What’s Nelson’s most dangerous intersection?
According to new interactive crash maps released on the ICBC website yesterday, the intersection of Vernon and Ward streets saw 12 collisions last year and a block away, at Vernon and Stanley streets, there were 10 collisions.
Just outside the city boundary, where Granite and Government roads meet Hwy 6, there were 13 collisions in 2011. Including that intersection in the count, there were 144 crashes at Nelson intersections last year.
Nelson Police Insp. Henry Paivarinta said police supply ICBC with crash statistics for all accidents where damages are greater than $1,000, which could include anything from a ding in the bumper to a totaled vehicle.
“It doesn’t take much to get up to $1,000 in damages,” Paivarinta said. “Some of the accidents that get included in statistics are quite minor.”
The ICBC map excludes incidents involving parked vehicles and those where locational information isn’t available.
Statistics go back as far as 2007. The intersection of Vernon and Ward streets topped the list for number of crashes three out of the five years.
Paivarinta said that intersection is dangerous because it gets a relatively high volume of traffic, as part of the highway.
“The number one cause of accidents at intersections is distracted drivers,” Paivarinta said. “If people slow down and pay attention to the road and vehicles around them, there’d be a lot less accidents.”
Paivarinta said he still sees many people using hand-held electronics while driving, despite a law against it.
Of course, not all accidents involve two vehicles.
A separate map compiled by ICBC shows crashes involving vehicles striking pedestrians. The Nelson maps shows 13 incidents since 2007. The only intersection where multiple pedestrians were reportedly hit was again Ward and Vernon streets, where there were incidents recorded in 2007 and 2009.
Paivarinta said that intersection was made safer for pedestrians last year, after the Ministry of Highways adjusted the timing on the traffic signal at that intersection to give pedestrians more time to cross.
Still, he said pedestrians need to be responsible for making sure intersections are clear before they step into the roadway.
“You can’t treat a crosswalk like an extension of the sidewalk,” he said. “Pedestrians need to make eye contact with drivers and make sure they have time to stop for them.”
ICBC’s crash maps are online at icbc.com/about-ICBC/news_room/icbc_facts.