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McComb Witten Marcoux

Collision Course – Marpole Traffic Circle & Pedestrian Safety

Jeffrey S. Witten, B.A., LL.B.
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Personal Injury Lawyer at McComb Witten Marcoux

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It sounds like a great idea.

You take an unused area and turn it into a place where the community can come together and share a cup of Joe.

Sounds good right?

But what if that unused space isn’t safe?

That’s the issue surrounding a community project called Gather Round, which hit the headlines this week after the city told it’s organisers they had to stop the scheme for safety issues. http://www.vancourier.com/mount-pleasant-neighbours-gather-in-a-roundabout-way-1.382407

Residents of Marpole were up in arms at the closure of their traffic circle turned coffee hangout.

But here’s the thing.

No matter how unpopular the decision might have been the city has a point.

Now I’m all for building better communities, which is why I’ve got nothing but respect for Julien Thomas the man behind Mount Pleasant’s Gather Round scheme. But it just seems like nobody’s thought the whole thing through.

The problem is that no matter how well meaning his project is, it’s an accident waiting to happen.

Here’s why.

The coffee hangout in question is smack dab in the center of a traffic circle. So to reach it; people have to enter into the roadway at a point outside of a crosswalk.  And to make things worse, the roadway surrounding the traffic circle is a busy bike route.

Picture this, you’ve got cyclists whizzing by and people entering the road outside a crosswalk. It’s a recipe for disaster.

It also highlights an increasingly thorny problem in the Lower Mainland: pedestrians vs. cyclists.

You see accidents involving a collision between a cyclist and a pedestrian can be just as serious as those involving a vehicle. But unlike BC’s motorists, bike owners aren’t required to carry third party liability insurance. And no insurance, means no protection in the event of an accident.

So what happens if a pedestrian gets hit by a cyclist as they’re heading into Mount Pleasant’s traffic circle? Who’s to blame? And who’ll foot the bill for the impact of their injuries?

These hard questions need to be asked. And until they are we’re going to keep going round in circles when it comes to the dangers of sharing our streets.

Category: Pedestrian Accidents

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