Pedestrian Safety Needs to Be Taken Seriously

December 29, 2016, Kitchener, Ontario

Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer

It seems to be open season on pedestrians in Ontario, and particularly in Toronto these days. In Toronto alone more than 10,000 pedestrians and over 5,000 cyclists were hit by cars between 2008-2012. This year alone one pedestrian or cyclist was hit every two and a half hours in Toronto. Over 1000 people were struck by cars between June 1 and September 23, 2016.

Police and planners are struck by the number of collisions, and have concluded that they about to a serious health issue. There are so many accidents that many don’t even make the news. Planner Kyle Miller suggests that if there were 10 people being shot or mugged everyday there would b e huge outcry. The Toronto Star compiled these statistics:

165 — pedestrian collisions in Toronto in 2015

65 — motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians killed in 2015, an 11-year high

55.4% — amount by which serious non-fatal injuries to pedestrians have declined since 2005

34% — amount by which pedestrian fatalities have increased since 2005

14% — percentage of serious and fatal collisions involving cyclists

1.7% — percentage of Torontonians who ride their bike to work

37.6% — amount by which all serious and fatal road accidents have declined since 2005

Source: Toronto Police, City of Toronto, 2006 Census

The majority of accidents are driver’s faults, and those involved in the accidents are flabbergasted to find out that the charge for hitting a person is the same as for hitting a mailbox. Safety advocates are calling for reforms to be made to the laws and to increase the extremely lax penalties being handed out for striking a pedestrian or killing them. They argue that cars are given special status in our society when really, they are a weapon. In theory drivers could face 10 years in jail under a charge of dangerous driving causing injury, and up to 6 months in jail with a fine for the provincial offence of careless driving. These charges are almost never laid though.

The vast majority of the accident involve distracted driving, a problem which seems to be increasing. Dr. Bert Lauwers, Deputy Chief Coroner – Inquests, Chair, Pedestrian Death Review produced a report in 2010 making recommendations on road safety and pedestrian death. It also drew many key conclusions including:

  • 75% of pedestrian deaths were on urban roads
  • 60% of deaths occurred while trying to cross the road
  • 635 of pedestrians killed at intersections were over 65
  • 33% of pedestrians acted in a manner that caused or contributed to the crash
  • 40% of dead pedestrians had been drinking
  • 31% of pedestrians hit mid block were crossing the road
  • 14% were on the sidewalk or shoulder
  • 11% died while crossing an intersection without the right of way
  • 7% died while cars turned left
  • 7% died while drivers turned right
  • 21% of people who dies were hit by a heavy struck or public transit vehicle

Pedestrians face a variety of challenges. Roads are designed for the efficient and quick movement of traffic, not for pedestrian safety. Reconsidering road design, intersection design, and instating traffic scramble crossings would reduce pedestrian deaths.  Speed limits for vehicles in urban areas are generally 50-60 KM/h. Lowering the speed to 40 km/h would increase survival rates for pedestrians.


Posted under Automobile Accident Benefits, Brain Injury, Catastrophic Injury, Chronic Pain, Concussion Syndrome, Minor Injury Guidelines, Pedestrian Accidents, Personal Injury

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Deutschmann Law serves South-Western Ontario with offices in Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Woodstock, Brantford, Stratford and Ayr. The law practice of Robert Deutschmann focuses almost exclusively in personal injury and disability insurance matters. For more information, please visit or call us toll-free at 1-866-414-4878.

The opinions expressed here, while intended to provide useful information, should not be interpreted as legal recommendations or advice.

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