January 2010

Pedestrians pledge to cross safely

With a dozen pedestrians killed on Toronto streets less than a month into 2010, pedestrians are invited to pledge their commitment to “cross the street as if their life depended on it.

The challenge is part of the iNavigait program, coordinated by Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and the Toronto Area Safety Coalition. Pedestrians are asked to visit www.inavigait.com or the iNavigait Facebook fan page. Recognizing that pedestrian injuries and deaths occur across the age spectrum, iNavigait is targeted at all age groups and abilities. The program features the interactive website as well as community presentations for kids, teens, seniors and people with disabilities. “These deaths are not accidents. We know that pedestrian injuries and deaths are both predictable and preventable. Taking simple precautions can make all the difference,” says Joanne Banfield, Manager of the RBC First Office for Injury Prevention at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and the President of TASC. “iNavigait is about teaching people how they can stay safe on our roads year-round and this pledge is a simple way of showing your commitment to personal safety.” Typically, more than 2,000 pedestrians are injured in collisions with cars every year in the city of Toronto and anywhere from 25 to 50 are killed. (See www.toronto.ca/transportation/walking/ped_safety.htm)

A 2007 report suggests Toronto’s pedestrian collision rate of 82 per 100,000 population is high compared to other major cities in Ontario and Canada. The report found that pedestrians were hit most commonly at mid-block locations, (24%) and next most often when they were crossing with the right-of-way at an intersection while a car was turning left (20%), suggesting that both drivers and pedestrians have a major role to play in reducing these collisions. In a few recent high-profile cases, Toronto pedestrians were struck while on their cellphones.

Updated January 25, 2010