Pedestrian Safety Tips

By Constable Clinton Stibbe,
Toronto Police Service
Published: 3:47 p.m. October 21, 2016

Collision analysis has shown that pedestrian fatalities represent approximately 50% of yearly traffic fatalities in Toronto. To date, 35 pedestrians have lost their lives in Toronto this year.

Pedestrians cross at an intersection as cars wait
Pedestrians crossing at busy intersection downtown

Inclement weather and dark conditions can lead to a decrease in visibility for both drivers and pedestrians. These environmental factors can increase the risk of injuries when poor walking or driving behaviours are routinely demonstrated.

Senior citizens are over-represented in pedestrian fatalities and injuries according to recent safety data. Seniors often get hit within a step or two from the curb, stepping out from behind a parked car, or by being caught out in traffic. While motorists are at fault in many pedestrian collisions, statistics show pedestrians sometimes contribute to the collision by:

  • Not choosing the safest places to cross
  • Not paying attention to traffic
  • Not being aware of the timing of traffic lights and pedestrian walk/don’t walk signals
  • Underestimating the time needed to cross safely

To reduce injuries, practice these safe walking tips:

  • Follow the directions of all traffic signs and signals
  • Be aware of your surroundings, make sure that you can hear what's going on around you
  • Wear reflective or bright-coloured clothing, when possible, to increase your visibility to other road-users (dress children in reflective or bright-coloured clothes where possible as well)
  • Always make sure you have a clear view of all vehicles, and make yourself visible to the drivers
  • Be aware of traffic signals, but never completely rely on them. While in the crosswalk, pedestrians should continue to be alert to oncoming traffic at all times
  • Always use pedestrian crosswalks to cross the road. Do not cross diagonally or from between parked vehicles (mid-block). Since drivers are not expecting pedestrians to cross mid-block, risk of injury is much higher if you do so
  • Wait for a fresh traffic signal. Do not start crossing once the countdown or flashing hand begins when possible, make eye contact with the drivers before beginning to cross the road. Drivers must be able to see you, in order to avoid you. Do not assume drivers can see you or that they are paying attention
  • If you must walk on the roadway, walk facing traffic and as close to the curb as possible
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