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Pedestrians mown down on Commonwealth Avenue

By johnboy 17 October 2011 38

ACT Policing is seeking witnesses to a collision on Commonwealth Avenue this afternoon (Sunday, October 16).

About 2.10pm an 18-year-old Holt man was driving his car south bound along Commonwealth Avenue when he struck two pedestrians crossing the road approximately 70 meters north of the pedestrian crossing.

ACT Ambulance Service attended the scene and conveyed the pedestrians to hospital. The driver is assisting police with their enquiries.

Police urge anyone who witnessed the incident and is yet to speak to police to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, or via act.crimestoppers.com.au. Information can be provided anonymously.

[Courtesy ACT Policing]

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38 Responses to
Pedestrians mown down on Commonwealth Avenue
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chilli 12:40 am 24 Oct 11

Those traffic lights on Commonwealth Ave went up about 3 weeks before floriade started and now they are still there, a week after floriade finished – why the delay? It’s not like Queen Betty was going to use them. I wish the traffic authority would give a bit more consideration to drivers (and I wish Father Christmas was real, too).

ex-vectis 10:57 am 19 Oct 11

Classified said :

…but when someone steps out directly in front of your car it’s pretty unreasonable to expect the driver to magically stop or swerve.

Defensive driving courses teach you to look at what may happen as well at what actually is happening. IE. See people at the side of the road. Do I have enough stopping time at my current speed to stop if one of them steps out? Do I have vehicles behind me or to the side on the other lane which would make it dangerous for me to change lanes suddenly? Etc… Yes, there are times when the driver has a lapse of concentration or something happens that really could not be envisaged and this incident may well have been one of them. But shurley when driving through an area of high-pedestrian activity, with quickly changing scenarios happening right next to the road, the driver should have been much more aware of the dangers than he was.

That said, I dont know the full circumstances and cannot put my hand on my heart and say I wouldn`t have struck the pedestrian, but I`d like to think the chances are I`d have seen the danger coming and have already taken steps to reduce the risk – IE. Slowed down.

Classified 10:14 am 19 Oct 11

ex-vectis said :

Classified said :

It’s pretty hard to blame the driver, though.

The driver is in charge of a large piece of fast moving metal. As such, he should be 100% aware of everything going on around him – including observing idiots (and small children!) who may decide they want a closer look at his bumper. That is the bottom line. It is called defensive driving.

That’s fair enough, but when someone steps out directly in front of your car it’s pretty unreasonable to expect the driver to magically stop or swerve. Often the driver does manage to stop or swerve, but not always. Fundamentally, if you’re going to walk across a busy road with multiple lanes in each direction where vehicles travel at a variety of speeds, and not use the crossing, you’re taking your life into your own hands.

FWIW, I’ve never hit anyone when driving, and hope never to.

Chop71 9:58 am 19 Oct 11

Bangkok – Put up a fence

ex-vectis 9:43 am 19 Oct 11

Classified said :

It’s pretty hard to blame the driver, though.

The driver is in charge of a large piece of fast moving metal. As such, he should be 100% aware of everything going on around him – including observing idiots (and small children!) who may decide they want a closer look at his bumper. That is the bottom line. It is called defensive driving.

However, I have to concede that the road designers in Canberra seem hellbent on trying to create the most dangerous roads in Australia – and having the visitors to a National attraction crossing a main arterial road is just daft. You only need look at the dreadful and dangerous junction of southbound Commonwealth Ave/State Circle – funnelling traffic into two lanes while simultaneously creating a filter-off to State circle. Only need to view the amount of glass around there to see it is crazy.

Ok, while on my soap-box, if you get caught speeding in a roadworks area then just get your lawer to point out the number of finished roadworks that cannot be bothred to take down their ‘temporary’ limit signs. Being a law abider (if not a bit up my own backside) I try to keep to speed limits – but when I reduce speed to 40kph, only to find there are not any actual roadworks and other drivers are looking at me as if I’m stupid then it just makes a mockery of limits. These roadworks guy so need to up their games as they are actually increasing the chance of accidents at roadworks because folk simply dont believe the limit signs are valid. Ok, WELL off topic now so will shutup 🙂

dvaey 8:57 am 19 Oct 11

poetix said :

Don’t forget that many of the visitors to Floriade are elderly, and that for many of them 70 metres is quite a long walk.

If 70 meters is “quite a long walk”, then might I suggest that floriade is not the best option for them? If you cant walk the 70 meters to use a pedestrian crossing because its a ‘long walk’, youre gonna get one heck of a shock when you see how far you have to walk to experience floriade.

poetix said :

It does seem strange that so many people are made to cross the major thoroughfare to see the flowers.

It reminds me of the skyfire visitors who would rather cross Commonwealth avenue then walk to the lake edge, rather than walking to the lake edge first then crossing underneath. It is exactly the same distance, however I partly suspect that pedestrians simply go where the masses go, so if the masses were directed to the underpass, thats where they’d go.

buzz819 8:33 am 19 Oct 11

Engleburt_Humperdink said :

I wonder why this story doesn’t appear in the news sites, even Canberra times online isn’t running anything about it.

Perhaps it’s something orwellian related to the Queen’s visit? Can’t have any bad news overshadowing the Queen’s visit to floriade etc? I just find it extremely odd that this story isn’t all over the Canberra Times.

Nothing new there, when looking at the media releases on this site, you will find that just about none of them make it to the Canberra Times, let alone National News, if it’s not reported then it can’t have happened… Right?

Classified 8:32 am 19 Oct 11

Pretty damn unlucky I’d say. It’s pretty hard to blame the driver, though. The whole point of having the crossing and lower speed limit is becase during Floriade it’s a busy area. If you’re merging from Parkes way it’s also a bit of a handful when it’s busy.

Crossing the road 70 metres from the pedestrian crossing is a bit silly, although it’s worth remembering that many overseas visitors (not sure if this was the case here) come from places where laws are not written or held in the same way as here.

It’s a sad accident, but that’s all it is.

Engleburt_Humperdink 12:05 am 19 Oct 11

I wonder why this story doesn’t appear in the news sites, even Canberra times online isn’t running anything about it.

Perhaps it’s something orwellian related to the Queen’s visit? Can’t have any bad news overshadowing the Queen’s visit to floriade etc? I just find it extremely odd that this story isn’t all over the Canberra Times.

Aeek 9:18 pm 18 Oct 11

BigD said :

Unfortunately in this instance even if the driver was speeding or not paying proper attention he would not be at fault; the onus is on the pedestrians to ensure they are not in the way of cars when crossing or that they have sufficient time to cross. Interesting to see the outcome, I suspect a caution for the driver.

The Road Rules are quite clear. Pedestrians are not to move INTO the path of a vehicle.
Already being there is absolutely legal.

devils_advocate 6:41 pm 18 Oct 11

Deref said :

A wide road, excellent visibility, 60kph speed limit…how the fsck do you run into people crossing the road unless you’re trying really hard?

At least 2 possibilities come to mind.
1) pedestrian steps out onto road right in front of vehicle.
2) two cars are cruising down the road at same speed but one slightly behind, so the one behind can only see what is directly in front of him. Pedestrian crosses, slightly behind car happens to be the unlucky one

betto 6:01 pm 18 Oct 11

I was driving city-bound on Comm Ave just after the accident on Sunday, just as the ambulances were arriving. It looked like the people were much closer than 70m from the pedestrian crossing. It’s such a wide crossing there, it looked like one of them at least was only just off the crossing. They were right near the garden bed part at the crossing.

Also, I saw a small child crying next to one of the victims… was there perhaps some kind of child wandering into traffic situation or something?

It all seemed quite odd.

Grrrr 5:48 pm 18 Oct 11

These people were not jaywalking (as per post #11.) Don’t forget also that the foremost rule of the road is to avoid a collision.

Sure, let’s assume innocence on the part of the driver … However, it seems pretty suspicious that with such a wide, open road that the driver was unable to avoid hitting the pedestrians.

Engleburt_Humperdink 4:22 pm 18 Oct 11

red_dog said :

Engleburt_Humperdink said :

“Pedestrians mown down on Commonwealth Avenue”

This bizarre title seems to imply fault lying with the driver.

A range of scenarios are possible including fault lying with the ‘pedestrians’. What extra information is johnboy privy to which draws him to the conclusion that it was the drivers fault?!

How can this not be the driver’s fault? Are you suggesting the driver was stationary and the pedestrians ran up and threw themselves at the car? Of course it’s the driver’s fault … they’re the one responsible for the tonne of metal they’re blithely driving in the assumption that everyone’ll just get out of the way. FFS!

+1 EvanJames Don’t think pedestrians on crossings are immune 😉

Nope I’m not suggesting the driver was stationary or the pedestrians threw themselves anywhere.

What I am suggesting is that the car was exactly where you would expect a car to be. Driving in the correct direction on a public road. It’s not like the car swerved off the road and onto a walking track. Whether fatigue, distraction and/or speed were factors is unknown to me.

I think BigD is on the money both in his theory about how the accident may have occurred and the fact that the onus is on the pedestrians to ensure they are not in the way of cars when crossing or that they have sufficient time to cross. This is how it should be too. It’s not like there wasn’t a pedestrian crossing within a short distance.

It’s one thing to dart across a one lane quiet road, but to avoid a crossing and then try to dodge traffic on a very busy 3 lane road, is quite frankly, reckless and dangerous.

Terra 4:20 pm 18 Oct 11

The biggest floral show in the southern hemisphere with the most dangerous pedestrian access. Good one Canberra! Seriously that temporary crossing must be one of the worst black spots in Canberra, not to mention the horrible traffic snarls it causes for a month every year. Has anyone considered a temporary raised walkway? Keep the traffic flowing and provide safe access.

poetix 3:51 pm 18 Oct 11

EvanJames said :

Further, I wonder if they’ve thought ahead to that thump and crunch as they hit the person, the blood spattering, the screaming…

People can trip, fall, not get out of the way quickly enough, fair dinkum it makes me think we’ve had it as a species, watching this stupid, aggressive and yes murderous behaviour.

You shouldn’t need speed limits and signs and whatnot to take responsibility and drive in control, so you can avoid likely and possible eventualities.

grrr. (/rant).

The blood spattering, the screaming…
the smell of lawyers gathering…
Hopefully less of a factor than the guilt, but not to be ignored.

red_dog 3:45 pm 18 Oct 11

Engleburt_Humperdink said :

“Pedestrians mown down on Commonwealth Avenue”

This bizarre title seems to imply fault lying with the driver.

A range of scenarios are possible including fault lying with the ‘pedestrians’. What extra information is johnboy privy to which draws him to the conclusion that it was the drivers fault?!

How can this not be the driver’s fault? Are you suggesting the driver was stationary and the pedestrians ran up and threw themselves at the car? Of course it’s the driver’s fault … they’re the one responsible for the tonne of metal they’re blithely driving in the assumption that everyone’ll just get out of the way. FFS!

+1 EvanJames Don’t think pedestrians on crossings are immune 😉

BigD 3:44 pm 18 Oct 11

Having seen the accident site and footage of the police undertaking their checks I offer the following opinion:
The car was possibly merging onto Comm Av from Parkes Way.
In doing so the driver would have been looking at traffic coming from Civic, specifically the left hand side London Circuit lane. Those travelling on this road would know that there is a single white line until the bus stop on Commonwelath Avenue which prevents cars from changing lanes.
I theorise that the driver would have merged into traffic probably still looking in his rear view mirror or at the cars in the other lanes and then hit the pedestrian.. not expecting ANYONE to be crossing the road at that point. The Floraide period lights and crossing is a little further down from where the accident occurred. Unfortunately in this instance even if the driver was speeding or not paying proper attention he would not be at fault; the onus is on the pedestrians to ensure they are not in the way of cars when crossing or that they have sufficient time to cross. Interesting to see the outcome, I suspect a caution for the driver.

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