Another reason to get Ride the Ducks off Seattle streets

Aug 11, 2017, 3:02 PM

It happened again this week. A Ride the Ducks vehicle was involved in yet another crash.

Police are investigating the traffic incident that occurred on August 7 at 1st Avenue and Cherry Street. No fault has been determined yet. What is known is that a Ride the Ducks vehicle collided with a 2015 Ford Mustang convertible. No injuries were reported. It took police about 50 minutes to clear the scene.

There may have once been a time when Ride the Ducks could operate in Seattle, touring the streets near all the popular sights. But as the city is discovering, a lot of things are going to have to change as more people (with their cars) move in.

If Seattle ever was fit for Ride the Ducks, it isn’t any longer. The collision this week is a reminder of that. It’s time for Ride the Ducks to alter course.

RELATED: Ride the Ducks are no stranger to collisions

I’m going to sidestep the obvious 2015 incident that Seattle’s Ride the Ducks tour company is now infamous for — the tragic and deadly crash on the Aurora Bridge (the company still faces lawsuits over it). There have been at least four collisions involving Ride the Ducks vehicles since then, on skinny streets or even wide open intersections like 5th Avenue and Mercer Street. Its current route takes the massive vehicles through downtown Seattle (where a few collisions have occurred), Westlake (where another collision happened), and on roads north of Lake Union. There have also been reports of a pedestrian and a motorcyclist being struck by their vehicles.

Ride the Ducks aka DUKW

The simple fact is this: these vehicles were never designed or intended to drive in an urban environment. They are amphibious DUKWs, called ducks, and were invented to transport supplies and military troops during WWII — over land or through water. They were never meant to weave through heavy traffic in a dense, major metropolitan city. This is evident any time the front end of a Duck runs into a car.

Since the 2015 Aurora Bridge crash, the company has been required to have two employees on board — a tour guide and a driver who is free from distraction. Despite that measure, collisions have still happened. The tour company must now adapt to a modern Seattle like the rest of us; a city that promotes a Vision Zero plan. It’s a stated goal of ending traffic deaths and serious injuries on Seattle streets.

That adaptation doesn’t mean the company has to close down. The ducks just have to migrate elsewhere. There are plenty of waterways for amphibious vehicles to explore and I’m sure tourists would love to see Seattle from that angle. Anyone can cruise the streets — and in Seattle I’m using the term “cruise” loosely. But not everybody can tour the water. That’s where the ducks should be, out of traffic.

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Another reason to get Ride the Ducks off Seattle streets