Tragic death sparks questions about tour buses

Councillor wants road safety revisited

Victoria police investigate the scene of a fatal collision between a tour bus and a pedestrian on Humboldt Street.

Councillor wants road safety revisited

A fatal collision between a tour bus and a pedestrian has left Victorians wondering if downtown intersections and tour bus traffic are as safe as they should be.

A tour bus collided with a pedestrian crossing the intersection of Douglas at Humboldt, from the corner of Nootka Court to the corner of Brown’s Social House, on Monday, Aug. 13.

VicPD says the 27-year-old woman was walking in the crosswalk with a “walk” signal when the tour bus made a left-hand turn from Humboldt onto the main thoroughfare and collided into her. Paramedics pronounced the woman dead at the scene. The 44-year-old driver of the Horizons Coach Lines bus stopped immediately and is cooperating with investigators.

“Right now, it doesn’t appear the pedestrian did anything wrong,” says Cst. Michael Russell, VicPD spokesperson. “Our crash team is still investigating things like sightlines, and what the driver would and wouldn’t have seen. … It’s likely there will be a charge.”

The collision marks the third serious incident at the intersection in recent years. Only last month, on July 19, a cyclist was struck at Humboldt and Douglas. Police said he suffered no serious injuries, though his bicycle was severely damaged. The intersection was also the scene of another deadly collision with a tour bus 13 years ago, when a Saskatchewan couple was involved in a fatal hit-and-run on Feb. 18, 1999 — Michael Misanchuk, a 27-year-old man, died at the scene and his wife was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries.

City representatives said the city will not comment on the safety of the five-way intersection until all details of the recent collision have been made clear. However, Victoria City Coun. Shellie Gudgeon says it’s clearly time for the city to revisit the safety of this and other downtown crosswalks.

“With the volume of summer traffic, it’s critical we protect both pedestrians and drivers,” says Gudgeon, who also sits on the Tourism Victoria board of directors. “An idea I really like is getting ambassador crossing guards placed at these intersections, especially during the high tourist traffic of summer months.”

But after the highly publicized hit-and-run incident between a tour bus and horse-and-carriage earlier this month, some are questioning the role tour buses are playing in aggressive driving.

On Aug. 1, a bus struck a horse on its shoulder, causing the horse to jack-knife its carriage and dump its passengers before bolting into Chinatown. One female tourist was taken to the hospital with a suspected broken arm, and others were injured.

“There’s definitely too much traffic downtown already, and adding an element of danger like this [horse-and-carriages] is completely unnecessary,” says Dave Shishkoff of the Friends of Animals non-profit group, which has been advocating for the city to remove horses from the transportation mix. “We aren’t against tourism, but there just isn’t enough room for everyone.”

VicPD and the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority sent a media plea out to motorists on Thursday, Aug. 9, to “Slow Down!” regarding cruise ship traffic — specifically, speeding taxis and buses — after a number of voiced concerns came from residents. The warning message came with increased traffic enforcement by VicPD, but Gudgeon isn’t ready to blame the buses yet. She says that, while the collision is devastating, “this is no time to point fingers.”

“Unfortunately, accidents can and do happen. We are a tourist town, and we need to be a welcoming city to that,” says Gudgeon. “Certainly, when you are a tourist, your mind can be elsewhere and it behooves pedestrians to pay attention, but, of course, it shouldn’t matter if you are a tourist or a resident — everyone should be kept safe in our streets.” M

Just Posted

Canada’s country music sweetheart brings The Gumboot Kids to town

Jessie Farrell to perform songs from her hit CBC TV series at McTavish Academy of Arts

VIFF wrap-up: Finely crafted films part of festival finale

Monday reviewer Kyle Wells puts a cap on his 2018 Vancouver International Film Festival experience

FILM REVIEWS: Race relations, refugees and racy romances featured at VIFF

Monday reviewer Kyle Wells presents round 2 from the Vancouver International Film Fest

An eye for art: The new and the notable at fall’s premier arts event

Sidney Fine Art Show shares wealth of Island talent Oct. 11 to 13

Astrocolor bringing unique funk-synth sound to the Capital Ballroom

Victoria band known for their festival shows making a rare appearance on their home turf

VIDEO: Ballet Kelowna brings steamy story, A Streetcar Named Desire, to Island

Okanagan ballet company brings a classic tale to the Cowichan Valley

INDY FILM FARE: 1970s hedonism and more at The Vic Theatre

From Studio 54 to Rocky Horror, there’s plenty of excess to observe this month

Shark-attack metal band coming to Victoria tonight

Shark Infested Daughters, a Calgary metalcore group, play the Upstairs Cabaret tonight, Oct. 13

STAGE AND SONG: Spotlight on Victoria arts groups

Learn about some of the city’s favourite theatre and musical entertainment options

Island lensman Jim Decker lands three top photography awards

During exciting photo trip to Yap in Micronesia, Cobble Hill man earns trio of firsts

Celebrate Oktoberfest Stein and Dine at the Victoria Public Market

Food, suds and German-style fun on tap at Oct. 20 event

Most Read