Corp Comm Connects

Where are you most at risk on York Region roads?
Oct. 18, 2022

You were safer on York Region roads last year -- but don’t expect it to last.

A newly released study reveals collisions on regional roads decreased in 2021 by seven per cent compared to 2020 -- with about 4,200 crashes, 21 per cent involving personal injury.

That tally is expected to rise, however. There were 10 to 35 per cent fewer drivers on the road in 2021. The lifting of pandemic precautions means more traffic will hit the roads in 2022, said the 2021 Traveller Safety Report.

Where are the dangers on regional roads?

According to the 100-page report, most crashes involve speed, youth, distracted driving or weather conditions.

Here’s what you need to know about regional road risks:

1. Most common cause of collisions: about 87 per cent were a result of improper driving, with following too close at 28 per cent and inattentive behaviour at 17 per cent.

2. Most dangerous time: Friday during the winter months and the evening rush hour (5 to 6 p.m.)

3. Most common crash: rear-end collisions at signalized intersections due to motorists following too close

4. Most crash-heavy intersection: Weston Road and Rutherford Road in Vaughan

5. Roads with highest collisions: Highway 7 between Huntington and Highway 427-Highway 7 ramp, and Major Mackenzie Drive West between 400 northbound off-ramp and Jane Street

6. Most dangerous spot for pedestrians and cyclists: where vehicles are making turns at signalized intersections (most often, it's the driver's fault)

7. Months with the most collisions: November and January

8. Month with highest fatal injury collisions: June

9. Intersection with the most pedestrian collisions: Yonge Street and Carville Road/16th Avenue, Richmond Hill

10. Top five collision frequency intersections: Islington/Rutherford, Keele/Highway7, Highway 7/Weston, Yonge/Green Lane, Highway 7/McCowan

York Region has lower collision rates compared to the provincial average, the report said, possibly due to improved road engineering and operations, stricter traffic legislation and enforcement and road safety initiatives.

Among the measures to make roads safer, red light cameras, located at 40 signalized intersections, had one of the highest impacts, reducing right-angle and turning collisions by about 50 per cent.

The region plans to expand red light cameras to 55 intersections by 2026.

Automated speed enforcement cameras also helped, more than doubling compliance and decreasing speed by nine km/h, leading council to add two more cameras in 2022/23.

Another 60 fixed cameras could be added in 2024-26, subject to budget approval.

With more people choosing to walk or cycle, the region is focusing on safety improvements to protect this vulnerable group.

Four pilot intersections -- Bathurst/Carville and Major Mackenzie/Bayview in Richmond Hill, Bathurst/Clark and Yonge/Clark in Vaughan -- were installed with no right turn on red, protected left-turn movements, head starts for pedestrians and warning signs.

These safety measures proved successful in reducing collisions, and the region plans to add six more at intersections in Markham and Vaughan in 2022-23.

More roundabouts are also planned after the three in York -- at York/Durham Line and Durham Regional Road 5 in Markham, Ninth Line and Bayberry Street in Whitchurch-Stouffville and Lloydtown-Aurora Road and Keele Street in King -- produced fewer collisions and fewer injuries.

New pavement with better tire grip has also been helpful. Repaved intersections Yonge Street and Green Lane, Green Lane and 2nd Concession Road and Kennedy Road and Helen Avenue/YMCA Boulevard all experienced an overall collision reduction.

Over the next 10 years, York will invest an additional $3.1 billion to make the regional transportation network safer, said York Region chair and CEO Wayne Emmerson.

York Region is developing a Traveller Safety Plan in collaboration with road safety partners to better understand human behaviour and the prevention of collisions and their severity.

Community engagement, including a public opinion survey and online open house with a mapping portal where residents can provide input, is being planned for early 2023.