Ottawa drivers roll with the law at four-way stops

SEE VIDEO http://www.ottawasun.com/2013/10/24/ottawa-drivers-roll-with-the-law-at-four-way-stops

City vehicles were among those spotted slowing, then rolling, through busy intersections across the city on Wednesday.

With Ottawa Police targeting stop sign runners this month in the Selective Traffic Enforcement Program, the Sun conducted surveillance at three random four-way stops, spending a half hour at each location.

A bylaw vehicle, OC Transpo bus, and city pickup truck were among the offenders.

First stakeout: Belcourt Blvd. and Notre Dame St. in Orléans.

Within two minutes, a lady driving a van rolls through, head down, texting away, as she cruised south on Belcourt.

A rental truck rolls next, followed by a car with darkly tinted windows.

White vehicles seemed to be the worst offenders at this location, with too many blowing through entirely.

A car goes through the intersection so fast, it almost crashes into a car turning right from Notre Dame.

“That’s bound to happen somewhere,” on any given day, at any time, said Ottawa Police Sgt. Mark Gatien.

Cops want wheels to come to a rest behind the stop bar, then “proceed with caution when it’s safe to do so” in all directions.

“That’s why you stop, check both ways and you sort of look and you go ‘holy crap, this guy’s not going to stop,'” said Gatien, adding an accident may even be prevented.

“You’ve got to keep all those factors in mind but some people drive that way and some people have no consideration for others.”

Next stop: Somerset St. W. and Cartier St., a couple of blocks from City Hall.

Heavy pedestrian traffic forced motorists — many who seemed to be on the verge of a roll — to stop, while six out of seven cyclists rode through the intersection at full speed.

An old Toyota truck is the only vehicle to fully rest behind the stop bar.

That’s another thing that irks Gatien.

“People sit in the crosswalk and the stopbar is 15 feet behind them,” he said.

A handful of drivers did just that at Viewmount Dr. and Grant Carman Dr. in the west end.

It started off promising with five straight full stops, then, mirroring the other locations, the rolls outnumbered the stops.

The fine for running a stop sign is $110 plus three demerit points in Ontario.

Gatien is encouraging residents to file reports.

“By all means, give us hot locations that you’re aware of,” he said.

kelly.roche@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @ottawasunkroche

STOP OR ROLL? THE SUN’S TALLY

Location Stops Rolls
Orléans 46 69
Downtown 30 61
Nepean 52 65

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