Recent Traffic Fatalities of Pedestrians

Though the article below was written in January 2010, it still applies today. People are still getting killed on our roads, pedestrians, or in cars, by snow factors, speed factors, and road conditions. A clock driven society causes people to hurry and not relax. That’s exactly how one person died, late for work. Employers need to to relax time schedules, in at 9:15 leave at 5:15, if 9:00 is not possible on bad weather days, don’t be upset by a delay, at least they arrived alive. That other person did not arrive, because they had this time factor which caused them to do something that ended their life. Safety isn’t just rules, its common sense to protect lives, ignorance of safety causes most of the collisions and fatalities on our streets, re-testing may be the best defense. This city has a lot of ignorance, 1 in 10 people I see commuting even know how to use a turn signal or turn into a proper lane. It’s quite disturbing. Please read on below, again.

Clearly this is a real problem, that just seems to get worse with each passing day. Having taken part in Vaughan’s opening discussion for a Pedestrian Safety Task Force, there were always more than one side to the issue. Pedestrians for the most part were at fault in many of the incidents, crossing against lights or simply in-observant of oncoming traffic. I am not blaming this solely on pedestrians because as my writing would suggest highly, motorists are by no means faultless. I have three books on the sidebar to the right which discuss in many ways what motorists are doing wrong.

On my commute last night no less than a dozen jay walkers crossed my vehicular path as I approached them, or as I sat in traffic waiting for a traffic signal. First off this puts the pedestrian in a location a vehicle would never expect them, in the middle of the road. Crosswalks are life saving areas you should be using. Push that button and add the time to your walk signal, without it, the light system doesn’t know you are there. Vehicles turning at intersections will wait for pedestrians at a crossing because they are visible, they will not see you three or four cars back jay walking. That puts you at a serious risk of getting hit. Lately that means death, not injury. 2-3,000 lbs of metal at speed is very unforgiving of flesh and bone. Motorists can only see so much, especially in darkness, use lighted cross signals to your advantage and safety to protect the life you are presently blessed with.

For the motorists though, turn correctly one lane at a time, and signal in the appropriate direction. Turning left into right lanes or vise-versa with or without a signal does not tell the pedestrians where you are really going, and seriously endangers their ability to stay safe while crossing. In winter you are often impaired by weather, frost, snow, and ice do not allow proper visual acuity to a motorist. Always brush and scrape to fully see what’s around you. Lights, windows, mirrors, roof, trunk, grille, wheel wells and bumpers should always be cleared to prevent you being impaired by them. Yes, snow impairment is equal to being drunk, neither can see clearly. My twitter @s_i_n_s states this in many ways.

Our governments have created a commuter society of roads, where sidewalks and crossings are secondary to moving cars. It is an approach that needs to be modified to accept the reality that pedestrians have rights too. Children and many senior citizens are not driving vehicles, they may take the bus, or they walk. They exist, and they need to be recognized as you are in your vehicle as a potential risk taker to cross in an unsafe location. Eyesight is key to keeping us all safe. Look everywhere.  Pedestrians will always have right of way at signed stops, but are only legally crossing if the walk signal is active in an intersection controlled by light signals. If the hand is flashing or the counter is counting down, and a pedestrian is there, do not speed to beat the light, it may cost more than one life. Missing a light will not end your life, running one could end someone else’s.

School buses are in charge of our greatest resource and achievments, our children. Never pass a school bus running flashing lights. Thier lives depend on it.

City buses are often stopping at intersections on the right side near the corner, wait for them, do not turn right from their left side, and when they are in motion to proceed from the stop, the law dictates you give them right of way. Streetcars have many doors, never block them as it approaches a stop. Their tracks are in the centre of the road so pedestrians must cross traffic lanes to reach a sidewalk. They cannot do that if a vehicle drives past the doors.

Green Lights despite common thought do not mean GO. They mean Proceed If and When The Way is Clear. If it’s not Clear, It’s not When You Proceed. This is true for motorists and pedestrians. Safe passage means you can actually pass the intersection safely. A 20 ft. car does not fit on 4″ of white paint. Yellow means prepare to stop, not speed up more so I get through. Red means stop, and unfortunately in Ontario, it means you may turn right if it’s clear to do so. Many motorists don’t bother to stop first before turning. This is another way our safety is compromised.

Obviously Snow, Ice & Frost are not the only impairments motorists may have, cellphones without blue-tooth and text devices are known distractions, a distraction is very much an impairment, as much or greater than alcohol. Look up www.RoadAwareness.ca for a recent test with members of the press that proves this fact.

Always consider safety when operating a motor vehicle, so it doesn’t become a weapon. Your meeting is never more important than a person’s life. As a motorist you can slow down and make sure pedestrians are not crossing your path. As a pedestrian, you can wait for a clear path that does not have a vehicle at speed heading towards you. Lives are being lost out of pure carelessness. Take the care to realise you are not invincible, and protect yourself from danger.

I could go to greater lengths to discuss this issue, but I’ve tried to keep it brief. My hope is you read this and take it to heart.

4 comments to Recent Traffic Fatalities of Pedestrians

  • All true, all good advice, but government ought to do its part by smoothing traffic flow. Toronto’s out-of-sync lights, out-of-control aggressive buses and increasing congestion are ingredients that produce frustrated drivers. Frustrated drivers are poor drivers.
    I’ve written more about this
    here.

  • John

    While I agree with some of your points, I disagree that increased speed is the answer from your blog post. Yes frustration can be caused by slowness, but calm level-headed people would not create an unsafe situation simply by annoyance of a slow progress. Carelessness of both parties needs to be addressed. Better training, and better knowledge matter.

  • About 90% of this article was printed in Jan.28 2010 Vaughan Citizen Newspaper. I am currently working towards having a National paper use it as well.

  • Excellent read, I just passed this onto a colleague who was doing a little research on that. And he actually bought me lunch because I found it for him, So let me rephrase that: Thanks for the lunch!

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