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Jul 9, 2015

Pedestrian & Cyclist safety in Toronto

Most people are aware that there seems to have been a spate of pedestrian and cyclist injuries and even deaths recently, such as this recent incident where a 40-year-old cyclist died. As the article stated, this was the fourth cyclist fatality in Toronto as a result of a crash in just over four weeks.  

In fact Toronto Public Health released a report last month entitled Pedestrian and Cyclist Safety in Toronto. Statistics indicate:

  • Over the past 10 years, rates of both pedestrian and cyclist injuries and fatalities due to collisions with motor vehicles have decreased in Toronto
  • The highest proportion of pedestrian injuries and fatalities is among young adults age 20-24, followed by youth age 15-19.
  • However, older adults ages 75 and over, followed by older adults ages 65-74, have the highest rate of major injuries and fatalities
  • Over the past 10 years, rates of both pedestrian and cyclist injuries and fatalities due to collisions with motor vehicles have decreased in Toronto (possibly due to riskier behaviour and/or less experience).
The most important takeaways from the report are tips about how and when collisions are most likely to occur - therefore giving drivers, cyclists and pedestrians alike tips about how to avoid crashes. For example: 
  • The report indicates that "Common violations include unsafe actions taken by the motorist like speeding, disobeying traffic signals and signs, and failure to yield when a pedestrian or cyclist has the right of way." Drivers can therefore be extra vigilant to ensure safe driving and avoid all distractions.
  • "Collisions can also result from unsafe pedestrian or cyclist actions such as jaywalking and failure to yield to a motorist when they have the right of way." Cyclists and pedestrians can therefore ensure they only cross at crosswalks, follow all traffic signs and know the rules of the road.
  • "Misjudgment, inattention due to texting and cell phone use, and use of alcohol or drugs can also increase the chance of a collision for the pedestrian, cyclist, or motorist." Everyone on the road: drivers, cyclists and pedestrians, should pay attention to what they are doing!
  • "Collisions that result in pedestrian and cyclist injury or death most frequently occur on roads with higher posted speed limits like major and minor arterial roads. As well, the majority of collisions occur at an intersection as compared to mid-block locations." Therefore greater caution should be taken on these roads and at intersections.
  • "Enhancing measures to slow driver speeds is one essential way to improve safety.These measures include lowering posted speed limits and designing streets that include narrower and fewer travel lanes, medians, and other traffic calming measures." The good news is that Toronto city hall just passed a law lowering the speed limit on residential streets. (link)
We also liked this article about what to do if you’re hit by a car while riding your bike. The article notes that in the heat of the moment, if you're not prepared, you might be likely to yell angrily and then ride away (if you're able to). But in fact, you should always call 9-1-1 and take down the information of all parties involved including witnesses, and wait for an ambulance/police car to arrive.

Hopefully, with increased awareness on everyone's part, we can help reduce the rate of collisions and make cycling and walking a safe and healthy means of transportation in our city.


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