Traffic safety is a priority for the Toronto Police Service. Traffic Services has been mandated to investigate serious personal injury and fatal collisions in the city of Toronto.
On Monday December 10, 2012 the Toronto Police Service answered 8 calls in 43 minutes beginning at 6:41 am and ending at 7:24 am, for pedestrian struck collisions. Certain events that have occurred since these collisions have inspired me to write this Blog.
During this time period a number of contributing factors became evident and as a result this information was relayed via Twitter to the media and general public in order to promote pedestrian safety. We are offering advice to people on situations that we are dealing with and our experience on what we encounter.
The factors were as follows:
1) Poor lighting conditions (pre-dawn hours)
2) Driver error
3) Wet roads
5) Pedestrians wearing clothing that in the dark made them hard, if not impossible, for drivers to see
These factors resulted in collisions. Statements taken from drivers at the scene as well information received by the call takers at the communications center made clear mention of two common factors. The pedestrians were wearing dark clothing and the drivers did not see them.
We are telling the public what the drivers who were involved have stated as fact. They did not see the pedestrians. It is hard to believe that anyone operating a motor vehicle would intentionally strike a pedestrian. A number of the pedestrians in fact did nothing wrong and the drivers were charged. There are no regulations in law that direct a person as to what they may or may not wear, collision facts speak for themselves and the Toronto Police Service will not tell a person what to wear.
Vehicles, whether they are bicycles, cars, or trucks, are required by the Highway Traffic Act to have reflectors, horns, lighting, and other safety equipment in order to make themselves visible to other road users and to protect the operators. Pedestrians have no such regulation and as a result are vulnerable road users. In the perfect world there would be no collisions.
I have spoken to cyclists today and they have also voiced concern over individuals using Martin Goodman Trail whether they were pedestrians, runners or cyclists dressed in dark clothing and while travelling poorly lit sections of the trail, almost striking these individuals.
In reality collisions are a caused occurrence and are a direct result of someone making an error.
I haven't missed a winter since I was born 41 years ago. We always buy clothing that protects us from the elements. But when do we use our snow boots...... when it snows, when do we use our gloves, hat, scarf, and winter jacket with the hood....... when it gets really cold. Our environment changes rapidly during the fall and winter, our habits however don't, we continue to cross the roadways like it is a summer day while wearing our winter gear.
On November 30, 2012, the GTA recorded its first significant snowfall. Drivers who haven't driven in the snow for almost two years were literally stopped in their tracks.
I ask the road using community as a whole to be cautious.
Drivers, slow down, take a second look and proceed only when it is safe to do so.
Pedestrians, be aware of your surroundings and do what we were taught when we were children: stop, look, listen and think before you cross the roadways. Wear an article of clothing that would make you more conspicuous to other road users.
Cyclists, obey all traffic laws and help protect yourself.
One life lost or injured is one too many.
Do your part to protect yourself.