About two weeks ago, when I was exiting the mobile store at the Nanaimo bus loop, here in Vancouver, I was bowled over by a young woman running to catch a bus that was parked behind the store–where the bus in the above photo is situated. Initially, I assumed it was just this young woman who was responsible for the accident, running too fast in such an environment and not paying adequate attention to her surroundings. I took it for granted that the design and placement of the store in relation to pedestrian traffic were basically safe. Normally, we can take such things for granted. But when I returned to this location a few days later (on crutches), and really looked at the design and placement of the store in relation to pedestrian traffic, I could see the potential perils.
If the young woman had approached the store from the angle from which I took the above photo, and was unfamiliar with this odd little store, she would have been unable to discern that store customers exit (and enter) from behind the hinged door that directly faced her and not from the side of the store where, from this angle, there seems to be a passageway, suggested by the protruding curve. She may even have been unable to discern that this was a store, with any exiting (or entering) involved. The woman insisted when she stopped to help me get up that she had been unable to see me until the moment when she crashed into me, and now I’m inclined to believe this was the case–and that she wasn’t simply being a jerk.
From a somewhat different angle, such as the angle from which I took the next photo, there is less ambiguity–but still, the design and placement of the store in relation to pedestrian traffic leave much to be desired.
Although I initially thought I would be left with only a bad bruise on my hip from my fall, it turns out I was actually hurt quite badly. It wasn’t until I had hobbled to my bus and had sat down that I experienced those telltale signs that something was seriously amiss–nausea and light-headedness. (Usually it does take a minute or two to register these things.) I actually passed out for a few seconds, during which time the bus started to leave the station. (Even if I had thought at the time of getting names and phone numbers of the woman who had hit me and other witnesses, there really was no opportunity, short of jumping off the bus at the next stop and getting back on a bad leg.) The pain in my pelvic area was excruciating for the next couple of days, and I seriously thought I had broken a bone, although nothing showed up on the X-rays I had taken last week. The doctor who examined me then thought it was probably all soft tissue damage, although she did suggest I come back for more X-rays if the pain persisted–which I’m now thinking of doing.
It could have been much, much, worse. I could have fallen on my head, as opposed to my hip. Or, if a very elderly person had been exiting the store at the moment I was exiting it, and had fallen hard like I did, they almost certainly would have experienced serious fractures. Or, if a parent carrying a baby, or pushing a stroller, had been hit as I was hit, the consequences could have been truly tragic.
What really makes me mad about this is that TransLink, our public transportation authority, has refused to take any responsibility for what transpired. When I called TransLink to complain, I was told that TransLink has no responsibility for the design and placement of mobile businesses, like this little mobile store, to which they lease space. But since TransLink should be cognizant of pedestrian traffic patterns in facilities like the Nanaimo bus loop, and since they should be aware of the tendencies of able-bodied transit users to sometimes dash to make their buses and trains (in my better days, I’ve done some dashing myself)–to a greater extent than any vendor with limited transit knowledge to which they lease space–it seems that, for the safety of TransLink users, TransLink should be required to inspect the design and placement of these mobile structures and to exert veto power when necessary. Also, they should be required to take responsibility when something for which they are ultimately responsible goes awry.
I’m tempted to sue, but without names and numbers for the woman who knocked me over and other witnesses, I’m unlikely to have any luck. (When I went back to speak to speak with her, the woman who was then working in the store did clearly remember the incident, and me.)
Has anyone else had a similar experience on any TransLink property–or maybe on a transit property in another jurisdiction?