Next to Windsor, Hamilton was announced recently to be the most dangerous city for cyclists and pedestrians. In fact, Hamilton has one of the highest rates of pedestrian deaths in the province, where we are 42% more likely to be injured walking than anywhere else in the province. It’s much worse for cyclists, who are 81% more likely to get struck by a car then the provincial average. Are Hamilton drivers just bad drivers?
Statistics show that vehicle collisions are down in Hamilton over the past few decades, however there are some stretches of roads or intersections that still have their fair share of vehicle accidents. And with 3,673 police reported collisions (there were 6,137 collisions in total, where half of these crashes were not reported to the police) for 2010, you still have a good chance of getting into an accident, particularly if you are not paying attention to the road.
The most likely spots you’ll get into an accident in Hamilton
Upper James: From Mohawk to Fennell
This is the first time Upper James is mentioned for collisions, but not the last. With having a Walmart, Canadian Tire, two Tim Hortons, a LCBO, a Beer Store, a Toyota Dealership, an A&W, and much more, Upper James is a busy road in Hamilton. This small part of Upper James that is walk-able in 12 minutes had 51 accidents on it from 2005 to 2009. Since they restructured the Walmart plaza, it will be curious to see if the amount of accidents on this road goes down. Beyond Fennel towards downtown, the Claremont Access had 32 accidents in the same time period.
King Street: between Queen and James
If you’ve ever driven downtown in Hamilton, you know that this is a busy area. Especially on the weekend in the summer, when Hess Village is in full swing. Between this stretch of King Street, you have Jackson Square, Hess Street, Copps Coliseum, Hamilton Place, and hundreds of small pubs, coffee shops, and fast food stores. All of this leads to a lot of heavy foot and vehicle traffic which is a recipe for collisions. Hockey games, or concerts that have been left out, can really slow down traffic, leading to frustrated drivers who might end up driving with an increased level of stupidity. There were 55 accidents in this area between 2005 and 2009.
Queenston: from Parkdale to Nash
Queenston ties King Street for collision accidents, as it had 55 accidents between 2005 and 2009. On this spot of road you have the on and off ramps to the Red Hill, making this a very hectic road during rush hour. Many people commute to and from this area of road to their jobs or homes downtown. There are also many businesses on Queenston, and you will find that there are a lot of transportation and delivery trucks.
Queenston: Nash to Centennial Parkway
Queenston appears twice on our list of most fender bender roads. This part of Queentston in Hamilton had 56 accidents. Along this area you have Eastgate Square, Swiss Chalet, Boston Pizza and Eastside Marios. A lot of people drive along this road to get to the Red Hill Valley Access points as well.
Upper James: From Mohawk to the Western Bound Link Exit
Upper James is simply a busy road. It has a lot of booming business on it, as well as many people use it as a commuting road to get on to highway 6, or as an access point to downtown or the Linc. Mohawk road is a popular road as well for similar reasons. While a lot of accidents seem to happen at the intersection of Upper James and Mohawk Road, you’ll also find many collisions occurring as people attempt to pull out of strip malls, gas stations or a bank onto Upper James. Between Mohawk and the Linc, Upper James had 57 accidents between 2005 and 2009.
Upper James: From Rymal to Stone Church
From 2005 to 2009, this stretch of road had 67 collisions. The heavy traffic on Upper James makes it difficult to turn on to. Too many times, people either take a risk, or aren’t paying attention (particularly in parking lots) and end up causing a collision. Furthermore, apparently drivers in Hamilton love to run red lights. It is reported that at just 12 intersection cameras for the whole city, 15,569 drivers were caught running a red light in 2013. This is not for running amber lights, but red lights where a car’s front fender has entered the intersection during a red light. With so many people trying to turn left on Upper James into a strip mall, running red lights on this hectic road simply leads to move vehicle accidents.
Beckett Street from Fennell/Garth to Aberdeen/Queen
Beckett Street wins Hamilton’s most accident prone road for the 5 years span of 2005 and 2009. This Rural Road had 74 car accidents which is rather impressive considering that the majority of the road is vacant of businesses and houses. While this road is fun to drive on, with its steep hills, it is also major thoroughfare for mountain dwellers on their way to downtown or Hess Village. It is also an avenue for people living downtown to come up to Mohawk College, visit St. Joe’s hospital or to shop at Wallmart. At night, you’ll also find some deer crossing Beckett Street as the Bruce Trail runs along this road, which is simply a recipe for more accidents as people slam on their breaks to avoid hitting a deer.
On average, one motor vehicle crash costs $85,000 in direct damage, increased insurance, hospitalization, cleanup and lost time at work. That’s why it’s important to keep your eyes on the road at all times, take your time, and follow all traffic rules. On the plus side, Hamiltonians aren’t the worst drivers in Canada. Here is how we rank compared to other major cities. This bar chart shows how many accidents there are per 1000 people. So for Hamilton it’s about 7 people per 1000. Meanwhile Saskatoon is rather high with about 60 people per 1,000 citizens. All of these are for reported accidents to the police, and do not include parking lot fender benders, or accidents where people drove off.