With seven road fatalities in the first two weeks of the New Year, Toronto Police Traffic Services is conducting a pedestrian safety campaign from January 16 to 22.
This special campaign is in addition an annual one in November to coincide with the time change.
Of the seven people who have been killed in collisions so far in 2018, five were pedestrians.
“This represents a 200% increase over the same period last year,” said Constable Clint Stibbe. “We all have a role to play in road safety and that includes prevention and educating community members as well as targeted enforcement by officers.”
Last year, 36 pedestrians lost their lives on city streets. That represented 59 per cent of all traffic fatalities during the year.
There isn’t much Elena Datcu can recall of a collision she was involved in on October 31, 2017.
While making her way across as a pedestrian crossing at Steeles Ave. E. and Laureleaf Rd. on Halloween morning last year, she was hit by a car making a left turn.
The vehicle, making a left turn from Laureleaf Road, failed to slow down or react to the presence of two people crossing the road, instead driving directly into the woman.
The driver then continued along Steeles.
“The first thing I did was check my toes to see if they were moving,” Datcu said, at a news conference at police headquarters on January 16 to kick off a pedestrian campaign. “When that happened, I knew I wasn’t paralyzed and I would be able to walk again and I wouldn’t be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life. I am still in a lot of pain and I am afraid to walk on the street.”
Mid-block crossing accounted for over 41 per cent of pedestrian involved fatalities and seniors aged 65 and older represented over 47 per cent of the pedestrian fatalities in 2017.
Traffic Services Superintendent Scott Baptist said the campaign is necessary at this time.
“This is a team effort to reduce death on our roads, and the team must include you, the public,” he said. “The loss of life that we have seen is intolerable. It is the simple things that we are not doing that are causing death and injury on our roads.
“By making a few changes, you will help save lives, maybe even your own. These changes include: stop crossing mid-block, stop assuming that drivers can see you, stop driving a vehicle while inattentive or distracted and focus on the goal of arriving safely at your destination, regardless of the type of road-user you are.”
There were 74,355 collisions reported to Toronto Police last year.
“It is a staggering number and a lot of these collisions were avoidable,” said Baptist. “This is not a blame game. We are not pointing fingers at anyone. We are pointing fingers at everyone. Every road-user plays a role in keeping the city safe and keeping each other safe.”