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The Deadly "Blind Spot" on Transit Buses


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CTV Ottawa: A woman was struck by an OC Transpo bus late Wednesday at Baseline Station

Ottawa Citizen: Pedestrian hit by bus at Baseline station

Ottawa Sun: Pedestrian hit by bus at Baseline station

A 46-year-old woman was taken to hospital with what were reported to be non-life-threatening injuries after being struck by a left-turning bus near Algonquin College at about 5:14 yesterday evening.  OC Transpo 6685 is a 2010 New Flyer D60LFR and is shown in the Flickr photo below:

8727571262_43c73cb74f_b.jpg

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Thank you, Tom!  I did catch an alert out of the corner of my eye yesterday on one of my news feeds but all the articles I could find on this accident gave hardly any details of what happened.  Thank you for confirming that it was in fact a "left-turning-bus-pedestrian" accident. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 4/3/2016 at 0:33 PM, roamer said:

A SEPTA bus making a left turn hits a 93-year old male crossing the street inside a crosswalk pinning him under the bus in Glenside, Pennsylvania yesterday afternoon.  The pedestrian didn't survive.  The bus driver was reportedly a female.  The bus appears to be a Nova Bus LFS HEV which has the pesky double windshield pillar.  

http://6abc.com/news/police-id-man-93-struck-and-killed-by-septa-bus-in-glenside-/1273439/

http://www.fox29.com/news/local-news/115288947-story

Also, it was brought up previously in this thread about the size and extemely horrendous mounting position of SEPTA's left mirror  ...one of the worst I know of.  It's also been discussed about SEPTA's management to properly address the situation.

I'm making reference to the accident that happened back in April that is cited in the above post.

 

SEPTA driver charged with homicide...

It makes me furious that the bus driver is being charged with homicide!  Again, as I've said over and over again in this thread, transit agencies are responsible for providing their bus operators with safe equipment to drive.  Merely instructing their employees to rock-and-roll in the seat to compensate for this unsafe condition just isn't enough to remove them from legal complicity in my opinion.  The managers at SEPTA should also be charged with homicide.

SEPTA's unwillingness to take measures to modify the left mirror housing from blocking a driver's vision when making a left turn and their refusal to put pressure on bus manufacturers to engineer narrower A-pillars when procuring new equipment, is in itself reprehensible but even more so when they let this poor driver take the entire blame for this unfortunate accident.

I'm beyond frustrated.   

 

 

 

For those who haven't watched this TV station investigation from over a year ago on the mirror problem at SEPTA (and, again, all U.S. and Canadian transit agencies must address the same issue), it will explain in detail exactly what we've been discussing in this thread.  It also proves that SEPTA knows of the problem and yet fails to take ADEQUATE corrective measures.  "Just blame it on the drivers" is management's motto  ...it makes it much easier for them.  They really should go to an 8" x 8" left mirror (instead of the 8" x 15" or 8" x 12") and mount it much lower but they refuse to do that.  Like TriMet in Portland Oregon, they insist that the mirror is not the problem but it's the operator's fault for not compensating for the obstruction.  Like the former driver in the video below, I too had to literally stand up out of the seat to see over the left mirror housing when making a left turn with an 8" x 15" mirror mounted at eye-height.  Yes, it's ultimately the driver's fault but the management at transit agencies can help the driver by providing them with a safe bus to drive.  They stubbornly refuse to understand this.  The blood of that poor 93-year old pedestrian just innocently crossing the street inside a crosswalk, should now be exclusively on their hands since these accidents continue to happen!

VIEW VIDEO:  Transit agencies always pin the blame on bus drivers for design flaws

 

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A DeCamp MCI commuter bus making a left turn struck and killed an 82-year old pedestrian attempting to cross the street in West Orange New Jersey yesterday morning.  The MCI involved has a large left mirror mounted at the driver's eye-height.  MCI coaches with a similar left mirror housing have been involved in several left-turning accidents which have been discussed in this thread.  

Pedestrian killed by bus was 82-year-old woman, officials say

DeCamp bus strikes, kills pedestrian in West Orange

 

Another recurring phenomenon seems to be that many of the victims of these left-turning bus accidents are either elderly or women (or both).  My guess is that generally, an elderly person may be physically frail or perhaps hunched over and women are generally shorter than men so may be more susceptible to be hidden behind the left mirror housing when a bus driver is making a left turn.

The combination of a short pedestrian crossing the street AND a bus driver who may either be 1) of short stature, 2) has a short torso or, 3) prefers to sit lower in the seat  when a bus is making a left turn, is probably the most likely scenario for the pedestrian getting hidden behind the left mirror housing and being hit. 

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Another reason for the driver to move his head as well as his eyes, and perhaps his body as well, when making turns.  There are blind spots on all buses regardless of the positioning of the mirror mounting.  I was taught to constantly move AS NEEDED to be able to check blind spots.  Left turns seem to be particularly bad.  My condolences to the pedestrians family and to the driver involved, his family, coworkers and friends.

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On 5/28/2016 at 1:57 PM, NotQuite said:

Another reason for the driver to move his head as well as his eyes, and perhaps his body as well, when making turns.  There are blind spots on all buses regardless of the positioning of the mirror mounting.  I was taught to constantly move AS NEEDED to be able to check blind spots.  Left turns seem to be particularly bad.  My condolences to the pedestrians family and to the driver involved, his family, coworkers and friends.

I appreciate your comments, Not Quite.  

Yes, I too was trained to compensate for the blind spot created by the left mirror housing and A-pillar by "rocking-and-rolling" in the seat as are the majority of professional bus operators.  

However, the reason I'm so passionate about wanting transit agencies to "provide their operators with safe equipment to drive" is that I personally had two extremely close calls when making a left turn in a bus where I came came literally within an inches from hitting a pedestrian.  I considered myself an extremely safety conscious driver and had 28 consecutive years without a preventable accident.  Yet, I still had those extremely close calls because I evidently didn't rock-and-roll quite enough to compensate for the blockage created by the left mirror housing.  

You may have noticed that in some of the left-turning-bus-pedestrian accidents that I chronicled in this thread, the drivers involved also had exemplary safety records with some having quite a few years and miles behind the wheel of a bus. 

 In my case, once the size of the mirror housing was reduced and mounted in a lower position, it opened up a drastically improved panorama pertaining to the visual field when making a left turn.  That's why I've been harping so much in this thread for transit agencies to examine this issue.  I still contend that it is the responsibility for transit agencies to provide safe equipment for their operators to drive and having buses with a large left mirror mounted at eye-height is unsafe.  Instructing them to rock-and-roll in the seat isn't enough and is irresponsible on their part to leave it at that. 

If you have the time and the patience to read though my comments in this thread, perhaps you'll get a better picture of my agenda and why I feel the way I do.  Thanks again.  

 

 

 

Transit agencies always pin the blame on bus drivers for design flaws

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Point taken Roamer.  I too agree that safe equipment is important.  I was simply meaning that the best equipment is not a perfect answer.  The operator of the equipment must also do his part also.  Too often I have seen op's that simply sit in the seat and seldom move to compensate for blind spots that even the best designed buses can have. 

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Sure, I understand completely what you're saying.  But believe me, no bus driver "wants" to hit and injure or kill a pedestrian.  It is ultimately their responsibility but transit agencies are remiss in not providing their drivers with safe buses to drive.  Left mirror size must be reduced and the mirror housing mounted so it's out of the way of the driver's line of vision when making a left turn.  This along with putting pressure on bus manufacturers to make the A-pillars as narrow as possible which they are not doing now.  Thanks again for your comments! 

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...and another one.  This happened Saturday afternoon in Newark New Jersey where a lady was crushed under an NJ Transit bus as it made a turn.  She is expected to live but unfortunately it looks as if she will lose both legs.  I have ascertained by matching up the bus route (rt. 99) and the Google image of the intersection that this is another left-turning-bus-pedestrian accident.    The bus was a NABI 416.15 which is a high floor 40-footer.  

Woman struck by NJ Transit bus in Newark

Yes, the bus driver will be charged for the accident by NJ Transit and likely be fired, plus will also be cited by the police.  Will NJ Transit feel any responsibility for what happened?  ...absolutely not.  These accidents will always be entirely the fault of the driver as far as managers at transit agencies are concerned.  

As noted previously, these left-turning-bus-pedestrian accidents happen much too frequently. 

 

 

Transit agencies always pin the blame on bus drivers for design flaws

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OCTA 5414OCTA 7605OCTA 7420IMG_0506OCTA 5707 (2)OCTA 5577

Here's all the examples of OCTA buses having large mirrors that obstruct the driver's view. They've had a few incidents with their higher-class transit buses lately. The Gillig Phantoms, GMC New Looks, Flxible New Looks, Grumman-Flxible 870s, GMC T8H-203s, and New Flyer D40s have the less obtrusive mirrors in them, but more recently in their bus orders, they have been getting them with the larger mirrors, just like the 1995 New Flyer D40LFs had. The mirrors found on the NABI 40-LFWs, New Flyer D60LFs, and D40LFs are better that all other buses. 

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On 6/4/2016 at 10:01 AM, A. Wong said:

Thanks for the article, A. Wong,

This is a good place for me to stop bumping this thread and you can now close it or it can be left open but I am no longer going to keep bumping it.  It’s not because of any animosity on my part towards this forum and I definitely do appreciate that you have let me express my concerns about this issue.

The reason for my decision is two-fold.  One, as mentioned previously, the ATU is aware of the problem and has been for some time …for quite a few years, in fact.  Their influence to change things is what should eventually make the difference.  They represent the majority of public bus drivers in the U.S. and Canada and it should be incumbent upon them to fight for those they represent and serve.  

And the second reason being because of the sentiment expressed in the article you cited and the increasing amount of correspondence I’m receiving from those who do not drive buses telling me that they insist it is always the fault of the bus driver when a pedestrian is hit by a bus making a left turn (something I do understand) and asking me to stop making excuses to suggest otherwise.    

As an epilogue to this thread, let me once again explain my principal premise that a transit agency must provide their employees with safe equipment to drive with this example:

In 1979 our transit agency purchased a fleet of D900 Flyers.  Every time it rained and/or the roadway was wet --and this was in an area of the U.S. noted for it’s wet climate-- the driver’s side window and left mirror surface would get covered with road spray to the point where we could not see at all out of the left mirror and had trouble seeing through the first part of the side window.  

When we complained to management about the problem, they just told us “take a paper towel, open the back half of the window, stick your left arm out and wipe off or clean the mirror surface and the outside of the front half of the window.”  They provided extra paper towels so drivers could take a bunch with them to use on the road.

When we asked if we were expected to do this as we were driving down the road, they said “of course not.  Do it when you’re stopped in a bus zone or at a red light.”  At a red light???? …they retorted by saying, “well then, just do it at your terminal when you can get out of the bus and are able to wipe off the road spray crud from outside.  What they didn’t realize is that as soon as we got back on the road, the spray would sometimes immediately obscure the mirror and window again, necessitating another cleaning.  

When we expressed our disdain at having to do the cleaning procedure dozens of times a day and it being an unreasonable solution to a safety problem that shouldn’t exist in the first place, they told us “you are being instructed to clean off your mirror surface and window so that you are able to safely maneuver the bus and we are providing you with the tools to do this.”  Tools?  Paper towels are tools???  These instructions were stated in an official bulletin and left at that.

It obviously was an unreasonable solution.  This went on for a few weeks with drivers getting increasingly irritated at the situation and now the Union was getting involved in putting pressure on management to find a solution.

There came a point where a somewhat of a “wildcat” disruption was planned one day by shop stewards where the drivers were instructed by the union not to leave the yard with these unsafe buses.  

You can imagine how management quickly changed gears to find a solution as fast as possible.  Within a few days, deflectors were installed on the A-pillar area of the bus to deflect the wind-flow so that the road spray would be directed away from the mirror area.

The stance the union took was that “management has the responsibility to provide the driver with a safe bus to drive.”  Even though they gave a solution which put a band-aid on the problem, it still wasn’t providing the operator with a safe bus to drive no matter how many paper towels they gave the driver.  Luckily, I don’t believe any accidents occurred where anybody was injured or killed because of this obstruction of vision.  

The parallel in the left-turn-pedestrian-accident scenario is that instructing the driver to rock-and-roll in the seat before and while making left turn definitely mitigates the problem just as paper towels do with the road spray problem, but doesn’t solve it.  They still are not providing a safe bus to drive but rather providing a band-aid.   This problem, OTOH, has injured and killed many.innocent people. 

A safe bus is one where the driver’s view is not obstructed by a large left mirror mounted directly at the operator’s eye-height that doesn’t require excessive rocking-and-rolling in the seat or standing up out of the seat in order to see around the obstruction when making a left turn.  A safe bus is one that is intentionally designed to have A-pillars which are as thin as possible so to not obstruct a driver’s view when making a left turn without performing excessive rocking and rolling.  

I’ll leave it at that.  Again, my appreciation goes out to all on this forum, including the administrators, that have allowed me to express my stance  …including the multiple instances of ranting-and-raving and the many times I have repeated the same sentences, positions, and examples pertaining to this topic.  Thanks all.

 

 

Transit agencies always pin the blame on bus drivers for design flaws

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Article came across on my Facebook feed. Noticed the company involved was a company i used to work with. Two Pedestrians Struck by Tour Bus in Victoria Thankfully the people are ok with non life threatening injuries. Bus involved was a Van Hool T2145. Hope the driver is fine as well from the event. Also a link to a google maps view of the intersection: Belleville st and Douglas St

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Even though I no longer intend to post to this thread, I just ran across this article published tonight online on a local Providence paper's website pertaining an accident that happened in Rhode island last month involving an MCI coach making a left turn that stuck and killed a woman.  I decided to ad it to the thread because it has an excellent commentary by Brain Sherlock of the ATU where he again summarizes the basic premise of this thread:

Union: Buses' blind spots unnecessary, fatal hazard

 

 

Transit agencies always pin the blame on bus drivers for design flaws

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Another pedestrian killed by a left-turning MTA transit bus in NYC.  Most likely caused by the blind spot continually referenced in this thread.

http://www.streetsblog.org/2016/10/04/mta-bus-driver-kills-anna-colon-73-on-the-lower-east-side/

"The Amalgamated Transit Union says wide A pillars and poorly-designed mirrors on U.S. buses impede driver vision. The ATU has called for a design fix to reduce the number of pedestrians struck by bus drivers."

 

 

 

Transit agencies always pin the blame on bus drivers for design flaws

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On 10/5/2016 at 9:54 PM, captaintrolley said:

follow up article:

Union argues Edmonton bus blind spot could hide 19 pedestrians

"Transit union officials say an unnecessary, massive blind spot on Edmonton’s New Flyer buses was likely to blame in Tuesday’s fatal pedestrian accident and are urging officials to retrofit the vehicles with a better mirror."

 

 

 

Transit agencies always pin the blame on bus drivers for design flaws

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Hah.  Even though I've pledged to stop editorializing here, I feel the need to urge anybody who doesn't understand the premise of this thread to again watch the video linked below.    

The reason i bring it up now is that I had a phone conversation last night with a driver who recently had a close call while making a left turn in a bus.   Hearing her relate the experience was eerily similar to the ones I had.  We were both very lucky as well as the pedestrians we nearly hit.  I slept very little last night as I kept recalling just how close I did come to completely "mowing over" a pedestrian when making a left turn in a bus.  

The video which as been posted previously nicely ties up the loose ends we've discussed in this thread.  

* the problem from a driver's perspective (several drivers give their thoughts and experiences)
* the stance from the president of the ATU International (Amalgamated Transit Union), Lawrence Hanley
* an explanation from Brian Sherlock of the ATU (instrumental in making changes at King County Metro in Seattle)
* sentiments from David Sale (father of Danielle who was a victim of the horrendous accident in Portland Oregon in 2010 ...

)

 

"Roughly one pedestrian per week is killed by a transit bus in the United States. Buses have huge left hand mirrors, mounted in critical sight lines, that needlessly block the driver's vision and cause fatal pedestrian accidents. In fact, from the point of view of the bus driver, up to 13 pedestrians may be hidden behind the massive "A" pillar and left side mirror at any given time. The cost of eliminating the blind spot is under $300 per bus."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Transit agencies always pin the blame on bus drivers for design flaws


 

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6 hours ago, captaintrolley said:

It's really sad to hear that it was a 13-year old girl.  I'm devastated by this news as I am by each occurrence of somebody getting killed in this manner but it breaks my heart that this time, it was a 13-year old.  

Although Edmonton Transit understands the problem (many transit agencies refuse to acknowledge it being a problem at all and continue to entirely blame the driver for not adequately "bobbing and weaving" or "rocking and rolling" to avoid not seeing a pedestrian when making a left turn), they still need to immediately retrofit the left mirror in the same manner that KCM in Seattle did a few years back.  ETS must get rid of those 15" x 8" left mirrors as quickly as possible as must all transit agencies that use them as they are completely unnecessary obstacles that block a driver's vision when making a left turn.  I personally can attest to this.  

It opens up a panorama of vision during the execution of a left turn to have the left mirror reconfigured in the manner KCM in Seattle did a few years back compared to having it blocked by that 15" x 8" left mirror mounted at potentially the driver's eye-height.   KCM initially used the dreaded 15" x 8" left mirror housing mounted at eye-height starting in 1996 when the Gillig Phantoms started to arrive on property.  They continued to use the 15" x 8" left mirror housing on other series of new coaches as they arrived until the retrofit started sometime around 2004-2005 because of left turn pedestrian accidents. Since then, new buses have been fitted with the smaller and lower-mounted left mirrors.  The entire KCM fleet (even the Gillig Phantoms left in service) now use the smaller 8" x 8" left mirror mounted in a lower position (see photo below).  

Here's the left mirror ETS currently uses:

Edmonton_Transit_System_4135-a.jpgfile photo from CPTDB courtesy of A. Wong

Here is an example of a retrofitted left mirror on a KCM coach ...smaller 8" x 8" square mirror mounted much lower than driver's eye-height::

11675526116_6baca6e213_b.jpgpermission to use photo courtesy of Zack Heistand

 

Kudos to ETS, however, in making an effort to order buses with re-engineered A-pillars which virtually eliminates the traditional A-pillar location on the left side.  All transit agencies must put pressure on bus manufacturers to produce new buses in this manner.  The re-configuration of both the left mirror (size and mounting location) and the re-location (and/or reduction of its width) of the A-pillar will prevent most left-turn-pedestrian accidents.

Edmonton drivers say new ETS buses could eliminate blind spot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Transit agencies always pin the blame on bus drivers for design flaws

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Another killed last night by a bus making a left turn.  This was in Philadelphia where SEPTA coach #8310, a 2009 New Flyer DE41LF, hit and killed a woman crossing the street in a crosswalk pushing a stroller while the bus was making left turn.  The driver was also a woman.  

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20161129_Person_fatally_hit_by_SEPTA_bus_in_Center_City.html

http://6abc.com/news/woman-struck-killed-by-septa-bus-in-center-city-idd/1629323/


SEPTA has had a number of left-turn-pedestrian accidents.  They did retrofit their left mirror to a "slightly smaller one" at 12" x 8" from the infamous 15" x 8" but didn't mount it any lower.  As northwesterner commented in THIS POST, their retrofit could not be expected to accomplish much.  The mirror head/housing is still too large and they didn't mount it low enough to not present a visual obstacle to a short driver, a driver with a short torso, or one who sits low in the seat.  See the video cited at the bottom of my posts for the SEPTA situation and their management's tendency to ultimately blame the driver even though they did agree to do a halfhearted retrofit of the left mirror (Transit agencies always pin the blame on bus drivers for design flaws)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Transit agencies always pin the blame on bus drivers for design flaws

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On 27/11/2016 at 4:31 PM, roamer said:

Kudos to ETS, however, in making an effort to order buses with re-engineered A-pillars which virtually eliminates the traditional A-pillar location on the left side.  All transit agencies must put pressure on bus manufacturers to produce new buses in this manner.  The re-configuration of both the left mirror (size and mounting location) and the re-location (and/or reduction of its width) of the A-pillar will prevent most left-turn-pedestrian accidents.

Edmonton drivers say new ETS buses could eliminate blind spot

That article, I'm afraid, needs to be taken with a grain of salt. The writer simply found the tender for the next ETS order and is jumping to conclusions about bus parts that he has no clue about.

I strongly suspect this mention of a "continuous window (hidden frame)" is for frameless, or, bonded passenger windows (and drivers window) that give an appearance of a continuous window from the outside, and really only are for aesthetics. It's worth noting that this item in the NRFP document is listed under options. While I don't know when the tender was written, I strongly suspect it was written before the October accident as this tender was originally supposed to be reported on to City Council back in August. In other words, it predates the current discussion around the blind spot in Edmonton and the issue wasn't on anyones radar to the degree it is today.

Now, what exactly does the tender say for mirrors?

"MIRRORS

The view from the operator’s seat provided by any mirror installed on the Bus should be clear and unobstructed for operators ranging from the 5th to 95th percentile North American male and female statures with the operator’s seat being positioned through the full range of adjustments.

The interior and exterior mirrors shall be rugged, adjustable and located so as not to create bump hazards for the passengers and the operator. The Technical Officer will approve the layout and types of mirrors and support at the Design Review meetings. Installation shall meet CMVSS 111.

The exterior mirrors should be mounted on heavy-duty pivoted arms that do not amplify vibration due to on-board equipment or road surface irregularities. Lucerix is preferred.

The exterior mirrors will not extend more than 20cm from the side of the Bus body. The overall width of the Bus (mirror to mirror) must be less than 3m.

The exterior mirrors should be mounted on break away arms to reduce damage to the Bus.

Provision of a mirror on the right side which aligns with the convex rear door mirror.

Right and left side mirrors shall be remote controlled and heated. Lubrication fittings should be provided. Quick connect electrical connectors shall be provided. Wiring to be properly protected to minimize damage.  Left rear view mirror should be completely visible from the operator’s seat with the operator’s window open completely.

A flat glass rear view mirror shall be 17” wide x8” tall and near the top and in the centre of the windshield to allow the operator to view the interior of the Bus."

It's worth noting that a specific mirror size is not speced. 

There are two options that related to this blind spot issue:

"Mirrors- Top-down/ above-eye. Heated. LED signal. Auto-return. Flat and convex."

"Pedestrian collision warning system"

Generally speaking, I doubt many of the 39 options listed (and some are pretty vague and wide ranging) will come to be on production buses for ETS and are only listed in the tender as being for information purposes.

For a more recent article on the Edmonton issue: http://edmontonjournal.com/opinion/columnists/paula-simons-mary-and-mariama-parallels-between-deaths-of-bus-accident-victims-should-inspire-us-to-act

Not a big fan of the columnist myself, but she has done her homework on this issue and highlighted what other properties have done. I was actually quite disappointed not to see Seattle's solution included.

 

They couldn’t have been more different.

Mary Lynch, 83, was the doyenne of a well-connected Edmonton family, a longtime volunteer with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese’s Providence Renewal Centre, a grandmother with a lifetime of community service.

Mariama Sillah, 13, was the daughter of Muslim immigrants from Sierra Leone. A Grade 9 student at the Victoria School of the Arts, she had a lifetime of adventure ahead of her.

Mary and Mariama.

They probably never met. They came from the opposite sides of Edmonton, in every sense. 

Their deaths were tragically, horrifically parallel.

Mary Lynch died Oct. 4 after she was hit by a city transit bus as she crossed the street near West Edmonton Mall at an intersection with traffic lights and a marked crosswalk.

Mariama Sillah died Nov. 26 after she was hit by a city transit bus as she crossed the street behind the Clareview Wal-Mart, an intersection that also had traffic lights and a marked crosswalk.

The buses had both been making left-hand turns.

Serious pedestrian accidents, caused when buses turn left, are not unique to Edmonton. A 2008 study from the American Transportation Research Board investigated 92 serious bus-and-pedestrian collisions that occurred at intersections. Of those, 60 per cent occurred when the bus was turning — and 69 per cent of those collisions involved a left turn.

Left turns are always tricky, even in a car. You have to watch for traffic coming towards you and for pedestrians crossing beside you. I still wince with mingled shame, horror and relief when I remember my own close call on a dark December evening last year, when I was hurrying home, so focused on waiting for a break in the traffic coming toward me that I didn’t double-check the foot traffic beside me. I nearly clipped someone who came dashing across the street, trying to beat the countdown clock, as I turned left onto Jasper Avenue.

It’s a dangerous mix — motorists who may be distracted or pressed for time or who just feel entitled to turn, and pedestrians who may also be distracted or pressed for time or who just feel entitled to walk. It’s a wonder more fatalities don’t happen. 

But city transit bus drivers face some unique challenges, including large blind spots caused by mirror placement and by the thicker support columns on either side of the windshield. Transit unions across North America have been raising alarms about such blind spots for years. 

Of course, blind spots can never be eliminated entirely. And in other North American cities, they’ve taken more aggressive and proactive approaches to safety. 

In Cleveland, Ohio, a spate of accidents convinced the Greater Cleveland Transit Authority to add a “safe turn alert” system to all city buses. Speakers on the right and left side of buses warn pedestrians when a bus is about to turn right or left — in the voice of the transit authority’s general legal counsel, Cheryl King-Benford. That’s certainly one way to reduce legal liabilities.

“It’s a small add-on, but we feel it helps greatly,” says Richard Czeck, the authority’s director of safety.

In Des Moines, Iowa, they started by having all drivers sound their horns when they turned. Since then, they’ve upgraded by adding alarms to buses instead, which beep when they’re about to turn left. They sent drivers to intensive safety training programs. And they rejigged their bus routes, especially in the urban centre, to minimize or eliminate left-hand turns wherever possible, at least in intersections without flashing green advance arrows.

“We took a shotgun approach,” says Tim Sanderson, chief operating office for DART, Des Moines Area Regional Transit. “We tried a number of small things, to see what worked.” 

Since the changes were first introduced in 2009, he says, DART hasn’t had a single “pedestrian strike” incident.

 

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On 11/29/2016 at 6:53 PM, M. Parsons said:

That article, I'm afraid, needs to be taken with a grain of salt. The writer simply found the tender for the next ETS order and is jumping to conclusions about bus parts that he has no clue about.

I strongly suspect this mention of a "continuous window (hidden frame)" is for frameless, or, bonded passenger windows (and drivers window) that give an appearance of a continuous window from the outside, and really only are for aesthetics. It's worth noting that this item in the NRFP document is listed under options. While I don't know when the tender was written, I strongly suspect it was written before the October accident as this tender was originally supposed to be reported on to City Council back in August. In other words, it predates the current discussion around the blind spot in Edmonton and the issue wasn't on anyones radar to the degree it is today.

  <snip>

 

Excellent comments, M. Parsons.  Thank you.  It clarifies some things for me pertaining to the situation at ETS.

Yes, now that I have re-read that article, it does seem to be referring to "frameless" windows as has been an option that most manufacturers have offered now for a number of years for as you've mentioned, the esthetic value that tends to make a bus appear more streamlined and modern may be falsely ballyhooed as having a reconfigured A-pillar.  Frameless windows do not have anything to do with the A-pillar area which is what presents a problem for the driver when it is wider than necessary and blocks vision in conjunction with the left mirror.  

No matter, ATU's Brian Sherlock has worked with bus manufactures in finding ways to reduce the width of the A-pillar.  It is my understanding that he actually was able to get Orion to reduce the width of the A-pillar on the order of VII EPA10s that KCM had ordered but it somehow fell through the cracks and never was implemented during the manufacturing process.

With today's technology and engineering advancements, I see no reason why bus manufacturers can't reduce the width of the A-pillar.  Transit agencies must put pressure on bus manufacturers to get this accomplished.  

I still believe that the combination of reducing the width of the A-pillar and using the KCM (Seattle) mirror size and mounting position will virtually get rid of most of the blind area that is presented during a left turn.  This would cut down greatly on the pedestrian collisions if not almost eliminating them (they obviously will not be eliminated completely but would at least cut it down to a negligible occurrence).  

The goal is to have the driver not have those obstacles blocking his/her vision without having to do the excessive "bobbing and weaving" and "rocking and rolling" that is now required.  Yes, drivers are expected to do some moving around in order to see around obstacles in general but the thick A-pillar in combination with a large mirror housing mounted at potentially eye-height is not necessary and just making it so much more difficult and stressful for the driver  ...stress and difficulty that can easily be eliminated by providing equipment that is SAFE to drive.  

Again, your comments are very much appreciated.  Thanks again. 

 

 

 

 

 

Transit agencies always pin the blame on bus drivers for design flaws

 

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