June 24, 2015

Ohrn Words: Myth-busting ped collisions in Toronto

From Ken Ohrn:

REID: Busting some myths about pedestrian collisions – Spacing Toronto


Toronto Public Health published a report this week analyzing the police statistics for collisions where vehicles hit pedestrians and cyclists, Pedestrian and Cycling Safety in Toronto (PDF).

The report counters some common myths that are heard whenever vehicle-on-pedestrian collisions are reported in the news. The first reaction, from police and the public, is often that pedestrians are always jaywalking, so their own behaviour is the cause of the problem.

However, the report’s analysis of the statistics (Table 18, p. 27) shows that, in 67% of cases, pedestrians had the right of way when they were hit by a vehicle. Only 19% of the time were the pedestrians crossing without the right of way, and the other 14% cannot be determined.

Another common reaction is that pedestrians are hit because they’re texting or on the phone or otherwise not paying attention. But the report’s analysis shows that pedestrians were inattentive in some way only 13% of the time (p. 30-31).

In other words, most pedestrians are hit while they are obeying the law, and paying attention to their surroundings, but a vehicle comes at them in a way they can’t possibly see, predict or avoid. It is time to stop the knee-jerk blaming of the victim whenever pedestrians are hit.


More here.

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  1. Meanwhile, in BC, the Province may increase the fine from minuscule to paltry for motor vehicle drivers who are caught texting while driving, clearly presenting proven danger to the mostly innocent. In other words, their hapless victims pay in blood, broken bodies and lost lives; the perpetrators pay a little money, perhaps a little more than next to nothing.

    As a society, we have a woeful blind spot to the awful toll in death and injury caused by motor vehicles and to its causes.

  2. It seems this report has determined a very similar result to the Vancouver report and car vs cyclist collisions here, yet reading media reports etc. you would think that cyclists and pedestrians are the evil doers. The messaging from the VPD needs to change as well, as they seem to like to blame pedestrians.

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