Millions of Canadians walk, bike, and drive every year on the nation’s roads and highways. But even though those trips are an essential part of daily life, they come with a cost: thousands of collisions each year. While drivers are the most likely to be injured or killed in a collision, pedestrians make up a large percentage of those injured or killed.
Information collected by Transport Canada in 2020 showed that 15.2% of collision fatalities were pedestrians. Pedestrians also made up 13.4% of serious injuries. This is significantly lower than the previous year’s fatality total of 17.8% but still represents a significant number of lives lost each year.
There Are Many Causes For Pedestrian Injuries And Deaths
The exact causes of pedestrian accidents are often difficult to determine, as many factors come into play. The most common causes of pedestrian collisions are driver errors, such as failing to yield the right of way, speeding, and cell phone use.
Other causes include defects in road infrastructure, such as potholes and crosswalks that are too close to the edge of the roadway. It is also common for pedestrians to be struck by vehicles that make illegal turns, such as those that are too close to the corner or are made without yielding the right of way.
Canadian Cities Are Troubled
Despite the progress made across the country, there are still many cities where pedestrian injuries and deaths are on the rise. For example, Edmonton saw fifteen crash fatalities in 2021, including the deaths of five pedestrians. That was the highest total collision fatalities in the city since 2018.
While the statistic is concerning, programs like Vision Zero Edmonton are working to reduce the number of pedestrian injuries and deaths. Founded in 2015, the program aims to eliminate traffic fatalities in the city. Deaths and injuries have gone down by as much as 50% since the program began.
That still leaves a lot of work to be done.
What Else Needs To Be Done?
Cities across the country are working to make their roads safer for pedestrians. It’s a vast undertaking that costs a lot of money and takes a lot of time. For people in Edmonton, the new Street Labs program aimed at the needs of individual neighborhoods. Transitions include brighter painted crosswalks, lower speed limits, and better lighting.
Improvements will also rely on more research into the factors that lead to pedestrian injuries and deaths. For example, a study in 2018 found that almost 63% of pedestrian collisions happened in the crosswalk. This contrasts with about 20% of crashes on the street when a pedestrian is jaywalking.
This shows that our ideas about what is or isn’t safe behavior can be flawed—the reasons are still a matter of research.
What Happens To Victims Today?
The injuries resulting from an accident can be devastating. Victims also suffer mental trauma in addition to their physical injuries. Victims are often left with long-term disabilities that can drain their finances and strain their families. The burden can be extra hard when the victim dies, and the family is left to deal with the loss.
The government does have services for victims of a crime, but they are not always available. Even when someone does qualify for help, the process can be long and complicated.
When it comes down to it, most collision victims turn to litigation to recover their losses. Many lawyers are willing to take on these cases, with some even offering to forgo payment until the case is settled. One example is MNHInjuryLawyers.com, which services the Edmonton area and has seen the devastation Edmonton’s pedestrian collisions can cause. One thing remains certain: Something has to change. And while programs like Vision Zero are a step in the right direction, the road to safety is long and winding. In the meantime, there are experienced lawyers poised to help today’s victims.