Monday, August 1, 2016

Sun Glare While Driving – July 2016

The following relate to the dangers of sun glare while driving, and traffic safety in general. They were derived from our twitter feed @SunPosition

RT Nicole Augenti, ESQ. @Nicole1515

$TSLA Breaking out the ole 'sun glare" defense –>

Regulators Open Investigation Into Fatal Crash in Tesla

U.S. regulators are investigating a fatal accident involving a Tesla Motors Inc. sedan that was driving on autopilot, drawing scrutiny to a key technology the electric-vehicle maker is betting on for the future of self-driving cars.

The crash involved a 40-year-old Ohio man who was killed when his 2015 Model S drove under the trailer of an 18-wheeler on a highway near Williston, Florida, according to a Florida Highway Patrol statement..

The details of the accident are likely to add fuel to the debate over whether self-driving cars are ready for the real world. Autopilot didn’t notice the white side of the tractor trailer against a brightly lit sky, so the brake wasn’t applied, said Tesla, which reported the May 7 incident to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In a blog post, Tesla said that the fatal crash is the first known fatality in more than 130 million miles of Autopilot driving….

RT Ignition Interlock @LifeSafer

Summer Driving in B.C. Can Be Deadly | LifeSafer of Canada 

 safe summer driving in BC

No one likes to put a damper on summer. Few things in life are as welcome as the season of sun and fun. But the season invariably comes with a warning: summer is the most dangerous time to be on British Columbia roads… 

Toronto city council approves its first ever road safety plan |  CBC News


Toronto city council approved a road safety plan on Thursday that sets an ambitious goal of reducing the number of road fatalities to zero.

Mayor John Tory applauded the five-year plan, saying it is the first of its kind in the city.

"What we've got here is many, many preventable deaths," Tory said.

The plan would reduce the speed limits on several downtown streets. Other proposals include better enforcement of the speed limit in school and construction zones — and doubling the fines for speeding and other infractions in school zones.

Council, as part of the plan, intends to ask the Ontario government to ban pedestrians from using handheld wireless devices while crossing the street…

RT Eugenia Ambrozaitis @ReconGeniTPS: @CatlinWells Once automatic transmissions became the norm, the art of driving was lost. Not surprising to see widespread distracted driving

> @ReconGeniTPS @CatlinWells Totally agree! And 'safer' and 'smarter' cars make distracted driving way too easy.

Cheers, Ralph

Sun/Shade & Urban Development – July 2016

The following relate to urban development and urban design in general, and to specific projects with sun/shade issues in particular. They were derived from our twitter feed @SunPosition

Toronto's Buildings are Designed for the Sun | Torontoist

Photo by Chris Toms from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.

Developers must prove to the City their buildings still let the sun shine.

Here’s an interesting thought experiment: imagine Toronto without zoning regulations. In particular, imagine it without the “built-form envelopes”—essentially, invisible 3D forms that rise above every plot of land in the city—within which developers and architects must constrain their designs and ambitions.

It’s hard to know what wonders and monstrosities such a carte blanche would permit...

The need for natural light (and even the occasional cheek-warming blast direct from our nearest star) doesn’t generally require a lot of justification. For our collective wish to avoid a purgatory of darkness and to often have a good excuse to wear sunglasses, the City offers the phrase “pedestrian comfort,” which is a broad piece of lingo that also encompasses wind tunnel effects and accessibility. Clearly, pedestrian comfort is its own reward, and the rationale for sunshine needs no more nuance than that; instead, all the subtlety goes into implementation...

City planners start to care about sunlight and shade at exactly the same moment when everyone else does— as soon as the time we spend outside isn’t spent rushing to go back inside. Whenever a developer brings a design for a new building to the City for approval, they have to show how the extent of the building’s shadow on three specific days [PDF]: March 21, June 21, and September 21—the spring and fall equinoxes and the summer solstice. The former are the two days in the year when day and night are equal, and the latter is the longest day of the year...

Not all shadows are created equal. “They are all site-specific and context-driven,” says Parakh. In parts of the city reserved for tall buildings, a long shadow might not add much to the overall penumbra. But if a developer wants to throw shade on Nathan Phillip’s Square, for example, as was the case with the proposed 90-storey Sapphire Tower near Bay and Adelaide, City councillors might just put the kibosh to it.

Outside of the tall building zones on the city’s avenues, the primary purpose of shadow studies is to ensure that light reaches the opposite sidewalk when it’s traveling toward the earth at a 45-degree angle, which guarantees sunshine at noon. Practically, that means that the building can’t be taller than 80 per cent of the width of the right-of-way, a technical term that includes the street and both sidewalks. So the height limit varies, but usually it translates to about four or five storeys tall. Developers can build higher than that if they want to, but in order to continue to allow the light past, they have to step back each successive storey by three metres.

But it’s not like sunshine is an unmitigated good. Personally, I don’t like the way it makes my face scrunch up. For people like me, Parakh offers this reassurance: “Don’t forget that people always have a choice,” he says. “When it’s an east-west street and you don’t want sunlight, you can always walk on the opposite side of the street.” In most of Toronto, the sun is a decision you make at the crosswalk.

My early shadow studies were done using a handheld programmable calculator, protractor, scale ruler, and pencil.

Oh, and an eraser.

59-Storey Mixed-Use Tower Proposed at 100 Simcoe Street | via @urban_toronto

100 Simcoe, Toronto, by Sun Life Assurance, Diamond Schmitt

Another high-rise tower has been proposed for Toronto's Entertainment District, with a rezoning application submitted to the City to allow a 59-storey building at 100 Simcoe Street…

Submitted on behalf of Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, the proposal features a design by Toronto's Diamond Schmitt Architects

13th and Lonsdale tower goes to public hearing |  via @NorthShoreNews


A 190-foot tower slated for the west side of the 1300-block of Lonsdale Avenue is heading to public hearing, likely this September.

The Hollyburn Properties project breezed through council recently – despite misgiving from at least two councillors.

“I think the impact, in terms of the 18-storey request, is too high for that particular site,” Bell said…

While there are concerns over height, the tower would have very little shadow impact on the city plaza, according to a staff report...

Most residents who have weighed in on the development “were not supportive” of anything taller than 15 storeys on the site, according to a staff report. “Generally, staff find the proposed height and density to be suitable in this location though note that there is significant public concern with regard to the application,” wrote city planner Michael Epp...

RT TalkCondo @TalkCondo These are the best new condos at Yonge & Eglinton. @FreedCorp well represented here

The Yonge & Eglinton neighbourhood is one of the fastest growing neighbourhoods in Toronto.  The Eglinton LRT is currently under construction and when it opens in 2020, the line will intersect the Yonge Line to make Yonge & Eglinton a major transit hub on par with Yonge & Bloor.

Both commercial and condo developers have been quick to jump in and the pending developments will completely transform the neighbourhood in what we believe will be one of the most sought after areas to live for years to come.

Yonge & Eglinton also attracts a number of families, primarily because of the excellent schools in the neighbourhood (and some of the best in the GTA) including North Toronto Collegiate Institute.

Below are our top new condo projects coming to Yonge & Eglinton...

RT Eric Fischer @enf First shadow study? Jan '61 rezoning denied for 105' bldg that would "make the neighborhood arctic in climate"

Check out our weekly news summary

“Sun, Shadow & Urban Development” at

What are your thoughts about shadowing from proposed building developments in your neighbourhood?
Please help us out by taking our short survey at

If you haven't visited our Facebook site before, check it out now...

Cheers, Ralph

Miscellaneous “Sun & Shadow” Items – July 2016


The following are miscellaneous sun, shade, solar and solar energy facts and comments. They were derived from our twitter feed @SunPosition

Our monthly sunrise/sunset tables have been updated.

At what time of day does UV peak? Check here for info and tips.

Manhattanhenge: New York's most spectacular sunset | MSN Weather

A view of the 'Manhattanhenge' sunset from Hunters Point South Park, July 11, 2016 in the Queens borough of New York City.

Rio sunrise /sunset times |


view original -

Cheers, Ralph

Friday, July 15, 2016

Sun Glare While Driving – June 2016

The following relate to the dangers of sun glare while driving, and traffic safety in general. They were derived from our twitter feed @SunPosition

Avoiding Pinellas County Pedestrian Injuries | Dolman Law Group

Pedestrian On Zebra In Motion Blur

Pinellas County pedestrian injuries from crashes totaled 384 in 2013, the last year of complete available statistics. The same year there were 26 fatalities reported…

What makes Pinellas pedestrian injuries so commonplace is the fact that there are a large numbers of pedestrians in hazardous areas…

What are some measures one can take to avoid pedestrian injuries caused by a motor vehicle?

  • Do not cross between crosswalks. A car traveling at 50 MPH covers the length of a football field in the time it takes the average pedestrian to cover 12 feet. A driver’s stopping distance at that around 200 feet with a quick reaction time and good brakes.
  • Wear light or reflective clothing if you must to walk at night. Consider carrying a flash light.
  • Avoid walking when the sun is close to the horizon. Many pedestrian injuries occur due to sun glare.
  • Always walk facing oncoming traffic. If a distracted driver should swerve toward you, you will have time to get out of the way.
  • Pay attention to the walk/don’t walk signs. Wait until you have a fresh timed start. Do not rush to cross after the timer has been running. If you should get stranded at the divider, remain there until the next signal. Do not try to beat the traffic.
  • Beware of cars making a right turn on red from behind you. Do not assume they see you and will yield. The drivers are often focused to their left for approaching vehicles.
  • Never cross an intersection diagonally. .
  • Make sure that traffic comes to a full stop before crossing at a light. Do not assume that they will not run the light. Once again beware of the distracted drivers.

Steps to take if driving in bright sun | MetroLaw

Most people would rather drive on a sunny day than one in which rain, snow, or ice is pouring down. Unfortunately, many issues can come about when driving in bright sun. If you don't take the right approach, your vision could be compromised, thus increasing the chance of an accident.

While bright sun can impact your vision at any time of the day, this is most likely to occur during the early morning and late evening hours.

Here are some of the steps you can take to protect yourself, thus reducing the chance of causing an accident:

-- Wear a pair of high quality sunglasses.

-- Make good use of your sun visor.

-- Leave more space between you and any vehicles you are following.

-- Leave your headlights on, as this makes it easier for other drivers to see you.

Along with the above, it's important to keep your windshield clean and remove any reflective items from your dash.

Driving conditions are very rarely 100 percent perfect, but that doesn't mean you have an excuse to make mistakes on the road.

If sun glare is a problem, make sure you have a solution. If it is too bright for you to drive, pull over and wait a few minutes. Soon enough, the sun will have adjusted and you will be able to hit the road once again.

Remember this: Even if you are skilled at driving in the sun and have a plan for avoiding an accident, it could still cause another driver to make a poor decision.

State College police identify man killed in crash | Centre Daily Times

A damaged truck involved in the crash sits in the roadway. A crash involving multiple vehicles happened early in the morning Monday along Route 45 in Harris Township.

State College police provided additional details into Monday’s fatal crash on Earlystown Road in Harris Township.

According to Lt. Keith Robb, the investigation revealed that Barbara Dean, 51, of Boalsburg, was traveling eastbound on Earlystown at about 6:40 a.m. when she experienced a “glare issue” and crossed the yellow lines into oncoming traffic. She then struck two vehicles — a Peterbilt dump truck, driven by Robert Queen, 58, of Irvona; and a Chevrolet Silverado, driven by Andrew Gill, 25, of Kreamer.

After being struck, Robb said, Queen lost control of his truck, crossed into oncoming traffic and crashed into a Saturn sedan driven by William Steven Smiles, 47, of Centre Hall. The truck then rolled onto its side.

Centre County Coronor Scott Sayers pronounced Smiles dead at the scene, Robb said…

Sun cause of crash, motorcyclist says | Brainerd Dispatch

The blinding sun was the cause of a motorcycle crash on Highway 25 Sunday, according to the motorcyclist.

The Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office reported at 12:22 p.m. Sunday, 33-year-old Robert Allen Collison was injured when his motorcycle veered into the ditch and crashed on Highway 25 south of Thiesse Road...

Some great advice here >

"8 Easy Ways to Reduce Sunshine Glare on Your Windshield" via @thenewswheel

sunshine glare on windshield

We’ve all experienced it at some point: you’re driving down the road and make a turn when the setting/rising sun casts a blinding glare across your windshield, making it nearly impossible to see. Not only is this situation incredibly frustrating, it’s also very dangerous. In those moments, we panic and scramble to make it easier to see.

But what can you do to enhance your visibility and prevent sun glare on your windshield? Here are eight important steps to make driving in the sunshine safer…

Read on for details…

@SafeDriver This also helps you keep your eyes off your phone and on the road.

RT Shane O'Connor ‏@oconnorshane: Rear seat passengers are three times more likely to die in a crash if not wearing seat belt.

> @oconnorshane @PublicSafetyNL Not only that, unbuckled passengers are a hazard to other passengers in a crash.

Sun glare difficult to deal with when rounding curve >

Fatal-crash driver says she was blinded by sun | Mayo News

A Westport woman had pleaded not guilty to a charge of careless driving causing the death of a 67-year-old cyclist in January 2015...

Matt Walsh of Knockrooskey, Westport, was killed when the car Ms O’Rourke was driving went into the back of a bicycle Mr Walsh was cycling at Gurteen, Aughagower, Westport on the morning of January 10, 2015...

Ms O’Rourke told the court she was ‘blinded’ by the glare of the low sun that morning just before she hit Mr Walsh...

Garda Denis Egan was the first garda on the scene. He said Ms O’Rourke told him ‘the sun was shining in my eyes’ and that ‘I didn’t see him’. He added that at 12.05pm he noticed his view was ‘caught by the strong glare’ of the sun.

Two days later Garda Egan went back to the scene at the same time of the accident to examine the area in similar weather conditions. He said his view was ‘immediately caught by the glare of the sun’. He said he found it ‘hard to see’ his garda colleague Darran Conlon due south from him due to the glare from the sun, even though Garda Conlon was wearing a high visibility jacket.

Garda Egan took a statement from Ms O’Rourke two days after the accident. She told him she was ‘completely blinded’ as she took the right-hand bend before the point of impact...

Local Optometrist says there are ways to combat the glare of the sun while driving | WDAY News

It's happened to the best of drivers; a summer day and the glare from the sun makes it almost impossible to see.

It's an inevitable thing but there are ways that you can make you, and everyone else around you, a little safer.

Eye Doctors recommend getting a pair of polarized sunglasses, which specifically is used to help against glare from the sun.

The time of day makes a significant impact on how bad the glare is, but it's always a good idea to try and take steps to minimize risk.

"Evening driving, morning driving, dusk and dawn. That level of glare really causes a hazard for us and so if we can reduce that glare; increase our reaction time by seeing things it just improves the safety of things by a long shot," says Dr. Mike Rexine, Optometrist at Eyes on Broadway.

Eye Doctors also suggest to utilize your sun visor or a brim of a cap can help block the sun, too.

5 cities Toronto could copy to improve road safety | CBC News

Mayor John Tory wants to bring pedestrian fatalities to a halt, with zero by 2021.

Sixteen pedestrians have been killed on Toronto streets in 2016.

That's 16 more people than John Tory would like. His aim is to bring those pedestrian fatalities to a halt, with zero by 2021…

Here's a look at how five other cities implemented the traffic safety plans…

Read on…

Pedestrians have 90% chance of surviving collision if vehicle going 30 kph or less, but only 10% if over 50 kph


RT Traffic Scotland ‏@trafficscotland: Good morning Scotland! Low sun glare in many areas. Please take care and Stay Safe.

> Hope that's not the exit you were looking for...

Read our weekly news summary “Sun Glare and Driving” at:

Cheers, Ralph

Sun/Shade & Urban Development – June 2016

The following relate to urban development and urban design in general, and to specific projects with sun/shade issues in particular. They were derived from our twitter feed @SunPosition

Mastering light and shadow | Daily News

A house at Mirihana

An architect is a master manipulator of light and shadow. His instincts have been honed by years of study to be able to manipulate light. Sunlight is something that is very desirable. Light and shade are part of our designs. In fact, they are the tools of an architect…

In Mexico City, a Battle Over a Building and the Art in Its Shadow | NY Times

It is a simple sculpture: 64 concrete pyramids that stand in a perfect circle around two-and-a-half acres of rippling, black volcanic rock.

Known as “Espacio Escultórico” (“Sculptural Space”), the sculpture was inaugurated in 1979 here on the campus of the National Autonomous University of Mexico. It is considered one of the most important pieces of land art in Mexico, a tranquil oasis in a chaotic city. But the recent construction of a white eight-story building nearby has prompted a furious protest that pits the university’s needs against Mexico’s cultural heritage.

The campaign against the building, which looms over the 13-foot pyramids from less than a quarter-mile away, has drawn hundreds of artists, architects and intellectuals from Mexico and beyond…

How much sun does your Toronto condo get? Check here by time of year and the direction you face

RT @171_Tremont: We reduced the shadow impact by over 40% since the PNF.We are proud of our collaboration with @BostonRedevelop

> @171_Tremont @BostonRedevelop Just curious, what's PNF?

> RT BRA ‏@BostonRedevelop: Hi @SunPosition, a PNF is a Project Notification Form. For more info feel free to check out the BRA Glossary, here:

> @BostonRedevelop Thank you for your reply.

Nice to see 5 of 10 are Clients >

The top 10 Toronto developments on BuzzBuzzHome in May 2016 | via @buzzbuzzhome

Pier 27

Raising playground 15' to reduce shadow >

Shadow Concerns for 16th and Mission Housing Project | via @MLNow

Mock-up of the 6-10 story building at 1979 Mission St., as see from the corner of 16th and Mission.

Mirroring a move made in the Bryant Street case, activists on Thursday proposed an alternative for the site at 16th and Mission and called the fully affordable project — which would also transform the 16th Street Bart Plaza into a park — the “Marvel in the Mission.”

The idea of towering complexes in the middle of the Mission District — two of the buildings in the current proposal will be 10 stories and another five stories — is concerning for opponents because of a shadow that would be cast on the playground of Marshall Elementary School nearby.

The developer has agreed to raise the school’s playground by 15 feet to mitigate the impact, but opponents are still resistant…

Sunset clause: Activists sue to stop shadow-casting Heights Library tower | Brooklyn Paper

The Brooklyn Heights Library sale was a shadowy deal, a new lawsuit alleges — but not in the way you think!

Activists are suing to stop the demolition of the branch, arguing the city didn’t do an adequate study into how the new library — and the luxury apartment tower above it — would impact the neighborhood before it agreed to sell the site to a developer last year.

Amongst other issues, the suit charges, it only considered how the building’s shadow will affect vegetation in local parks, but not how it will disturb parkgoers’ quest for sunshine.

“The fact that when these shadows occur a citizen of New York might be able to sit in the sunshine by going to a different park or moving around with shadows to other parts of the park belies the effects of the shadow on park users,” reads the lawsuit filed by anti-library-sale group Love Brooklyn Libraries…

Check out our weekly news summary

“Sun, Shadow & Urban Development” at

What are your thoughts about shadowing from proposed building developments in your neighbourhood?

Please help us out by taking our short survey at

If you haven't visited our Facebook site before, check it out now...

Cheers, Ralph

Miscellaneous “Sun & Shadow” Items – June 2016

The following are miscellaneous sun, shade, solar and solar energy facts and comments. They were derived from our twitter feed @SunPosition

Our monthly sunrise/sunset tables have been updated.

At what time of day does UV peak? Check here for info and tips.

Solstice today June 20, 2016, at 6:34 PM EDT.

Today may be the longest day of the year, but the latest sunset in Toronto occurs on June 26th - 37 seconds later than June 20th.

Today may be the longest day of the year, but the latest sunset in Ottawa occurs on June 25th - 34 seconds later than June 20th.

Here's where the sun will be at the solstice at 6:34 PM EDT on June 20th. About 700-800 km NE of Hawaii.

Proud and honoured to have designed the Air India Flight182 memorial sundial in Toronto.

My twitter profile header pic is Air India Flight182 memorial sundial which I designed for Humber Bay Park East, Toronto.

The story of the Air India Flight182 memorial sundial in Humber Bay Park East, Toronto.

Cheers, Ralph

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Sun Glare While Driving – May 2016

The following relate to the dangers of sun glare while driving, and traffic safety in general. They were derived from our twitter feed @SunPosition

RT Walk Toronto @Walk_TO It's time to take action on road safety: Keenan | Toronto Star

A 68 year-old woman lost her life and three others were injured after a Toyota RAV4 crash into the Bold Steps Dance Studio on May 3, 2016.

On Tuesday, according to the Twitter feed of the Toronto Police Operations Centre, at least seven cyclists and pedestrians were hit by cars. It seems like perhaps a traffic safety campaign of some kind might be overdue.

Not the kind where we remind pedestrians not to cross on a yellow light or demand that cyclists wear helmets and cease rolling through stop signs. As Toronto Police, to their credit, seem to have noticed recently, based on their own safety information, that kind of safety warning doesn’t do much to keep anyone very safe as popular as it is with callers on talk radio.

It’s hard to know, for instance, what kind of “protect yourself” advice would have helped the woman who was unlocking her bike near a tree Tuesday in the cobblestone pedestrian zone of the Distillery District when a car jumped the curb, plowed her and the tree over, and came to a stop with her pinned beneath it. It seems pretty clear that no amount of reflective clothing would have saved the woman killed last week when an SUV crashed through the wall of a dance studio in the Beaches and mowed her down while she was taking a class. That was one of at least seven incidents — I stopped counting — in the past month where cars plowed into buildings…

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Sun Glare Blamed for School-Rush Traffic Accident | Big Apple Radio

Sun Glare Blamed for School-Rush Traffic Accident

Sun glare is blamed for an accident Thursday during the morning traffic rush for school.

Jesse Brown, 74, was driving a pickup truck west on First Avenue while Diane Schreiter, 55, of Nebraska City had her Jeep parked at the stop sign on 10th Street.

Schreiter told investigators she looked east, but did not see the truck approaching. She pulled out into the path of the truck resulting in a front-end collision on both vehicles…

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Turning into sun glare very dangerous >

Pedestrian hit by car via @WboolStandard

Sun glare is believed to be a factor at an accident at Dennington on Monday morning.

Warrnambool police Sergeant Pamela Nix said a 51-year-old female driver turned right from Lindsay Street into Raglan Parade and collided with an elderly man who was crossing the road...

“She turned with the traffic lights and as she’s turned there’s been sun glare,” Sergeant Nix said…

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RT Transport Canada @Transport_gc It's Road Safety Week, follow along for great Road Safety tips from us and our partners

RT Barrie Police @BarriePolice Motorists & Pedestrians must adhere to road signals. Safety is everyone's responsibility! Canada Road Safety Week

RT Ghana Road Safety @NRSCGhana Engineering and Road Safety are bedfellows

Despite their size, school buses seem to be involved in a disproportionate number of ‘sun glare’ related crashes.

RT North East Tribune @NE_Tribune 30 pupils injured in school bus crash

Scenes from the crash supplied by EMER-G-MED.

According to EMER-G-MED. upwards of 30 school children have been injured this morning after a collision involving a school bus and a light delivery vehicle on the corners of Lennox and Campbell in Waverley – north of Johannesburg.

At about 7:30am EMER-G-MED dispatched multiple ambulances as well as response vehicles to the scene.

It’s believed that the delivery vehicle stopped at the stop street and when taking off failed to see the oncoming bus due to the sun’s glare. The two vehicles then collided…

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Marina Heights State Farm building causes blinding glare for drivers | via @abc15

Many have complained about it -- the blinding glare from the new the Marina Heights office complex, also known as the State Farm building in Tempe. 

Rush hour is the peak time for the intense reflection. It had traffic slowed to a crawl on Loop 202 Wednesday evening.

According to a city spokesperson, the transit and transportation staff doesn't believe the glass building causes hazardous driving conditions and there is no plan at this time to rectify it...

RT Liz Sutherland @lizjsutherland City's collision heat map - red oval showing College & Lansdowne, Gladstone, Shaw

Blinding light blamed for fatal crash at Rocky Cape in June 2014 | Mercury

Scales of Justice

Blinding sunlight has been blamed for a fatal three-car crash in northern Tasmania that claimed the life of teacher’s aide Gloria Theresa Thorpe.

In June 2014, Ms Thorpe, 57, was one of three passengers in a car travelling along the Bass Highway, at Rocky Cape, when the driver’s sight was affected by afternoon glare.

The car ran into the rear of another vehicle before spearing into an oncoming 4WD.

“Unfortunately, the crash causing Ms Thorpe’s death was caused by the unexpected sudden appearance of blinding sunlight,” coroner Olivia McTaggart said in her findings, handed down today…

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Sun glare suspected cause of helicopter crash >

Aviation safety investigations & reports

Collision with terrain involving Robinson R22 helicopter, VH-HRW, 63 km NNE of Mitchell, Qld on 28 May 2015 | Australian Transport Safety Bureau

On 28 May 2015, the pilot of a Robinson 22 helicopter, registered VH-HRW, was engaged in aerial mustering operations about 63 km north-north-east of Mitchell, Queensland. Late in the afternoon the helicopter’s tail rotor struck the branch of a 7 m-high dead and defoliated tree, the pilot lost control of the helicopter and it collided with terrain. The helicopter was destroyed and the pilot, the sole occupant, was fatally injured.


What the ATSB found

The ATSB found that the pilot was appropriately qualified and flying due west in a serviceable helicopter at low level. The sun was to the north-west and about 13°–15° above the horizon at that time. The helicopter’s tail rotor collided with the upper branch of an isolated tree. That collision separated a portion of the tail rotor blades, leading to the remainder of the tail rotor and the helicopter’s horizontal and vertical stabilisers and tail rotor gearbox also separating. The pilot could not control the helicopter and it collided with terrain.

Given the conditions, it is likely that sun glare and the darkened backdrop of a tree-lined dry creek bed affected the pilot’s vision and perception, and therefore ability to identify the isolated tree…

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RT Drop It And Drive @DropItAndDrive "It keeps me from looking at my phone every two seconds." Sad but true for many phone addicts

Read our weekly news summary “Sun Glare and Driving” at:

Cheers, Ralph