Judy Plotkin and David Goodis wait with boys Sam and Joe Goodis to
reach the connecting trail
On Highway 21 between Southampton and
Port Elgin is one of the most dangerous crossings. Many people have
On Friday, August 1st, there was a near tragedy.
The Rail Trail, a cycling and pedestrian walking and running trail,
crosses the highway near one of the most dangerous sections where many
accidents have occurred in the past. The region has grown dramatically
over the past two years with new housing developments, construction of
the Bruce Power Nuclear Plant and expansion of parts of the highway from
two to four lanes.
Unfortunately, one of the publicized attractions for those considering
moving into the area, is the Rail Trail. An old abandoned railway line,
it has been turned into a recreational trail used by cyclists, walker,
jogger and, in the winter, cross-country skiers. Also unfortunately, the
Trail crosses one of the busiest highways in the entire region at one of
the busiest locations.
Friday afternoon, two summer visiting families with young children, were
out riding bicycles for the afternoon when they came to an interruption
of the trail they were riding on. They had reached Hwy 21 at 'the
crossing'. They waited patiently with no end in site of the speeding
traffic. At what was thought to be enough time, some of the cyclists,
Catherine Ashdown and her daughters, decided to make a dash for the
Vehicles of every size
Just as they got almost to the centre they realized they
had misjudged the speeding traffic, which often does speed at that
location, and a van suddenly swerved out into the opposite lane to miss
the cyclists. If one of them had fallen, that one would no longer be
The others looked on in horror but thankfully the
cyclists made it safely to the other side.
This situation has been brought before Saugeen Shores Town Council but,
according to Council, the section of highway in question falls under
Provincial jurisdiction. Regardless of whose jurisdiction it is, there
will be a tragedy and then it will be too late. With increased
development, traffic has increased dramatically in the area and, given
that the communities of Southampton and Port Elgin have amalgamated, it
is unfortunate that they (the community) has no say over the ribbon of
highway that joins the two.
There have been many, many 'close calls' at this location and Friday's
was just one more. How do I know? I happened to be in the car that
faced the van coming head-on trying to avoid hitting a family on