Pedestrain Safety 101

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As pedestrian death rates in Ontario increased this year many people wondered where the problem was. Were drivers becoming more careless or were walkers? As we enter the most dangerous season for walking - winter when it's dark a lot, snow piles can obstruct views, and we wear dark coats and bundle up, it may be a good idea to review some basic safety tips for walking.

We don’t’ all drive cars or ride bikes, but we are all pedestrians at some point in the day. The Toronto Star reported that more than 1,500 people have been struck by cars in Toronto this year with 34 deaths. This is a 26% increase over last year. The police are alarmed and say that we should be too.

We see people waking without paying any attention to the roads everywhere these days. People are glued to a device in their hands, their heads are down, and often they have earplugs in that obscure traffic noises (aka warnings).  When accidents happen we look at traffic speeds, the car and driver’s movements, the lighting, and the road design, but rarely at how bad we are at being pedestrians.

Tips for being safe as a pedestrian:

  1. Walk on sidewalks.
  2. If you must walk on the roadway walk facing against traffic so you can see the cars as they approach.
  3. If you are out at night wear light coloured or highly reflective clothing.
  4. Cross the roadway at a corner, preferably at a crosswalk if they are available. Cross using the signals. Don’t J walk, come out from between parked cars, at a blind corner, or try and run between traffic.
  5. Make sure traffic is stopped before you start across the crosswalk.
  6. Use extra care near corners in the winter when snow is piled high and sidewalks are slippery. Cars and pedestrians can slide.
  7. Make eye contact with drivers that you are crossing in front of.
  8. Firmly hold the hand of any child when crossing the road. Don’t let young children cross alone, or run ahead of you on the road.
  9. Never run across the road. If you call drivers may not see you.
  10. Never step behind a car going in reverse.