A deer that crashed through the windshield of an OC Transpo bus yesterday, stunning the driver, illustrates the hazards facing motorists at this time of year, say city officials and police.
The deer bounded onto the road and crashed through the passenger side windshield of the bus as it drove on Innes Road near Cléroux Street just before 9 a.m., landing inside the bus.
There were no passengers on the bus at the time, but Ottawa paramedics treated a 54-year-old female bus driver for shock. The deer died of its injuries afterwards.
Although “usually, it’s not that dramatic,” incidents of deer-vehicle collisions pose a problem in a growing city with a rural Greenbelt, said city road safety data systems co-ordinator, Linda Marin.
The sheer number of the collisions in Ottawa resulted in a municipal campaign aimed at reducing them. Called ‘Speeding Costs You Deerly’ the campaign is credited with reducing deer-car collisions by 13 per cent in 2006 alone and won a Ministry of Transportation road safety award.
The awareness campaign offers tips to drivers, including scanning the roadway, watching for shining eyes, using high beams where possible and heeding yellow warning signs.
“And if wildlife crosses your path, brake, sound your horn and never swerve suddenly,” said Marin.
Ontario Provincial Police see a spike in deer strikes in Ottawa at this time of year, especially along Highway 416 — and they can do serious damage, said Constable Kevin Davidson.
“It’s not unusual to have 15 (strikes) a day in eastern Ontario,” said Davidson. “(Some motorists) can find themselves rolling over in a ditch.”