Last week we wrote about "Goal Post Bollards" -- Bollards placed so far apart that vehicles can easily pass between them, making them just decorations that allow errant vehicles to speed through untouched. For more on Costco's Goal Post Bollards, see my previous post HERE
I mention this again because as I was reading the story of the death of this one week old baby, I came across a disturbing quotation attributed to a police constable commenting on the case. These comments give exactly the wrong impression about this accident, and the wrong impression about crashes at store entrances like the one at this Costco store. The constable's comment seems genuine, but it is just wrong.
“It is heartbreaking," said London Police Const. Alanna Hollywood. "Mom remains in good condition in hospital and the three-year-old, Miah, remains in fair condition right now." Three others, including the female driver of the vehicle, were also hospitalized but have since been released...."It was merely a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time," Hollywood said. See the full coverage from CP24 in Toronto HERE
These comments disturb me because it seems to indicate that somehow mom, unborn baby, and two daughters were just random victims of a very very rare natural event, the equivalent of getting hit by lightning -- an event that no one could have foreseen and no one could have prevented. AND THIS IS JUST NOT TRUE! Here is why:
1) On the day this accident happened, there were about sixty more storefront crashes in the US and Canada. Sixty a day, over 20,000 accidents per year. Very rare? Clearly not.
2) This is not the first time a car has crashed into the front of a Costco store. Not the second time, and not the third time. If a similar crash occurs for similar reasons at similar locations, can it be said that such crashes are very rare and unforeseeable? Clearly not.
3) The bollards that Costco installed in front of that store are 10 to 12 feet apart. The car that crashed into the entryway and killed two children and injured four other people is a little over 6 feet wide. If those same bollards are installed five feet apart or less, two children would be alive today and that accident never happens. Period. Bollards wider apart than the width of a car are NOT safety barriers -- they are traffic cones. This accident was not rare, it was foreseeable, and it was preventable.
See, people in an entryway at a Costco store reasonably presume that they are perfectly safe. They are a long way from the parking lot, a long way from vehicular traffic, and inside the envelope of the store. They assume that they are safe because they do not know any better. BUT COSTCO KNOWS -- because they have had these same types of vehicle intrusion accidents before, and customers have been hurt before. They know -- but they have chosen not to do anything to correct the problem of "Goal Post Bollards."
And that gets us back to the constable's comments. The people were not in the wrong place -- the car was in the wrong place. Costco invited those people inside to come and spend money. The least they could have done was keep the cars outside when the customers were coming inside. Take a look at the the slide show below, made from media photos of the scene.....those people should have been safe at the entrance to that store. That car should not have been able to get between the safety barriers and kill and injure customers inside the entrance. It's just common sense -- but hundreds of Costco stores remain just as poorly protected.
Sorry Addison. Sorry Rhiannon. We won't forget.