A new Ohio streetcar service has been involved in 10 traffic accidents and four safety “incidents” since on-street testing began earlier this year, records show.
The streetcar known as the “Cincinnati Bell Connector” clipped both a cement truck and a Cincinnati Metro bus in separate accidents earlier this month, The Cincinnati Enquirer reports.
The streetcar ripped off the door of a pickup in July and was struck the following month by a car that ran a red light. The car’s driver was the only person taken to a hospital.
The accidents typically happened in areas with high traffic, the newspaper said. Records show the number of accidents in Cincinnati is similar to those in other cities. No streetcar drivers have been found to be at fault and most of the damage has been minimal.
Transportation officials have said little about the four safety or “hazardous condition” incidents reported since January, according to the newspaper.
One occurred in October when a technician failed to secure a brake and the streetcar rolled about half a block before stopping on its own. Another occurred when a pedestrian walked into the side of the streetcar.
Police and transportation officials say drivers and pedestrians aren’t used to sharing streets with new streetcar systems, so some mishaps happen.
“Most of the time, it’s not the streetcar’s fault,” said Lt. Steve Saunders, a city police spokesman. “It’s just people not realizing what it means to have a streetcar in traffic.”
The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority, which oversees streetcar operations, and the city have addressed streetcar safety through animated videos and tips posted online. Signs and traffic signals have also been installed.
They’ve also met with community groups and individuals believed to be most likely to encounter streetcars, including bicyclists.
“We want to avoid these accidents,” said Sallie Hilvers, a spokeswoman for SORTA. “We’re telling people to give it a little extra room.”
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