I am relating this story here on my blog as I wish to provide more information to the city insurance claims adjuster but am unable to successfully send image rich emails to the city without them being bounced for being to large.
There is an approximately 2.4 metre multi-use path adjacent to Castlemore Road on the south side running from Airport Road to Highway 50. This is a continuation of the Bovaird Trail that runs west from Airport Road, with a few breaks, to the Mount Pleasant area. Between the curb and the multi-use path is an approximately 1.0 metre maintenance strip that allows for roadside storage of snow in the winter. Unfortunately, in most places the maintenance strip and multi-use path are both made of asphalt so that there is no delineation between the two, although occasionally the maintenance strip is made of a coloured, pressed concrete. To the casual observer, unversed in road construction practices, it appears that there is a single 3.4 metre wide multi-use path.
Between Airport Road and Goreway Drive road traffic signs are placed 1.0 metre in from the curb, ostensibly between the maintenance strip and the multi-use path as in the following images.
The pathway is bidirectional with cyclists generally staying right as is customary in this country. When eastbound (as in the images) the signs would not pose a problem. However, when travelling westbound these signs can and do pose a hazard.
In May 2015, at night, my daughter was riding her bike westbound along this section of the pathway. She was keeping to the right side of the path, approaching Bayridge Drive, when she was startled by an aggressively driven car in the eastbound curb lane, and caught the edge of her handle bar on a sign that was placed in the path, rather than at the edge of the path as is usually the case, and she went down hard on her left side. She also cracked her phone screen which she was carrying in a cross body bag on her left side. She was crying and confused when she phoned us for help. We took her home, cleaned her up and watched her closely for the next few hours. Fortunately, we determined she did not need a doctor.
Had the sign been placed where the asphalt and grass intersect, as is usually the case, the accident would not have happened.
I wrote to the city and requested that the signs be relocated and that my daughter be reimbursed for her broken phone. I was informed by their insurance claims adjuster that the signs were placed “no more than 2 metres from the roadway edge” as required by “provincial guidelines contained in the Ontario Traffic Manual Book” and “it would therefore not be possible as you suggest moving the sign to the outer side of the multi-use pathway as this would place it at too great a distance from the roadway to comply with provincial guidelines”.
The letter continued, “For these reasons we believe that the City of Brampton had maintained this location in a reasonably safe condition and in compliance of provincial regulations. The City of Brampton can therefore not be held liable in this case. Although we very much regret your daughter’s unfortunate injury and loss, we must respectfully decline any claims”.
I believe that the adjuster is incorrect because while 5 signs are placed in this fashion between Airport Road and Goreway Road (a distance of 1.4km), a further 27 signs between Goreway Drive and Highway 50 (a distance of 4.9km) are placed exactly where I have suggested they should be placed, between the multi-use path and the grass, significantly more than 2.0 metres from the roadway edge. Furthermore, the signs along the Bovaird section of the pathway, while adjacent to a regional rather than city road, also place the signs more than 2.0 metres from the roadway edge.
According to Ontario Traffic Manual Book 1B, Section 12, “standardization of sign position is important so that drivers can quickly find signs in expected locations”. Thus on a single road all of the signs should be similarly placed in relation to the roadway edge.
Section 12 continues, “Standardization of position, however, cannot always be attained in practice, since signs must be placed in the most advantageous position and must be adapted to the road design and alignment.” Castlemore Road’s design includes a multiuse pathway which necessitates the signs be placed so as not to obstruct the safe flow of pedestrians and cyclists on the pathway, that is between the pathway and the grass.
Furthermore, whilst maximum horizontal distance from the roadway edge is defined for many types of signs in Book 1B Section 12, there is no maximum horizontal distance from the roadway edge defined for the types of signs posted on Castlemore Road and illustrated in my photographs.
The city cannot have it both ways: the five signs should be moved as I requested.
Since my daughter was travelling from east to west that evening and had safely passed 27 consecutive signs over a distance of 5km that were placed outside of the asphalt maintenance strip and multi-use path, she had a reasonable expectation that the signs over the next 1.4km of pathway would be similarly placed outside of the asphalt maintenance strip and multi-use path .
Here are the other 27 signs.
May 25 UPDATE to this post – I have been informed “these signs were installed in accordance with the applicable city standards and provincial guidelines. However, given the details of this incident, staff will consider relocating the sign(s) in question. ”
I am unsatisfied with this response, however, if the signs are actually moved I will consider it a small victory.