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Time to Protect Cars From Reckless Pedestrians? 10

Pedestrians on Queen Street in Toronto

Pedestrians on Queen Street in Toronto – photo by deena mephistopheles

Linwood Barclay from the Huffington Post Canada wrote a brilliantly hilarious satire piece about how pedestrians are infringing on drivers’ right to unimpeded access to our streets.

From the article:

Say what you will about Toronto Mayors Rob and Doug Ford, their latest proposal really has a lot going for it. “The Happy Car: A Five-point Plan to Keep City Vehicles Safe from Pedestrians” really nails it, as far as I’m concerned.

The Fords understand that happy cars and happy drivers make for a happy city. And while there are any number of things that can contribute to the unhappiness of a car and its driver — high gas prices, tree sap, bicycles — the pedestrian is right there at the top of the list.

Paying a buck and a half for a litre of unleaded is only annoying when you’re at the pump. Tree sap’s only a problem if you’ve parked on a tree-lined street. And bicycles, well, okay, they are a frequent pain in the butt, but they’re still distant second to pedestrians.

Barclay points out how ridiculous it is for pedestrians to think they have a God-given right to cross the street on a walk signal:

Yes, actual human beings wandering around Toronto wherever the hell they want claim the top spot because you ALWAYS having to keep your eye out for them. I don’t know how many times, while nipping around the city, I’ve been unable to tap in the last word of a text message because someone was sticking his hand out at a crosswalk.

Read the full article here.

On a more serious note, two women pedestrians are now fighting for their lives after being hit by cars in two separate incidents in Toronto yesterday. I posted a note about this on Twitter and captured some of the reactions here:

Twitter post

Twitter post

Twitter post

Twitter post

i share the road

James D. Schwartz is a Transportation Pragmatist and the Editor of The Urban Country. You can contact James at james.schwartz@theurbancountry.com or follow him on Twitter.

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  • aem2

    While I agree with you, we have to be careful that we don’t use the same kind of hyperbole as drivers when they blame cyclists. I looked up the stats for last year, and of the 20 pedestrian deaths caused by motor vehicle collisions, “only” 6 were due to improper driving. I say “only,” because that’s still too many, obviously. However, it is not “almost daily” in Toronto.

    The same summary shows that improper driving results far more of the injuries, which could be anything from scrapes to comas. I think there’s another summary on the City of Toronto site that breaks the injuries down into minor and major.

    http://www.toronto.ca/transportation/publications/brochures/2010_ped.pdf

    Having said all that, I still think car drivers need to remember that they are piloting 2 t cages that only protect the people *inside* the car. 10 deaths were caused by pedestrians at “mid-block,” which I assume means they were jay-walking, so the drivers were “driving properly,” but honestly you should be on the lookout for that in Toronto and slow the heck down when you see them!

    • http://hanlonsrzr.blogspot.com Mr.S.

      Pedestrians and cyclists here in Tokyo act completely witless, yet their death rate per capita is a quarter of Toronto’s. You think it might have to do anything with how much more severe are the repercussions of hitting someone with a car?

      Nah… blunder on Ontario.

    • http://www.theurbancountry.com James Schwartz

      Thanks for pointing us to these stats. The tweet in question didn’t specifically say people are killed almost every day (though he did say killed or maimed).

      I am highly skeptical about the term “driving properly” in the City of Toronto statistics. Driving properly in Ontario means there wasn’t enough evidence to prove wrongdoing on the driver’s part. When the prime witness is dead, it is often hard to prove who was at fault.

      Also, crossing mid-block isn’t illegal necessarily, and even if the pedestrian was crossing mid block illegally, that still doesn’t mean that the driver wasn’t speeding or doing something wrong necessarily.

      But even if we assumed the driers were in fact “driving properly”, there were 2,048 pedestrians injured by cars in 2010, of which only 519 of those incidents involved a driver who was “driving properly”. So 75% of these injuries were caused by a driver who was doing something wrong, and the police could actually *prove* that the driver was doing something wrong.

      Based on these statistics, there is a pedestrian who is hurt or killed by a driver every 4 hours every single day of the year. And roughly 3 out of 4 of these were the result of the driver doing something wrong (if not more than 3 out of 4).

  • aem2

    While I agree with you, we have to be careful that we don’t use the same kind of hyperbole as drivers when they blame cyclists. I looked up the stats for last year, and of the 20 pedestrian deaths caused by motor vehicle collisions, “only” 6 were due to improper driving. I say “only,” because that’s still too many, obviously. However, it is not “almost daily” in Toronto.

    The same summary shows that improper driving results far more of the injuries, which could be anything from scrapes to comas. I think there’s another summary on the City of Toronto site that breaks the injuries down into minor and major.

    http://www.toronto.ca/transportation/publications/brochures/2010_ped.pdf

    Having said all that, I still think car drivers need to remember that they are piloting 2 t cages that only protect the people *inside* the car. 10 deaths were caused by pedestrians at “mid-block,” which I assume means they were jay-walking, so the drivers were “driving properly,” but honestly you should be on the lookout for that in Toronto and slow the heck down when you see them!

  • http://hanlonsrzr.blogspot.com/ Mr.S.

    Pedestrians and cyclists here in Tokyo act completely witless, yet their death rate per capita is a quarter of Toronto’s. You think it might have to do anything with how much more severe are the repercussions of hitting someone with a car?

    Nah… blunder on Ontario.

  • http://www.theurbancountry.com/ James Schwartz

    Thanks for pointing us to these stats. The tweet in question didn’t specifically say people are killed almost every day (though he did say killed or maimed).

    I am highly skeptical about the term “driving properly” in the City of Toronto statistics. Driving properly in Ontario means there wasn’t enough evidence to prove wrongdoing on the driver’s part. When the prime witness is dead, it is often hard to prove who was at fault.

    Also, crossing mid-block isn’t illegal necessarily, and even if the pedestrian was crossing mid block illegally, that still doesn’t mean that the driver wasn’t speeding or doing something wrong necessarily.

    But even if we assumed the driers were in fact “driving properly”, there were 2,048 pedestrians injured by cars in 2010, of which only 519 of those incidents involved a driver who was “driving properly”. So 75% of these injuries were caused by a driver who was doing something wrong, and the police could actually *prove* that the driver was doing something wrong.

    Based on these statistics, there is a pedestrian who is hurt or killed by a driver every 4 hours every single day of the year. And roughly 3 out of 4 of these were the result of the driver doing something wrong (if not more than 3 out of 4).

  • http://injury-compensation-zone.co.uk/pedestrian-accident-claims pedestrian accident claims

    Pedestrian accident claims are very common as every second person get hurt while walking and the symptoms of injury are likely to depend on the degree of the injury therefore t is advisable to see some doctor who can treat injury after which with the assistance of solicitor can be taken..

  • http://injury-compensation-zone.co.uk/pedestrian-accident-claims pedestrian accident claims

    Pedestrian accident claims are very common as every second person get hurt while walking and the symptoms of injury are likely to depend on the degree of the injury therefore t is advisable to see some doctor who can treat injury after which with the assistance of solicitor can be taken..

  • http://www.freeman-freeman.com/ personal injury attorney

    I definitely agree with this because no matter what happens you’ll be the one who pays for it. Thanks.

  • http://www.freeman-freeman.com/ personal injury attorney

    I definitely agree with this because no matter what happens you’ll be the one who pays for it. Thanks.