Perilous intersection strikes again

The most dangerous intersection in Whitehorse was the scene of yet another traffic accident Wednesday. This one broke the leg of an 11-year old boy.

The most dangerous intersection in Whitehorse was the scene of yet another traffic accident Wednesday. This one broke the leg of an 11-year old boy.

There have been 24 accidents at the intersection of Fourth and Second avenues this year, according to statistics from mid-June.

 That’s by far the most of any other intersection in the city, according to the Yukon motor vehicle branch.

On Wednesday at 1:45 p.m., a man from Surrey, British Columbia, was driving his wife and three young kids in a 1996 Chevrolet AstroVan northbound on Fourth Avenue, according to RCMP Sgt. Ross Milward.

He failed to yield the right of way to oncoming traffic while attempting to turn left on to Second Avenue.

The family vehicle was t-boned by a 1999 Ford Coupe van from The Brick heading northbound on Fourth Avenue, pinning a boy between the sliding door and the middle row seat.

The fire department had to pry open the door to release the boy, who suffered a broken leg.

He was taken to hospital by ambulance and was later released. There were no other injuries.

In the summer of 2005, the city changed the way traffic moves through the intersection

It upped the number of southbound lanes turning left on to Second Avenue from one to two.

The intersection only had 13 accidents each year for both 2003 and 2004.

It jumped to 29 in 2005 and so far has already reached 24 since mid-June 2006.

“There’s really no rhyme or reason why it should be happening,” Milward said yesterday.

“It’s kind of a mystery really.”

The dangerous intersection has been the subject of discussion within city council for months.

Suggestions have been made, such as repainting the lines in the area, adding stop bars and pedestrian zones.

Also discussed is the installation of high-collision signage as well as an education campaign.

And the city hired a traffic expert from Vancouver to examine the intersection.

Now it will wait for the expert’s report before making any more changes, said city engineer Wayne Tuck.

“We’re not touching anything,” he said.

“We’re not doing any modifications pending the outcome of this (report).”

He expects it to be completed next week.

Tuck has repeatedly said the intersection is not considered dangerous, and collisions are all attributed to driver error.

“People are running through red lights; they are not turning left properly, they’re turning left in front of other vehicles, they’re travelling too close to the vehicle in front of them, or they don’t stay in their lane,” Tuck told council.

Wednesday’s crash was the second-most common type of accident that occurs at that intersection, said Milward.

The most frequent collisions are from drivers driving westbound on Second Avenue and stopping suddenly before turning right up Fourth Avenue.

The AstroVan driver in Wednesday’s accident said his vision was blocked by a motor home turning left in the outside lane.

“The arrow had gone out and the solid green appeared and he didn’t see that and made his turn, so he failed to yield the right of way to the van,” said Milward.

“That’s no excuse,” said Tuck. “Even if you’re way is not clear, you don’t turn left unless you can see the road is clear.

“You don’t turn left blindly.”