If you are in Wallingford you are probably aware of the gruesome accident where a Ducks vehicle slammed into a charter bus on the Aurora Bridge, killing 4 and wounding many more at lunch time today. Initial reports are of a vehicle malfunction, although the scene will remain under investigation for some time.
This “accident” is not really an accident, as an accident implies something unavoidable. Accidents just happen, but this sort of incident is the inevitable outcome of loop holes in our transportation infrastructure that are resulting in outdated, unsafe designs continuing on forever.
The first problem is that Ducks amphibious assault vehicles are only street legal because they date back to World War 2. They could not have been built and sold for street use in the last several decades. There have been incidents in this city previously with Ducks hitting people, and victims of Ducks in other cities have been pushing for them to be banned, with recent success in New Orleans.
The problem with Duck vehicles are evident to everyone in Wallingford as the things come barreling through our neighborhood. Their visibility is terrible and their shape is like a cross between a battering ram and a steam roller. The ancient equipment lacks any safety features or redundant fail-safe mechanisms. Everyone around the things is one swerve or mechanical malfunction away from being flattened.
The second is the outdated Aurora Bridge, with its narrow lanes and no protective center divider. It’s another example of badly outdated transportation infrastructure that’s been allowed to continue on for lack of political will to change it. Like the Ducks vehicles, the Aurora Bridge could never be brought into service today and has a long history of “accidents” as a result.
One fix would be to have a protected directional center lane for buses instead of two bus lanes on either side. That would prevent the rampant cheating we see today in the bus lanes, widen the other lanes, and provide protective barriers between the oncoming lanes of traffic.
Regardless, this incident should not be dismissed as an “accident”. Hopefully our political leaders will show the will to really fix this situation.