“We’ve got to change behaviour. We’ve got people in the city — drivers, pedestrians and cyclists — just not paying 100 per cent attention to what they’re doing and it’s resulting in people being killed,” – Supt. Scott Baptist, unit commander of traffic services.1
Pedestrian safety has been a hot topic in the Greater Toronto Area. Already in 2018 there has been a Toronto Police Service campaign to increase awareness after a spate of fatal accidents. So how can drivers and pedestrians work together to avoid these terrible collisions? Here are some tips:
- Follow the rules of the road, obey traffic signals and signs. Pedestrians should cross only at marked crosswalks or traffic lights. Don’t cross in the middle of the block or between parked cars. Crossing mid-block is one of the highest risks for pedestrian motor vehicle collisions.
- Stay visible, especially at night or at dawn/dusk. Make sure the cars can see you if you’re a pedestrian, and if you’re a driver, be sure your car headlights are on;
Drivers, including cyclists, must stop and yield the whole roadway at pedestrian crossovers, school crossings and other locations where there is a crossing guard.
- Drivers should always be on the lookout for pedestrians, especially when turning. Left hand turns are one of the most dangerous areas for drivers and pedestrians, especially at night.
- Spring weather and longer days mean there are more people outside. Drivers should be aware of children playing (whose movements can be unpredictable) and runners, who may be running with headphones and not hear you approaching.
- Drive slowly and cautiously through school zones, residential areas, or any other area where children could be walking or playing.
- Drivers should watch for motorcyclists and cyclists. After many months of cold-weather driving, many Ontario drivers aren’t used to the sudden presence of motorcycles and bicycles on the roads. Pay extra attention to your mirrors and to blind spots when changing lanes and turning.
- Be on the lookout for animals. Warming weather means animals are coming out of hibernation and even domesticated animals are out on the run. Watch for animals roaming on or near city streets, especially at dawn or dusk.
- We should all plan our routes as much as possible before we go. Set your course on your phone and mount it safely in your car. And this goes for pedestrians, too! Don’t check your route while you cross a busy intersection. Distracted walking is dangerous, just as distracted driving is!
- For everyone: Slow down, pay more attention and put the phone down!
- 1 "After spate of deaths, Toronto police launch pedestrian safety campaign