Two major news organizations have recently looked in depth at Toronto pedestrian-accident data and the results are unsettling. Surprising results underscore the need for walkers and runners to proceed cautiously to avoid traffic and thereby collisions with moving vehicles.
But the statistics also remind us of the immense legal responsibility of GTA drivers, whose heavy vehicles are potentially deadly to the vulnerability of exposed human bodies, to exercise reasonable caution on the road to protect the safety of everyone sharing the road and to obey all traffic laws.
When the driver of a car, motorcycle, SUV, van, truck or bus drives negligently or recklessly and causes the injury or death of a Toronto pedestrian in an accident, the victim (or his or her family in case of a fatal crash) should talk to a lawyer immediately to understand what legal options are there for recovery of damages.
The most recent look at Toronto pedestrian-accident data from city police records was in a September 23 article in CBC News. Vehicles collided with pedestrians 542 times and with bicyclists 541 times over 112 days from June through September, which averages to almost 10 car accidents involving pedestrians or cyclists daily in that stretch of time in the city. These numbers are slightly up from the same time period in 2015.
The CBC cited a Toronto urban planner who called the numbers a “public health epidemic” that require a new look at Toronto infrastructure for potential safety changes. A local police officer disagreed, instead blaming human error for the accidents.
The Globe and Mail in June took an extensive look at Toronto pedestrian-accident statistics from police records since 2011, concluding that every four hours or so a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle in Toronto and that on average in 2016, a pedestrian had died from such an incident. Since 2011, there have been 163 pedestrian fatalities from these accidents, a fatality rate 15 percent higher than that of the next previous five-year period.
Trends noticed were that senior citizens are at much higher risk and that pedestrian fatalities more often involve larger vehicles (like minivans, pickups, vans and SUVs) and happen in suburban areas, on busy arterial roads and in places without crosswalks or traffic lights.
The Globe and Mail piece includes a multi-page analysis of contributing factors and compares Toronto’s situation with other cities’ approaches to protecting pedestrians in traffic.