If you''re getting around Windsor on a bike or on foot, new data shows Tecumseh Road — from west to east — is the most deadly.
From 2018 to 2023, eight of 20 fatal crashes involving a pedestrian or cyclist in the city have been along Tecumseh Road.
The trend defies ward boundaries or neighbourhoods.
And while it's one of the busiest roads in the city, advocates say it does show us the need to take road safety more seriously across the map.
"When you have that data and you see that there is one particular road that seems to be where a larger number or a larger concentration of those collisions is happening ... obviously that tells us something and we need to listen to that," said Anneke Smit, director of the Centre for Cities at the University of Windsor's faculty of law.
CBC News obtained the data through a freedom of information request to the Windsor Police Service.
Between January 2018 and June 2023, eight of 20 fatal pedestrian crashes in Windsor took place on or at intersections along Tecumseh Road. Another took place just two blocks away from it.
Over the same time frame, there weren't similar groupings of crashes elsewhere in the city.
A long, busy street
So many of the city's crashes could be along Tecumseh Road because of the number of businesses, residential homes, and major institutions — churches and one hospital — that are along the road, Smit said.
"It's not a huge surprise in some ways when you think about what's happening on Tecumseh Road: It is a very fast and very wide through road. It's an important east-west connector for vehicles."
"But there's a ton of life on those streets as well."
Anneke Smit is the director of the Centre for Cities. (Laura DaSilva/CBC)
Of the eight crashes on Tecumseh Road, one involved a cyclist.
Lori Newton, executive director of Bike Windsor-Essex, believes that's because cyclists try to avoid the road.
"It has been built to prioritize car drivers, and it is an uncomfortable, at best, space for people riding bicycles or walking," Newton said.
"People who are on Tecumseh Road … are not doing it out of choice. They're doing it because they have to access something."
Wyandotte Street and Riverside Drive, the two other roads Newton identified as east to west thoroughfares, likely don't see as many pedestrian or cyclist-involved crashes because there's more opportunity for people to take safer routes: residential or quiet streets, or roads with bike lanes.
Bike Windsor-Essex says east to west protected bike lanes aren't identified as a need in the city's transportation master plan, and advocating for them in their entirety isn't "realistic," Newton added.
Instead, she says she sees transit as being part of the solution.
"When you can link a bicycle trip with a bus trip then things start to make sense. Throw the bike on the bus is super easy to do and then they can continue their journey."
Lori Newton is the executive director of Bike Windsor Essex. She says some drivers make cycling on city roads dangerous because they do not give a metre of space when overtaking. (TJ Dhir/CBC)
Ward 9 Coun. Kieran McKenzie, the former chair of the city's cycling committee, said the numbers show there is more work to be done.
City staff were were not immediately available to answer questions regarding the data,
Windsor's environment, transportation and public safety committee is expected to receive an update on the city's vision zero and active transportation master plans at its November meeting, according to McKenzie.
"The network, the infrastructure needs to be in place to make it safer for people to … make that choice to get out of their personal vehicles and onto their bikes or walk."
McKenzie said the turnout at the city's recent Open Streets event shows there's appetite for making Windsor more pedestrian-friendly.
Smit said investing in widespread active transportation is part of the solution, including slowing traffic or narrowing roads.
Newton said raised pedestrian crosswalks at intersections without traffic signals, more green space and improved bike lanes are all part of the equation.
Police identify dangerous intersections
In a written statement, Windsor police spokesperson Gary Francoeur said road safety is one of their key priorities and the service is committed to proactive traffic enforcement.
"We leverage advanced data to identify roadways with the highest number of reported collisions and then deploy our officers to those areas," the statement read.
Earlier this year, Windsor police identified 10 intersections for additional traffic enforcement, citing them as the most common sites for crashes in the city. Four of those 10 were also along Tecumseh Road, according to Windsor police.
"Our members are regularly on site to watch for motorists who commit rolling stops, run through red lights, or ignore other rules of the road. We hope that our increased presence will reduce collisions, encourage motorists to slow down and make our roads safer for everyone."
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