According to statistics released by the Toronto Police Service, the number of fatal and non-fatal pedestrian accidents have increased over the past three years.
Fatal pedestrian accidents have increased by 32 percent. In 2014, 31 people died after being hit by vehicles. That number jumped to 39 fatalities in 2015, and an even bigger spike – 43 deaths – last year.
The number of people injured in pedestrian accidents is also on the rise. There were 1,906 pedestrians injured in 2014, 1,905 in 2015, and 1,958 in 2016.
Toronto personal injury attorney Jeff Prezsler noted, “this alarming trend has caused both law enforcement and safety advocates to make a concerted effort to provide information for both pedestrians and drivers on how to safely share the roads, especially in high volume pedestrian areas, such as the downtown areas, entertainment districts, and shopping mall areas.”
Pedestrians are at high risk for serious injuries if they are hit by a vehicle because they are completely unprotected from its massive weight.
This is why so many injuries suffered by pedestrians can be serious ones, resulting in long-term, if not permanent disabilities. Some suggestions for pedestrians to stay safe include:
- Only crossing a marked crosswalks or traffic light areas. Do not cross until the “walk” signal begins and cross only once traffic has come to a complete stop. Advocates stress never crossing on a red light.
- When out walking, focus and pay attention to the area and streets around you. Do not focus on your cell phone or other mobile devices. Distracted walking is becoming as serious an issue as distracted driving.
- Keep an eye out for vehicles entering or exiting driveways, as well as any vehicles which may be turning at intersections.
- Always make sure a driver sees you before you stop off the curb to cross. If the vehicle is stopped, make eye contact with the driver to ensure they see you.
- Wear light or brightly colored clothing or clothing with reflective strips. This is particularly important if you are out walking at night.
There are also steps that drivers should take to help decrease the risk that they will be involved in striking a pedestrian with their vehicle, such as:
- Always be vigilant in watching for pedestrians, especially when you are in high-density population areas.
- Watch for Community Safety Zone signs which indicate that public safety is a concern in that area.
- When you are driving in residential areas, school zones, or other areas where there could be children playing or walking, make sure to slow down.
- Be patient and allow more time for an elderly pedestrian or one with disabilities to cross the street.
- Make sure to pay attention for pedestrians when you are in the area of streetcar stops and other public transportation areas. If you are passing a streetcar, go at a slow speed and be alert for any pedestrians to suddenly come onto the road in front of you.