According to CBC News, at 38 deaths, more pedestrians died in tragic and preventable accidents in 2018 than the prior year. More than half of the Canadians killed on city-controlled roads in Toronto are pedestrians, while only four cyclists faced fatalities. While the 2018 figures do not represent an all-time high for Ontario’s capital, local authorities warn that drivers and police officers should not become complacent as the numbers still give cause for concern.
According to a review published by the Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario, the health and safety of Ontarian pedestrians have been in question for some time. The office believes that not only do Canadians need to get out more and exercise, but they need safe spaces to do so without risk of personal injury or death. The review mentions that 50% of Ontarians in the capital do not remain physically active enough to meet health requirements.
This is not for lack of trying either. The review acknowledges that Ontarians want to not just walk but cycle, but they fear for their safety. One of the main concerns is larger vehicles, such as SUVs, vans and heavy trucks. While cars were most likely to be involved in pedestrian accidents, the severity increased with the size of the vehicle. For instance, in 12% of pedestrian deaths, heavy trucks were involved. In half of these incidents, pedestrians hit the side of the truck, were pinned beneath it and then were either dragged or run over by the rear wheels.
Most Canadians are not surprised to learn that 57% of fatal crashes involving pedestrians occur during twilight and nighttime hours. What may surprise some people is the actual range of the fatal time window. Most fatalities occurred from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m., while in Toronto the hours narrowed down specifically to 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. In fact, roughly half of pedestrian deaths occurred at this time.
Of all road users, pedestrians are the most vulnerable. When impact involves larger vehicles, the chance of survival or even recovery reduces dramatically. If more drivers make the conscious effort to watch out for people walking on the roads, crash rates may decline.