Tuesday, September 12, 2017

There is no solution…

… so simple that the bureaucrats can’t screw it up.

This is a Google Maps satellite image of an intersection near our house.

Bellamy intersection gravel

The through road, coming from the bottom and exiting top left, is posted at 80 kilometres per hour. At the red line, at the apex of a curve, the surface changes, without warning, from newly-paved to loose gravel.

Two months ago the missus and I pulled a rider and his motorcycle out of the ditch on the far side of the intersection. He lost control when he hit the gravel at speed. He was a bit banged up – cuts and bruises – but otherwise okay. His bike was rideable after we bent a few things back into place. He was lucky and was able to ride home.

Three weeks ago, two other riders collided in that same spot when they both went down after hitting the gravel unexpectedly. Both were injured, one seriously enough that he had to be medevaced by helicopter to an Ottawa hospital.

CaptureAfter the first accident I contacted the township of Mississippi Mills, in which jurisdiction this intersection falls, suggesting that this, or a similar, sign be posted giving riders advance notice that the pavement is about to end. Their response? Mississippi Mills is only responsible for the road beginning where the gravel starts and so they couldn’t post such a sign because the location where the sign should go (marked by an “X” on the above photo) was on a county road.

When the second accident happened I contacted the county – Lanark Highlands – to see about getting a pavement ends sign put up. I spoke to the Superintendent of Public Works who advised that they were aware of the situation and it would be remedied in a few days.

Here’s their solution. At the spot marked with the “X” on the aerial photo they put up this sign.

IMG_0228

An astute observer will note that the diagram bears no resemblance whatsoever to the actual geometry of the curve; it’s a simple curve, not an “S” bend, and the intersecting road is off to the right, not the left. The 20 km/h is an advisory only, ignored by every road user in the province except big rig truckers with tippy loads. They also put a stop sign on the gravel road side of the intersection, which serves no useful purpose whatsoever as the problem occurs with riders transitioning from pavement to gravel at speed, not vice versa. But worse than all that, there is still no warning about a surface change, which is all I asked for in the first place.

I have tried to point out the errors and request, again, a simple pavement ends sign, but I now appear to be on the shit list as I get no response to emails or phone calls to the county. However I will continue to escalate and hopefully this will be fixed before someone dies because of simple bureaucratic ineptitude. Stay tuned....

10 comments:

  1. Frustrating! You would think after an incident requiring medevac attention, they would be more attentive! And the sign!,,,,, Good grief!

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  2. Wow, to transition from pavement to gravel causing accidents around here would result in a lawsuit. I am surprised by their sign, but then we shouldn't be surprised by local government. Sad that riders are getting injured though.

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    1. I wasn't getting any response at all until I suggested I would reach out to the riders and suggest a lawsuit as the county was aware. Five minutes later I had a phone call. :)

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  3. I'd be nailing my own homemade sign up, bureaucrats be damned.

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    1. I threatened that as well, only to be told they'd take it down. Dumbasses.

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  4. It is a shame something terrible like a death might have to happen before bureaucrats do what is right. Keep up the fight.

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  5. Those transitions happen here in various places, a County Road transitions to another county and traffic doesn't justify hard surface. However, I'm not aware of any of those places without a "Pavement Ends" sign, placed far enough in advance to be sufficient warning.

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    Replies
    1. Coop - That's fair enough; a warning sign is all that's required.

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