Urban roads: what’s the issue?
Urban roads can be some of the most congested, heavily travelled roads in Canada, supporting the daily life of cities. Urban centres draw in commuters from regions outside the core, increasing traffic exponentially. Compounding the chaos is the concentrated number of vehicles, typically operating along narrower lanes.
The good news for city dwellers? Urban routes can be safer, as lower speeds of travel are not as likely to result in fatal crashes. However, preventing any type of collision is paramount — city streets force interactions between vehicles and vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists. While city characteristics, such as increased opportunities for active transit, can create favourable environments for public health, there are also increased opportunities for collisions.
The road design of cities translates into many chances for conflicts or collisions between road users. One example is intersections, which are some of the most dangerous elements of roadways, as vehicle paths merge, diverge, or cross. These also introduce vulnerable road users to the mix through elements such as crosswalks and bike lanes — there can be at least 32 potential conflicts in one four-way intersection!
Know the Rules of Road
When visiting a new city, be sure to look up the traffic regulations. Cities may have ongoing pilot projects or different signage than you’re used to. For example, Toronto’s King Street Transit Priority Corridor limits personal vehicle traffic, while the city’s community safety zones have reduced speed limits.
Other road users — such as cyclists and pedestrians — may interact with your vehicle at any point during your journey, and intersections can be a prime spot for potential collisions. Using all mirrors and regularly checking blindspots will keep you well informed, and remember that slower speeds allow for better reaction time, should you need to hit the brakes at the last minute.