Pedestrians At Peril

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Pedestrians are facing unsafe conditions on and near roadways in Waterloo Region. We’ve had several deaths already this year and many more pedestrians have been struck by drivers who weren’t paying attention to what is going on around them.

CBC Radio’s Michael Enright recently broadcast a short but highly critical article on the increase in pedestrian deaths across Canada. The suggestion is that somehow we don’t seem to car enough to make pedestrians a priority. Rarely does the media say “a driver hit a pedestrian”, but rather they say “a car struck a pedestrian”. There is a subtle but important distinction there.

Drivers are driving too fast and are not paying attention to the roads. Perhaps there needs to be much more enforcement of speeding. Perhaps we should be reducing speed limits to below 50 km/h as we know that most pedestrians struck by drivers travelling under 40 km/h survive while most struck by vehicles travelling over 50 km/h do not.

The stark reality is that local and provincial governments are not taking the safety of people who are walking, riding, and rolling seriously. These are classified as vulnerable road users.

In Waterloo Region we know that half of the cyclists that were struck by drivers last year were held to be at fault. The other half of the accidents were the driver’s error. Clearly there is room for improvement and enforcement of rules on both sides. The sad truth of the matter though, is that regardless of whether the pedestrian or cyclist is at fault in an accident they will be injured most seriously.

Waterloo Regional police released an analysis of the 2016 pedestrian collision rankings and the following locations are the most dangerous. The number of ‘strikes’ is the 5 year total number.

  1. King and University – 9 people
  2. King and Bishop – 8
  3. River Rd at Halborn Dr. – 7
  4. Westmount Rd at Victoria – 7
  5. Erb at Erbsville/Ira Needles - 8

The top cyclist collision locations are as follow:

  1. Cedar at King - 8
  2. Hespeler at Munch - 7
  3. Courtland and Siebert - 6
  4. Hespeler and Avenue Road - 4
  5. Hespeler and Bishop - 5
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