For years this harpoon hazard has existed at the intersection of Quebec and Oxford Streets in London, Ontario while no one understood its danger. The issue may now be moot as a collision has destroyed it, maybe permanently (?)

Many simply refuse to recognize safety hazards to the point that they become willfully blind to them. Many roadside objects that harpoon or puncture wayward vehicles are ignored. They rest in place for many years because the probability that they will be struck is remote. Such has been the case of the railing that existed at the intersection of Quebec and Oxford Streets in London, Ontario.

The earliest view of the railing that we have on record comes from August, 2002, shown in the photo below.

This 2002 view of the railing at the intersection of Quebec and Oxford Streets in London, Ontario is partially obscured by the stopped van. A close view shows that some of its horizontal bars are not joined together. The height of these bars is in line with the height of the windshield of a passenger car. Would that be a problem?

Subsequent photos show that over the years the harpoon hazard has taken slightly different forms. The view below shows the railing in April of 2016.

View of the harpooning rail in April of 2016. Note that the ends of the horizontal bars are not protruding out as much as in the next photo below.

A closer view shows that it was quite different in years past. For example the photo below was taken in November, 2016 and it shows how a previous anchorage had existed as demonstrated by the anchorage hole in the square concrete block. Also the horizontal bars now protrude much further out from the anchorage post. So somewhere between April and November of 2016 the railing changed characteristics, possibly because it was struck, destroyed and replaced again.

Sometime in January of 2019 the railing was struck and destroyed as shown in the photos below taken on January 26, 2019.

View looking westbound along Oxford Street on January 26, 2019. The harpooning rail was destroyed likely a few days before this photo was taken.
This view from January 26, 2019 shows that a part of the harpooning rail still remains as traffic cones have been placed at the location where the railing is missing. What are the cones supposed to protect? If they are there to protect vehicle occupants from the protruding horizonal bars then those bars were in existence when the original railing was there.

It was hoped that someone recognized that the safety situation had improved with the destruction of the railing. But no. Sometime later the railway was replaced. again. We see in the photo below, taken in March of 2019, that the railing has been re-installed, with the dangerous horizontal bars waiting to impale the next wayward vehicle.

An interesting thing happened when the railing was struck and repaired. Someone in the City of London recognized the harpooning hazard and placed caps at the ends of the horizontal bars, as shown below.

As if something safer was going to take place, the City of London attached some plugs to the ends of the horizontal bars of the railing, as shown in this photo from November, 2021. The belief that these plugs would prevent a bar from penetrating the windshield of a wayward vehicle is just ridiculous.

Then the railing was struck again in January, 2023, thus demolishing most of it as on previous occasions.

This photo from January 1, 2023 shows the damaged railing after it was struck a few days earlier. It is more likely that the angle contact must have come from a vehicle travelling perpendicular to the length of the railing and none of the horizonal bars are buckled and the anchorage posts are moved to the north.

Shortly afterwards the railing was completely removed and replaced by portable concrete barriers as shown in the photos below.

This view, taken on January 7. 2023 shows that the railing has been completely removed and replaced by portable concrete barriers.
This view from January 7, 2023, looking east along Oxford Street, shows that the railing has been completely removed.

The question remains: Will the dangerous harpoon-railing be re-installed? Or will the City of London finally understand that such a dangerous installation should not exist at the edge of any busy, arterial roadway.