attributed to eating while driving on his record.
Eating while driving is one of the most distracting things you can do, according to a study released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. 80% of crashes and 65% of near-crashes involve some form of driver distraction.
Though NHTSA doesn't track specific information on food-related distraction, it does track general distractions. According to NHTSA, "distraction was most likely to be involved in rear-end collisions in which the lead vehicle was stopped and in single-vehicle crashes." What makes distractions like eating such a problem is that they combine with unexpected situations – like a sharp curve or another driver's sudden stop – to cause an accident.
The top 10 food offenders in a car are:
Even in cups with travel lids, somehow the liquid finds its way out of the opening each time you hit a bump.
Many people drink it like coffee and run the same risks.
Any food that can disassemble itself will leave your car looking like a salad bar.
The potential for drips and slops down the front of clothing is significant.
From the grease of the burger to ketchup and mustard, it could all end up on your hands, your clothes, and the steering wheel.
Ditto. The sauce may be great, but if you have to lick your fingers, the sauce will end up on whatever you touch – and that wheel will be tough to grip.
Another food that leaves you with greasy hands, which means constantly wiping them on something, even if it's your shirt.
Jelly or cream-filled donuts
Have you eaten a jelly donut without some of the center oozing out? It's simply not possible.
Not only are they subject to spills, but also the carbonated kind can fizz as you're drinking if you make sudden movements, and most of us remember cola fizz in the nose from childhood. It isn't any more pleasant now.
Like greasy foods, chocolate coats the fingers as it melts, leaving its mark anywhere you touch. As you try to clean it off the steering wheel you're likely to end up swerving.
Insurance companies don't track specific information on eating and driving, because it's too difficult to break it down. But every company knows it's a problem. The difficulty in pinning down the exact cause of accidents lies in separating distractions such as cell phone use, talking to passengers, reading the newspaper, and eating, all of which drivers engage in while also trying to operate a two-ton piece of machinery.
How widespread is this food problem?
In a 2001 survey of 1,000 drivers for Exxon, more than 70 percent of drivers say they eat while driving, up from 58 percent in 1995. Eighty-three percent say they drink coffee, juice, or soda while driving and a few even say they'd love a microwave in their car.
While the NHTSA study doesn't mention eating as a driver distraction, food is probably involved in many crashes. The principal actions that cause distracted driving and lead to vehicle crashes are:
Cell phone use
Reaching for a moving object inside the vehicle
Looking at an object or event outside of the vehicle
For the original article, click here
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Pair charged in 200 km/h race
By CHRIS DOUCETTE, SUN MEDIA
Two young men face street-racing charges after they were nabbed driving side by side at an unbelievably reckless 150 km/h over the posted speed limit on a Rexdale street, police say.
The pair of leadfoots were heading into the city from Woodbridge around 11:30 p.m. Thursday, heading south on Martin Grove Rd. past Steeles Ave. W., when they were clocked at an astonishing 200 km/h in a 50 km/h zone, Toronto Police said.
"When I heard about this my eyes nearly popped out of my head," Traffic Services Sgt. Tim Burrows said yesterday. "It's four times the posted speed limit and they were coming into a residential area."
The veteran cop, who thought he had seen it all when it came to speeders, said it was a good thing the two drivers were stopped because they could have caused untold carnage travelling at such speeds.
He said Const. Sue Fisher, of 23 Division's Traffic Unit, was stopped in an unmarked cruiser in the northbound lanes of Martin Grove, just south of Steeles, when she spotted the two cars flying toward her.
The quick-thinking officer, whose vehicle was equipped with mobile radar, activated it and got a reading of 200 km/h as the new red Mini Cooper and the purple Honda Prelude SR-V whizzed by.
"They didn't even realize they were passing a police car," Burrows said.
Fisher immediately spun her unmarked car around to give chase and caught up to the speedsters soon after, he said. One of the drivers was stopped at a red light and the other, who had apparently made it through the intersection before the light changed, pulled a U-turn and drove back north on Martin Grove.
"The two cars basically came right to her," Burrows said. "It was a combination of good police work and good luck."
The drivers, 20 and 21, said they weren't racing and denied knowing each other.
"One of them is from the Netherlands and acted surprised to learn he was not allowed to drive like that in Ontario," Burrows said.
Holland actually has speed limits similar to Ontario and even highways there have a maximum of 120 km/h.
Burrows said Traffic Services was called in to investigate because of the excessive speed involved.
He shudders to think what might have happened to other motorists and any pedestrians had either of the drivers been forced to make a sudden manoeuvre at 200 km/h.
Under ideal conditions, with full braking, Burrows said reconstructionists estimate it takes more than two football fields and about 71/2 seconds to bring a car to a stop.
"After five seconds of 100% braking, you would still be going about 70 km/h," he explained. "And unless you're using high-performance tires, your tires would most likely explode if you slammed on your brakes at that speed.
"At the very least, the tires would most likely keep spinning even though the rims are stopped."
The two drivers, whose names were not released, have had their licences suspended for seven days.
"They also both had to call their older brothers and explain their cars were being impounded," Burrows said, adding neither actually owns the car they were driving.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
On Tuesday July 14, 2009, the 14 Division Traffic Response Unit conducted a Commercial motor vehicle inspection blitz at British Columbia Road and Lakeshore Boulevard West.
As a result of the inspection:
• 61 trucks were inspected
• 31 trucks were taken out of service for safety violations
• 3 trucks were taken out of service for driver’s license violations
• 35 charges were laid, related to either mechanical or administrative offences
Mechanical deficiencies included:
• Faulty or improperly adjusted brakes
• No emergency brakes
• Insecure or overweight loads
• Faulty rims or tires
• Ball and socket joints
• No brake lights
Administrative deficiencies included:
• Improper class of license
• No air brake endorsement
• No annual inspection certificate
• No inspection report
• No inspection schedule
• No C.V.O.R. (Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration)
• No proof of insurance
• Expired validation on plate
• No company name displayed on truck
It is reported that a heavy truck was found to have a front tire which was worn down to the inner threads, a second truck had a bulging tire on the verge of bursting, and a Ministry Officer inspecting a dual-axle truck discovered it had four of six brakes completely inoperable.
Trucks with mechanical issues were parked on scene and awaited the arrival of a repair crew or tow truck.
Sergeant Roy Sorgo said, "It is the responsibility of the driver and owner of a vehicle to ensure the safety of the vehicle and its load, before being driven on our highways and streets. Failing to do so puts everyone at risk. The results of our inspection are very concerning."
The Toronto Police Service thanks the Ministry of Transportation and York Regional Police for their assistance and participation in this enforcement blitz. Traffic safety continues to be a core priority for the Toronto Police Service. Ensuring that heavy trucks and other commercial vehicles are operating safely is a vital component of that priority.
Constable Wendy Drummond, Public Information, for Sergeant Roy Sorgo, 14 Division
On Thursday, July 16, 2009, at approximately 12:08 a.m., police responded to a personal injury collision on Sheppard Avenue East, east of McCowan Road.
It is reported that:
- the driver of a Suzuki GSX-R600 motorcycle was westbound on Sheppard Avenue East,
- the driver of a Ford 150 pickup truck was eastbound on Sheppard Avenue East, attempting to turn left from the centre common lane,
- the two motor vehicles collided and the driver of the motorcycle was thrown onto the boulevard.
The driver of the motorcycle was taken to hospital in critical condition with life-threatening injuries.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-1900, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), online at www.222tips.com, or text TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637).Traffic Services is dedicated to ensuring the safe and orderly movement of traffic within the City of Toronto.
Original Toronto Police Release, click here
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
We often think that winter is the worst time to drive in, but the truth is that summer is more dangerous. Most crashes occur during the summer months, according to Transport Canada.
We tend to be in our vehicles more often when the weather is nicer, and we take more vacations during the warmer weather.
One of the problems is that we often get distracted while driving. We must smarten up and be more alert on the road. Cell phones are one of the major distractions these days, and the Ontario government has introduced legislation that would prohibit drivers from using a hand-held electronic device while driving. This would include communication and entertainment devices such as cell phones and MP3s. More than 50 countries already have similar laws in place. Look for this new law to come into effect as early as this fall.
There are some good reasons for the law. For example, if you’re having a conversation with someone on the phone and a problem is developing outside the vehicle, you’ll stop your conversation and try to deal with the situation as best you can. The problem is that the person on the other end of the phone keeps talking, adding to your distraction. It’s not the same as having a conversation with someone inside the vehicle. Your passenger would likely see the problem you had to deal with and stop talking.
My advice is to ignore your phone until you’ve reached your destination. Leave the phone on ‘silent’ so you won’t be distracted by the ringing. Driving takes full concentration, especially if you’re dealing with other drivers who aren’t making logical decisions of their own. When I teach a class of novice drivers at Young Drivers of Canada, I do a test to help them understand distractions.
Since most of my students have a cell phone, I ask them to turn it on and place it on the desk in front of them. On my command, I ask them to tell me what time it is from their cell phone while I keep track of their response time. The quickest response is 2.5 seconds. That can be a problem, considering the minimum safe distance to follow a vehicle in the city is two seconds. If the driver in front of you slams on the brakes just as you look down at your cell phone, you’ll crash into the vehicle in front before you get a chance to look up.
Now, let’s deal with the issue of drinking in the car. I’m not referring to alcohol. I’m referring to things like coffee and water. When you drink a beverage while the vehicle is in motion you take your hand off the wheel and possibly your eyes off the scene for a moment. Pick your moment to have a drink. While you’re stopped is the best time to sip a drink. The other time, perhaps, is when there are no other drivers or pedestrians near you. This reduces the chance of having to swerve around a problem. You’ll need two hands on the wheel for that.
It’s the same thing for eating while driving. I’ve seen many people eat a hamburger, sub and even a big pizza slice while driving. If they spilled the food on themselves, where would they be looking? What if they looked down just as the driver ahead of them slammed on the brakes? There wouldn’t be enough reaction time to safely stop the vehicle.
And how many times do we leave our garbage in the vehicle instead of disposing of it in the trash? That coffee cup under the seat, or the food wrappers on the floor, can distract you, especially on a windy day if you have the windows down. The garbage can blow around, forcing you to take your eyes off the road for a moment. Do yourself a favour and put the wrappers in the trash.
Another distraction can be passengers themselves. They make us laugh, look at things outside the vehicle and get into heated discussions with us. But our attention needs to be on the road and the traffic.
As the driver, you should establish vehicle rules that will allow you to concentrate on the road. Give your children things to do in the vehicle while you drive. Put music on the radio that everybody will enjoy. This may help them leave you alone while you’re driving.
You must stay focused on where you’re going and how you’re going to get there. So, put away the distractions and, just maybe, you can drive a little more safely this summer.
Scott Marshall is director of training for Young Drivers of Canada.
I would like to thank Scott for allowing me to re-post this article from The Driver Magazine. I found it through his Twitter post under the id name @safedriver . http://twitter.com/safedriver
http://thedrivermagazine.com Great information!!
In a non-scientific poll posted on this site, you were asked...Should a licence to operate a bicycle on city streets be required? This was the most popular poll question in terms of overall response that we have ever had to a poll question. The results were what I expected:
Yes a written test = 10%
Yes a skills test = 2%
Yes a written and skills test = 32%
No to testing = 54%
(if you are looking for the other two percent, which always seems to be missing, refer to the top...'non-scientific'.)
Thanks for the amazing response! For the 54% that say no to testing, ride safe...for the 46% that said yes to testing, drive safe.
New poll question:
If there were an on-line reporting process for you to report driving complaints and neighbourhood traffic concerns would you?
Vote on the right side of this blog...your opinion and vote matters to us. You might actually assist the Toronto Police with making policy!
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
A cyclist suffered multiple injuries after colliding with a car near the Rogers Centre Monday evening.
The female, 34, was heading north on Spadina Ave. when she was struck by a black Toyota heading west on Front St. W. at about 6:30 p.m.
She was not wearing a helmet, Toronto police Const. Hugh Smith said.
The driver remained at the scene and was questioned by Toronto police.
Witness accounts suggest the car was going through a green light at the time, Smith said.
The cyclist's condition has been downgraded to serious from critical.
No charges have been laid.
This intersection is a very high volume, multi vehicle use, multi directional, multi phase light cycle area. Northbound from Bremner Blvd there is a down hill grade towards the lights.
All cyclists should be aware of their own abilities, skill level and equipment to ensure that they are capable of riding safely through areas like this.
All streets are not the same just as all cyclists are not of equal levels in thier skills and abilities.
Drivers require a level of graduated licencing and strict restrictions early in their driving lives to ensure they have developed the required skill set to negotiate higher speed and more dangerous environments.
Since there are no restrictions for cyclists, the best way to ensure your own safety is to be honest with yourself and avoid areas that you are not ready for or have not taken the time to prepare adequately for.
I wish the cyclist a full and speedy recovery and hope this does not happen to anyone else.
Ride safe, ride aware and ride well.
The below section is from http://www.bikingtoronto.com/
680 News and the Toronto Star are reporting that a female cyclist in her 30's was hit by a car at Front and Spadina last night.
The female, 34, was heading north on Spadina Ave. when she was struck by a black Toyota heading west on Front St. W. at about 6:30 p.m.
She was not wearing a helmet, Toronto police Const. Hugh Smith said.
The driver remained at the scene and was questioned by Toronto police.
Witness accounts suggest the car was going through a green light at the time, Smith said.
The cyclist's condition has been downgraded to serious from critical.
I can overlook the not wearing a helmet... but not what sounds like crossing against the light.
A helmet can save your life, but not if you're riding through red lights.
Monday, July 13, 2009
A 29-year-old Mississauga man driving with his licence under suspension has been charged after police say they clocked him doing 142 km/h in an 80 zone.
The driver's 1992 Acura was travelling north on Hwy. 27, north of Dixon Rd., when it was spotted by a patrolling cop with a mobile radar at 2:25 a.m. last Monday, said Toronto Police Const. Hugh Smith.
The driver, whose name was not available, was driving under suspension with a G1 licence, police said.
"It's unsafe for the public and one more thing we don't need. We already have trouble with bars closing, so to have a driver at this high speed causes concern," Smith said.
The man is charged with driving 50 km/h in excess of the posted limit, driving under suspension, operating a vehicle without insurance, driving with a G1 licence unaccompanied and driving with a G1 licence at an unlawful hour.
Under the province's street-racing legislation, his vehicle was impounded for seven days.
In 2008, Toronto Police issued 584 seven-day licence suspensions under anti-street racing legislation. Since January of this year, 184 seven-day licence suspensions have been issued.
Police said it's a decrease from 1.6 suspensions per day to less than one a day.
"This decrease is good news in the name of safety for Toronto road users. As the public has become more aware of the risks associated with this driver behaviour, more of our road users are complying with the laws that are in place to protect us all," Insp. Len Faul, of Traffic Services, said in a statement.
CAA School Safety Patrollers and Toronto Police making summer streets safer
(Thornhill, On.) - CAA School Safety Patrollers and the Toronto Police Service traffic services ill be at several intersections in downtown Toronto during the morning rush hour educating pedestrians on safe crossing practices.
According to the latest Ontario Road Safety Annual Report, pedestrian fatalities increased by 20 percent, from 105 in 2005 to 126 in 2006 with over 52 percent of those occurring when a person was crossing a road at an intersection or marked pedestrian crossing.
Right now, there are more than 25,000 CAA School Safety Patrollers keeping their peers safe in school zones across South Central Ontario. These kids will be spending their summer learning and practicing life-saving skills with the police officers who CAA has trained and partnered with, including the Toronto Police Service. These skills are taught at the CAA School Safety Patrol Leadership Camp which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this month.
On July 14th, during the morning rush hour, CAA School Safety Patrollers will be paired with former CAA School Safety Patrollers to teach Torontonians how to cross the street safely as they walk to work. Similar events will be happening at the same time in London and Peterborough.
Pedestrians and motorists who spot these Patrollers will be given the chance to win a Weber barbecue this summer just for learning more about the program.
What: Pedestrian Safety Patrol with CAA School Safety Patrol and Toronto Police Service
When: Tues., July 14, 2009
7:30 am Media event
Where: Union Station (outside on Front Street entrance at VIA Clock)
Following the media event CAA School Safety Patrollers and police officers will be at the following intersections from 8 am – 9:30 am: Union Station, Yonge and Dundas, King and Bay,
Bloor and Yonge and Avenue Road and Bloor St.
For more information, visit www.caasco.com/schoolsafety CAA South Central Ontario is a not-for-profit auto club offering insurance, travel and roadside services. There are more than 1.8 million CAA Members in Ontario and 5 million Members in Canada.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Toronto Sun - Don Peat, July 7, 2009
Two families are grieving the death of two young men after a speeding convertible spun out of control and into a guardrail on the Don Valley Parkway last night.
Friends of the two dead men, Adam Bhagiratti, 21, and Geetesh Singh, 20, have already started Facebook tributes to them. The car was registered to Bhagiratti's father.
Both men were pronounced dead at the scene, just south of Eglinton Ave. around 8:30 p.m.
Friends and relatives were gathering at Bhagiratti's family home in Scarborough today.
A cousin that answered the door requested privacy and described the driver as a good man.
Toronto Police are continuing to investigate the crash – possibly caused by street racing – that also sent a 21-year-old girl to hospital. The girl had various injuries, including broken bones, police said, but was treated and released last night.
The car, a red Nissan 300 ZX, was in the centre, northbound lane when the driver lost control, police said.
Sgt. Tim Burrows said police are continuing to search for a white car seen before the crash in the centre lane, just in front of the red Nissan 300 ZX.
"No one has said they were passing each other, just that they were passing everybody else," Burrows said.
At some point, the red car careened off the road.
"It went through the right guard rail, it took out about a 40-foot section of the guardrail and a light standard and ended up facing southbound in the grass on the side of the road," Burrows said.
Police are still trying to determine how fast the car was going at the time and if alcohol was a factor.
"Given the circumstances, we'll have to wait for toxicology for that," he said.
~~Editor's Note~~ This is without a doubt my favorite post in regards to the above crash. There is no evidence that contact was made between the two cars described in the 'street race'. Toronto Police - Traffic Services are hoping to speak to the driver of the white car, in hopes that some light can be acuratley shed on what transpired.
Sunday, July 5, 2009
By ALAN SHANOFF
Impaired driving cases continue to take an inordinate amount of judicial resources and some judges continue to acquit impaired drivers on the basis of fuzzy logic and technicalities.
Last year the Harper government wisely passed legislation to effectively eliminate the "two beer" defence in impaired driving cases. This defence allowed drivers charged with having a blood alcohol reading of more than 80 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood to claim their breath test or blood sample result was erroneous, based largely on the number of drinks the driver testified he had consumed. The legislation was effective July 2, 2008.
Unfortunately the people responsible for the legislation forgot to insert a section stating whether the law was intended to apply only to new charges laid from July 2 going forward or whether it applied to all charges no matter when laid, provided the trials took place on or after July 2.
In Ontario alone we've had more than 50 trials where this issue has been argued with judges coming down on both sides of the issue. We're now starting to see appeal decisions but it will likely be years before we get a definitive ruling from the Ontario Court of Appeal.
The waste of judicial resources is astounding.
Judges also have had brain cramps in dealing with impaired driving.
Before a police officer is legally entitled to demand a breath test be administered he must have "reasonable and probable grounds" to believe a person has operated a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or has a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit. Judges must determine if an officer had such reasonable and probable grounds to demand a breath sample.
Without such grounds the demand isn't valid and a conviction may be in jeopardy. So what constitutes reasonable and probable grounds? Here are the facts in two recent Ontario cases.
Police stopped KC at 3:45 a.m. KC's vehicle had been parked outside a bar for at least two hours. The officer smelled alcohol and KC admitted to having had one beer. In the second case police stopped KT at 2 a.m. after he made a right turn without first stopping. The officer smelled alcohol and KT admitted to having had two beers.
In both cases the trial judges concluded the Crown had failed to establish the officers' reasonable and probable grounds. Indeed in the second case the judge remarked KT had "the best flat out case for lack of reasonable and probable grounds that I can imagine."
How does one respond to such a flat out lack of common sense statement?
Both drivers were initially convicted of driving over 80 because their lawyers hadn't filed motions to exclude the breathalyzer results but the convictions were reversed on appeal. Fortunately, on a further appeal the Ontario Court of Appeal restored the convictions. The reasonableness of the demands didn't figure into the appeal court's decision but Justice Michael Moldaver, using the common sense he always exhibits, politely stated he didn't endorse the trial judges' analysis or conclusion in either case. Hopefully that will put an end to these poorly reasoned Ontario cases.
Lest anybody thinks it is only Ontario judges who engage in fuzzy reasoning let's look at two other decisions. A Manitoba judge concluded an officer did not have reasonable and probable grounds to demand a blood sample after stating the officer's "principal reason for coming to his conclusion was based on that single (fatal) vehicle accident combined with the smell of alcohol on the accused."
Fatal crash and the driver has alcohol on his breath? That's good enough for me, but apparently not for one Manitoba judge.
In a Saskatchewan case an officer pulled over a female who failed to stop at a stop sign and admitted to having had four to five beers. Yet the judge ruled "the factors of her admitting to drinking, and the presence of a strong smell of alcohol are not in of themselves sufficient to constitute reasonable and probable grounds."
No wonder so many impaired drivers try their luck in court.
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Toronto Sun Saturday July 4- Brian Gray - Sun Media
Heating up the summer doesn't have to mean heating up the battle between cars and bicycles on our roads, a cycling advocate maintains.
"Respect for those around us goes a long way," said Yvonne Bambrick, the executive director of the Toronto Cyclists Union, a membership-based organization pushing for greater acceptance of the bike as a viable means of transportation in the city.
We've had the car so well ingrained into our psyche and into the norms of society, in particular in North America, that anything that looks to re-purpose the spaces that we've known traditionally to be car spaces seems to be a threat -- and it's not meant to be a threat."
But car and truck drivers -- especially in downtown Toronto -- have long complained about the behaviour of cyclists on city streets.
Some have wondered whether bike riders are even covered under the same set as laws as motor vehicles.
"They certainly are," said Sgt. Tim Burrows of the Toronto Police traffic services unit. "By definition under the HTA (Highway Traffic Act) they are a vehicle so any requirement for a vehicle, they have to fall in line with that."
That means everybody using a public roadway must come to a complete stop at stop signs and stop lights, signal their intentions whether by hand or using lights and do shoulder checks when turning or changing lanes, he said.
"The other issue is opening car doors," Burrows said. "It isn't enough to just look in the mirror. People have to turn and look out the window."
That's a major complaint for any cyclist in this city, Bambrick said.
"Consider a cyclist your sister or your brother and have some respect," she said. "And just know that cyclists are almost always looking out for their own best interest because they are the most vulnerable on the road."
Bambrick said she would like to see the HTA changed to allow rolling stops at some intersections -- something that irks some drivers.
"If they're deking around or if they're going ahead at a stop light it's because they're trying to get out of the way," she said.
Burrows said he understands the desire to just employ a rolling stop where it's safe but the law is the law.
However, that also means drivers have to treat cyclists with the same respect they give other drivers, he said. Giving bicycles as much room as possible, not parking in bike lanes and not cutting cyclists off are key.
Cyclists must keep as far to the right as is practical and at intersections they should come up on the left side of a car turning right, not edge up between the car and the curb, Burrows said, citing the HTA.
"Communication is one of the keys," Burrows said. "If everyone on the road knows what the other person is going to do, there would be a lot less confusion."
CYCLING SAFETY BLITZ CHARGES
Toronto Police recently concluded their one-week Safe Cycling-Share the Responsibility Campaign.
- Tickets issued to motorists and cyclists: 5,907
- Tickets issued to motorists: 3,502
- Tickets issued to cyclists for moving violations: 1,373
- Tickets issues to cyclists for equipment violations: 747
- Cyclists under 18 charged with not wearing a helmet: 84
- Tickets issued for parking in bike lanes: 198
- Motorists and cyclists cautioned: 852
--Source: Toronto Police Service
Friday, July 3, 2009
I normally make a point not to make mention of any events that happen outside Toronto, but in this case I have to make an exception!
The reason is simple, the comment made (in bold below) speaks to how many people view collisions. More explanation by me below.
"Crash driver has organs donated"
Sister of man killed says 'nobody is to be blamed ... it's part of life'
July 02, 2009 Daniel Nolan, The Hamilton Spectator (Jul 2, 2009)
The family of a woman who Hamilton police say caused a crash that killed her and her sister's boyfriend has donated her eyes and organs for the benefit of others.
"Her eyes are being donated to somebody. Her organs are being donated to somebody," said Connie Sauve-Milwain, 25, the sister of Nicholas Tarbuskovich, 30, who was killed last Saturday in a four-vehicle pileup on Centennial Parkway that police say was caused by Fiona Gray, 32.
According to Hamilton police collision reconstruction Detective Constable Steve Ellis, witnesses saw Gray speeding down the escarpment hill just south of King Street, talking on a cellphone while steering with one hand. Gray, a nurse at St. Peter's Hospital, died as a result of her injuries Sunday at Hamilton General Hospital.
"She was driving in the passing lane, talking on the cellphone, and lane changed into the curb lane and ended up heading at the guardrail," Ellis said. "She lost control when she pulled sharply on the wheel to get away from the guardrail."
Gray's car fishtailed out of control and skidded into the path of oncoming traffic. Her car hit an upbound van, another vehicle behind it crashed into the van and a fourth vehicle behind that was struck by a wheel from one of the vehicles.
Tarbuskovich was a passenger in Gray's car, with her sister Melissa.
Melissa Gray remains in Hamilton General Hospital, but Sauve-Milwain said she is doing fine and might be released from hospital next week. She had an operation to put a pin in her arm Monday, suffered two broken ribs and cuts and bruises. Three others were hurt in the crash.
Sauve-Milwain and her family don't blame Gray for the loss of Tarbuskovich, who worked in construction and was talking about marrying Melissa.
"I think that no matter what happened it was an accident," said Sauve-Milwain, who is a business manager in Windsor. "No matter if someone was talking on their phone, whatever happened, it was tragic. Nobody is to be blamed. Everybody lost somebody. It's a part of life."
Tarbuskovich was born in California, but moved to Windsor and then Grimsby when he was a child. He attended Beamsville District Secondary School, but Sauve-Milwain said he dropped out in Grade 9 to work for a carnival "so he could travel."
The father of two worked as a carny for about five years and then returned to Grimsby. A neighbour took him under his wing and got him into the construction business.
"He was a good man," Sauve-Milwain said. "He had a good heart. He was so funny."
She said the family is coping well with his loss.
"We're doing pretty good," she added. "We're talking about memories."
Gray had moved about two months ago into a new townhouse on Kimberly Drive in east Hamilton. She lived there with her two daughters, Phoenix and Olivia. Someone had placed a bouquet of flowers in her mailbox to mark her passing.
Melissa Gray and Tarbuskovich were set to move into a townhouse in the same complex yesterday.
Gray was a registered practical nurse at St. Peter's Hospital and had told her next door neighbour Mary she loved her job. She also told the neighbour she had separated from her husband about six months ago.
"I liked her very much," said Mary, who did not want her last name used. "She was a good neighbour, as far as I was concerned. We're all sad. We feel very bad."
Another neighbour described her as "a lovely young woman." He recalled she had told him she had just got her car a few months ago.
"It's a real tragedy," said the 59-year-old man, who would not give his name. "Knowing her just a bit, she had a beautiful personality and she always had a smile for you. I'd never seen her frown or have a bad day."
A memorial was held last night for Tarbuskovich at the Stonehouse-Whitcomb Funeral Home in Grimsby. A private family burial is planned.
He is survived by his two children, Nicholas and Faith, his mother Constance Pearson of Grimsby, his stepfather Malcolm Pearson of Grimsby, his father Dennis and stepmother Arlene of California, plus two sisters and two stepbrothers.
Sauve-Milwain said a private family memorial for Gray is being planned for the benefit of her two girls.
~~Editor's Note continued~~
"...it was an accident...nobody is to be blamed" Oh how wrong you are. This was not an accident. This was a caused event. Caused by speeding, talking on the cell phone while driving and an over reaction that led to a devastating collision.
An accident is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as:
"1 a: an unforeseen and unplanned event or circumstance b: lack of intention or necessity : chance
In my experience accidents are very rare. This collision was by design. There may have not been any intent, but you certainly can not say this was not forseen. Experts in the road safety field know through research and data analysis that speed, cell phone use and distracted driving are all factors in many collisions.
Road safety is achieved through the cooperation of all our users working together to minimize the risk that is natural to driving. By ignoring causal factors and increasing risk you are leading yourself and others down a path that ends in collision.
When you drive, you have to understand that it is one of the most complex things a human can do. The calculations, determinations, perceptions and reactions that are required go well beyond just turning on the car and moving. Your attention needs to be fully on the task at hand...the safety of yourself and those around you!
We as a society need to get our heads around that simple fact and get rid of this mentality that its just an accident...it's not! There is fault and there is blame. I am sure that the other drivers and passengers involved would agree that it wasn't, "just an accident and that there is no one to blame."
It is not part of life...it is a path to death and suffering that is needless and in most cases avoidable!!
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Special to the Star
1. Left- and middle-lane bandits
"Drive Right'' not only means "drive correctly,'' it also means move the heck over. When you're on a multi-lane highway, you should be in the right lane unless you're passing someone. It's efficient, it's safe, it's polite – it's the law.
They're invariably angry, especially towards the slow-poke "idiots'' they're tailgating. Hey – if the driver in front is such an idiot, why would the tailgater want to get that close to them? Guess you can't expect these fools to think that far ahead. Leave yourself at least two seconds between you and the car ahead.
These people wouldn't barge in to a lineup at a movie theatre or the grocery store check-out counter. Why do they feel no compunction about doing so when a lane on the highway merges to an end? The guys who leave the driving lane and dive into the on-ramp to squeeze by two or three more cars are especially irritating – what makes their timetables so much more important than those of the rest of us?
4. Stealth drivers
These type of drivers are especially annoying – and downright dangerous – in poor weather. These people don't realize that their daytime running lights probably don't turn on the taillights (most cars do not do this automatically: shame on the car companies that do it that way; shame on Transport Canada for not requiring it). Think about it: Especially on highways where the vast majority of our kilometres are driven, it's actually more important to have the rear lights on than the fronts.
A related issue: People who don't realize that ONLY the Daytime Running Lights are on after dark. Again, no taillights.
The solution? Manually switch on all your lights, all the time.
5. Snow-blind drivers
These jerks don't clear all the snow off their car before driving away. This includes the roof – the accumulation can, and usually does, slide down to obscure the rear window. Ditto all lights, front and rear.
6. Greedy parkers
People who take up two parking spaces. I had to park two blocks away. Thanks a lot, you selfish creep.
While we're at it – I wish everyone would learn to back into their parking spots. It is so much safer when they leave.
7. The Idle Masses
Running a car at idle is the worst thing you can do – for the engine (raw gasoline can wash lubricating oil right off the cylinder walls), for your budget (your gas consumption rating is infinitely poor litres per 100 km) and for the environment (how can you justify spewing carbon dioxide into the air when you're not going anywhere?)
Switching off and back on again 30 times a minute – about as fast as it is possible to do – uses less fuel than idling for a minute. Even just a few seconds' idling is a bad idea.
Special places in hell are being reserved for big-rig truck drivers who know better – their engine manufacturers have been telling them not to do this for decades – and for people who have remote starters, the absolute worst accessory you can put on a car. Come on – it's Canada, of course your car will be cold first thing in the morning. Suck it up.
8. The four-wheel luge operators
Winter tires are designed for winter. We are in Canada; we have winter. Figure it out.
All-season tires should be called no-season tires: they're no good in summer (the compound wears quickly in the summer heat), they're no good in winter (the compound isn't grippy enough below 7 C). So far ,Quebec is the only province that mandates winter tires, but we shouldn't need our governments telling us to do the right things.
Oh, the worst thing you can do? Winter tires on the driving wheels, normal tires on the non-driving wheels. This makes the car virtually undriveable.
Those who have not updated their driving skills at an advanced driving school. You can tell these guys – they're the one in the guardrail in the first snowfall of the season. I've taken (or taught at) one or more advanced driving schools every year for 25 years, and never failed to learn something new every time. Okay, maybe I had more to learn. But most drivers out there have never EVER taken a lesson.
Scary stuff, kids.
10. Impaired drivers
Whether its from drugs, alcohol fatigue or other distractions, like the cellphone or programming a sat-nav system. I left this to last because surely we don't have to harp on this again?
There are several others that could be added to this list and I would change the order of the Top 10, but, there is sound safety information here.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
The Globe and Mail Last updated on Wednesday, Jul. 01, 2009 01:15AM EDT
A 72-year-old man is in very serious condition at a Toronto hospital after he was hit by a TTC bus Tuesday evening.
The man was walking past the driveway of the TTC Malvern bus yard on Sheppard Avenue just before 7:30 p.m.
A TTC operator was driving his bus into the bus yard and hit the pedestrian when he turned into the driveway.
Sergeant Tim Burrows with the Toronto Police's Traffic Services said the bus driver was travelling at a slow speed and had no passengers on board.
“The victim sustained some internal head trauma and was transported to hospital in life-threatening condition,” said Sgt. Burrows.
Tuesday night, police continued their investigation.
Sgt. Burrows said the driver – who was co-operating with police – has not been charged.
He encouraged witnesses to contact the Traffic Services unit.
Toronto police stuck cyclists and drivers with 5,907 tickets during its latest one-week campaign to get the two groups to share Toronto's streets.
Cyclists were ticketed 1,373 times for disobeying traffic signals and failing to yield to pedestrians. Equipment — or the lack thereof — got bike riders in trouble, too, as 747 tickets were issued to those who rode without the mandatory bell, light and reflectors.
Eighty-four tickets were handed out to people not wearing helmets.
Drivers were ticketed 3,502 times for opening car doors without looking for cyclists and for not yielding to cyclists. Police also left 198 tickets on cars parked in bike lanes.
A further 852 drivers and cyclists were handed warnings about a variety of offences such as cyclists dangerously passing cars on the right next to driveways and drivers failing to check over their shoulders for cyclists.
"This campaign wasn't meant to target bicycles, or bicycle-related offences ... we're targetting road offences," said Sgt. Tim Burrows. "We're trying to make it safer out there."
The "Safe Cycling - Share the Responsibility" campaign ran from June 22-28. During the same campaign last year Toronto police issued 6,671 tickets.