During the week of June 1-6, 2021, volunteers across Canada were involved in counting cyclists in their cities, towns and regions. As part of its testing and research activities Gorski Consulting has been involved in a various traffic documentation procedures over the past 30 years. Most of these have involved the use of multiple video cameras to extract data for use in forensic collision analysis. As such video has been gathered that included observations of cyclists. As part of the Velo program Gorski Consulting volunteered to make additional counts during the first week of June using the same procedures of video analysis. These data have now been sent to Velo to be included in the counts made by other volunteers throughout Canada.
The summary table below shows the counts that were documented by Gorski Consulting during the week of June 1-6, 2021. These counts were made at two locations: 1. On Hale Street between the two ends of Heather Crescent and 2. Along the Thames Valley Parkway (TVP) path just south of Trafalgar Street at the Pottersburg Creek Bridge.
The documentations on Hale Street showed very low volumes of cyclist, pedestrian and other non-motor-vehicle units. Such data is valuable when we need a full understanding of the active transportation mode that exists in non-traditional count locations.
The numbers 26 through 38 in the “Path Location” column indicate the number of sessions that Gorski Consulting has completed where cyclists and pedestrian traffic has be documented by multiple video cameras. These permanent records are valuable because they also include instances where observed cyclists/pedestrians travel past markers and thus average speeds can be calculated. Other details such as the actions and interactions of cyclists, pedestrians and other units can be used to explore safety issues and where conflicts occur.
We expect mysterious deaths to occur in totalitarian regimes like Nazi Germany or the Stalinist Soviet Union. We should not expect it in democracies like Canada. But that is what happens when police, news media and other officials work together to hide the cause of a death.
On February 10th, 2021 a driver attempted to evade police is Sarnia and his vehicle went out of control resulting in his death. Official news media reported that the vehicle struck a fence but there was no indication of any other impact. At Gorski Consulting we have been aware that certain fences can cause the harpooning of vehicle and we wondered whether this could be such an incident. But no information about the cause of death was revealed. A single photo was provided of the collision site showing the vehicle that was covered in a tarp. But there was no photo of the fence.
As our suspicions were raised we prepared an article entitled “Death By Vehicle Impalement And The Silence That Enables It”. The following paragraph comes from that article.
“In the most recent case which occurred on February 10th, 2021, a driver sustained mysteriously fatal injuries after his vehicle struck a chain link fence along the property of Hanna Memorial Public School in Sarnia Ontario. Although the vehicle remained on the school grounds a large tarp was placed over its complete perimeter as the body of the victim was still in the vehicle. While there was good reason to cover the vehicle there was no reason to hide other portions of the scene such as the condition of the chain link fence which had been struck. The obvious fact that “a section of the school yard fence along Russell Street was damaged”, as reported by local news media, was not accompanied by any photos of that fence. In fact, a photo of the tarped vehicle was so closely cropped that it prevented any view of the damage to the fence. No mention was made by any official party as to how the driver sustained the reported fatal injuries. So, in fact, the public would know nothing about the possibility that the vehicle might have been impaled by the fence and that the fatal injuries could have been caused by that impalement. This type of concealment causes the enablement of injury and death that could be prevented if such tragic results were known.”
No further information was provided about the cause of the driver’s death until an article was published by CTV news on June 10, 2021. In that article it was noted that Sarnia police were cleared by the SIU in the man’s death. And finally the author made the following comment; “The car went into a chain link at Hanna Memorial Public School and a piece of metal railing from the fence broke through the vehicle and impaled the man, killing him”. Four months after the incident the public is finally made aware that the man was impaled.
Reviewing the various news articles written about the incident what has been emphasized is that the driver was attempting to evade police. It was also emphasized that police were not responsible for the man’s death. However at no point was it emphasized that the public could be in danger due to the presence of the fence. It is as if the public is to believe that only vehicles whose drivers are in the process of evading police are in danger of being harpooned.
This incident occurred on the property of a public school. What if a mother was driving her child to school on a slippery winter day and she lost control of her vehicle and struck the fence. Could the fence impale her or her child? And if this occurred could the news media be relied upon to report the cause of death? If fences exist throughout Ontario (which they do) that could potentially harpoon a vehicle should this fact be known by the public? If these incidents are rare should they remain concealed?
Death by impalement is a dreadful consequence. Even drivers who are evading police do not deserve to die by impalement. We do not avoid it by ignoring that it exists. We avoid it by making its presence known, evaluating how it occurred and making corrections to reduce the chance that it will happen again.
Four Pedestrian Fatality Collision on Hyde Park Road in London Ontario – Further Evidence From the Site
(Updated: 1315 hours, June 8, 2021)
A southbound vehicle struck a family of five pedestrians, killing 4, on Hyde Park Road and South Carriage Road in London, Ontario on June 6, 2021. Our examination of the collision site occurred only a couple of hours after it was opened. The following provides additional details from the site.
After the vehicle struck the pedestrians it travelled along the west roadside of Hyde Park Road for approximately 56 metres before the vehicle struck a small sign post, as shown in the image below.
The sign post was flattened at its base as shown below.
Unusually the post itself was twisted, as shown below.
Fresh markings on the stem revealed the manner of contact with the striking vehicle.
The peculiarity of this evidence is that it is believed that the vehicle was travelling quite quickly when it contacted the sign post. There seems to be considerable marking not consistent with a motion parallel to the sign post. Yet the extent of damage is considerable and therefore consistent with a significant force application.
We attempted to follow the vehicle’s path further past the struck sign post. This was an area where news personnel and other site wanderers did not cause as much trampling of the evidence. A view south of the sign post is shown below. There was no evidence of contact to the dark junction box to the right of the view and there was no evidence of tire marks south of the struck sign post.
Even though tire marks do not reveal a path, one can examine the status of any taller weeds to determine if there has been any recent damage. Examination of several of these weeds suggested that the vehicle may have travelled back on the road surface shortly after striking the sign. But this conclusion is very tentative given the lack of evidence.
The alternative is that the vehicle may have come to a stop over top of the struck sign. Evidence supporting this conclusion comes from a tire mark located on the sidewalk just north of the struck sign. The general area is shown in the northward view shown below, followed by a closer view of the tire mark.
The south end of the tire mark is darker and suggests a change in direction. Such evidence often occurs when a tire is stopped and the vehicle changes direction. In the bare earth at the upper left of the close-up view there was a tire tread print that could be the extension of the tire mark as if the vehicle backed up into the driveway. This tire tread print is shown below.
Given that numerous persons trampled through the site, including emergency personnel, and that many police personnel and vehicles were likely in the area, it is not possible to determine if this evidence occurred during the collision event or was caused sometime after. However, given the lack of visible tire marks south of the sign post, and given the extent of damage to the sign post in a non-parallel fashion, the possibility that the striking vehicle stopped and backed into the driveway cannot be excluded. Police photos and other information from their investigation will undoubtedly confirm what transpired.
Intended Murder of Muslim Pedestrians in London Ontario – Site Evidence Alone Cannot Confirm Intentions
(Updated: 1310 hours, June 8, 2021)
Four pedestrians were killed yesterday, June 6, 2021 in London, Ontario when a southbound vehicle struck a group of pedestrians on Hyde Park Road at its intersection with South Carriage Road.
Having just completed an examination of the collision site on Hyde Park Road and South Carriage Street in London, Ontario, we can confirm that the evidence at the site alone cannot determine whether four Muslim pedestrians were purposely killed by a driver who veered into them yesterday.
The photo below shows a view looking south along Hyde Park Road taken this afternoon. In the background is South Carriage Road.
The next photo takes us to the north side of the intersection with South Carriage Road. The striking vehicle veered to the right and struck the pedestrians to the right of the traffic signal located on the south side of the intersection. We would want to examine the road surface in this region to establish whether there are any markings caused by the vehicle as it veered to the right. No such markings were observed.
There were no visible markings until the vehicle struck the curb and tire scrub marks were created on the curb by the two front tires. The photo below shows the general location of the curb where the tire scrub marks existed.
The photo below shows a closer view of the curb where the tire scrub marks were created.
The photo below shows the scrub mark caused by the left front tire.
The photo below shows the scrub mark caused by the right front tire.
Once the vehicle mounted the sidewalk some tire marks became visible on the concrete sidewalk likely from overloading when the vehicle made contact with the pedestrians. One of these overloading marks is shown in the photo below.
After the vehicle struck the pedestrians and passed through the sidewalk it moved onto the grass roadside and travelled almost 60 metres before knocking over a small sign. Some of the tire marks from the vehicle can be seen below just to the right of the sidewalk.
Unfortunately some news crews have the subtilty of a charging bull elephant as they trampled all over the tire marks and other evidence. The photo below, looking north toward the area of impact, is one of many examples where news crews simply set up their equipment over top of the tire marks.
Sometimes the actions of a vehicle such as braking, acceleration or neither, can be established by the character of the grass on which the vehicle travelled. This cannot be done well when persons have trampled through that evidence and destroyed the fragile evidence that might have existed there. The paint marking shown on the asphalt in the next photo were created by the investigating police to document the southward path of the vehicle.
Looking further to the south the photo below shows the small sign that was knocked over about 56 metres south of where the pedestrians were struck.
The photo below shows a view looking north from just south of the struck sign and back toward the area of impact in the background.
Overall, the evidence at the site does not provide any conclusive evidence as to whether this was an intentional act of hate against the Muslim pedestrians. The police may have further evidence such as the data from the vehicle’s event data recorder (“Black Box”) and perhaps other evidence that might lead to the driver’s intentions but what that evidence may be has not been revealed at this time.
Whatever the intentions of the driver, it is a sad result that so many lives were taken.
Over the past week five sessions of cyclist observations were performed by Gorski Consulting, each approximately 2-3 hours, with respect to the Velo Cycling Count that has been taking place throughout Canada during the week of June 1-6, 2021. Because the sessions are videotaped analysis is required to extract the cycling numbers. Also the procedures performed by Gorski Consulting include counts of all users of any site, including pedestrians and specialized vehicles.
The results are available from two of the sites where observations were conducted on June 2, 2021: Three hours of observation made on Hale Street between the two legs of Heather Crescent and two hours of observations performed on the Thames Valley Parkway just south of Trafalgar St at the Pottersburg Creek Bridge. Results from the Hale Street site indicated very low numbers of cyclists and pedestrians.
At the Thames Valley Parkway (TVP) site on June 2, 2021 the data has been separated into two individual hours. In the first hour 35 cyclists were observed, 32 pedestrians and 2 other (specialized vehicles, etc). In the second hour 44 cyclists were observed, 15 pedestrians, and no others.
Analysis is on-going of the three remaining sessions, two at the Hale Street site and one at the TVP Trafalgar site.
With the completion of these two sessions Gorski Consulting now has completed 30, one-hour, sessions of cyclist observations in the City of London over the past 15 years.