Pedestrian safety is everyone’s duty
We all share a responsibility for traffic safety, whether we are a pedestrian, a cyclist or a motorist. Statistics show that our roads appear to be safer in recent years. According to Transport Canada’s National Collision Database (NCDB) there has been a small decrease in the number of fatalities and serious injuries on our roadways, along with “a significant decrease” in the number of injuries. The NCDB reported incidents in all three of these categories were the lowest since such data was first collected in the 1970s.
Transport Canada revealed that in 2020:
- the number of motor vehicle fatalities was 1,745; down one per cent from 2019 (1,762);
- the number of serious injuries decreased to 7,868; down 12 per cent from the previous year (8,917);
- total injuries decreased to 101,572, down 28 per cent from 2019 (140,801); and
- fatalities per 100,000 of the population decreased to 4.6, down from 4.7 in 2019 and is the lowest on record.
According to Alberta traffic collision statistics released in early 2022, there were 42,596 collisions on provincial roads in 2018, resulting in 288 deaths and 17,055 injuries. Thirty pedestrians died that year and 1,010 were injured.
There were some encouraging signs:
- The number of traffic fatalities decreased 0.3 per cent in 2018 with 289, compared to 290 in 2017.
- Traffic injuries decreased 0.8 per cent from 17,186 in 2017 to 17,055 in 2018.
It should be noted that the coronavirus pandemic could have played a role in recent decreases in traffic accidents. After all, the recurrent lockdowns meant there was less volume on our roadways. However, less traffic led to more speeding drivers, it can be argued. Still, we have witnessed a trend that has seen a reduction in incidents. That is welcome news but traffic safety must remain a priority.
Any collision, despite how minor, can have lasting effects, especially to pedestrians. If you have been injured in a traffic accident you may have questions about your future. But you don’t have to face that uncertainty alone. At Kantor LLP we are here to help.
Pedestrians can face many dangers
Injuries cost Albertans $7.1 billion each year so it only makes sense to take precautions to prevent accidents. But people sometimes take risks that put their safety in jeopardy. For example, Alberta traffic statistics found that 6.6 per cent of pedestrians injured in traffic accidents in 2018 were legally impaired. That number jumped to 18.2 per cent for pedestrians who were killed in collisions.
Pedestrians are particularly vulnerable. Under the Alberta Traffic Safety Act, motorists must yield the right of way to people legally crossing the road or those in a crosswalk. But not all drivers obey the rules of the road. Those who speed, drive without due care and attention or disregard traffic or weather conditions can cause collisions that may leave a pedestrian with serious or life-long injuries. Or, more tragically, death.
Distracted driving is one of the biggest dangers faced by pedestrians. In fact, distracted driving causes more collisions than impaired driving, according to the Canadian Automobile Association.
Texting, eating or talking on a cellphone leads to inattention that can have devastating consequences. The Alberta Motor Association states that distracted drivers are three times more likely to be involved in collisions, with the act playing a role in up to 30 per cent of all collisions in Alberta.
Legislation was introduced in this province in 2011 to help curb the problem. By March 2020, there were 208,176 convictions, Alberta Transportation reports. In 2022 alone there were 21,612 convictions. Incidents are trending downwards but it is still a concern.
Pedestrians have a role to play
The choices we make are important, especially when it comes to our own safety. For example, smartphones have become more advanced and are now almost indispensable. We have all seen people walking down the street with cellphone in hand, texting or reading what’s on their screen.
According to a CNN report, using a phone while walking is more likely to cause an accident than listening to music or taking a call. Researchers from the University of Calgary found texting was associated with a higher rate of near misses along with a failure to look both ways when crossing the street.
The researchers said "pedestrian distraction" is an increasing problem around the world.
"Given the ubiquity of smartphones, social media, apps, digital video and streaming music, which has infiltrated most aspects of daily life, distracted walking and street crossing will be a road safety issue for the foreseeable future," the study states.
Weather conditions can also be a concern for pedestrians, though provincial statistics show that almost 60 per cent of casualty collisions occurred when surface conditions were dry. Meanwhile, it was reported that slush, snow or ice was involved in only 19.9 per cent of fatal collisions. One factor to take into consideration is that people are generally more cautious during bad weather. Drivers slow down and pedestrians look both ways.
Where you cross the road is also important. Of course, crossing mid-block or running out between parked cars can be hazardous. The provincial government advises Albertans to use crosswalks and pedestrian-activated signals whenever available. While pedestrians generally have the right of way in a crosswalk, they must yield to vehicles when crossing outside a crosswalk.
You should ensure you are visible when crossing the street and signal your intention, pausing to look both ways. Avoid jaywalking, which can not only lead to an accident but also fines. In Calgary, for example, pedestrians can be fined $25 to $60 for crossing the street illegally.
When you have been injured, we are on your side
If you have been struck by a vehicle while crossing the road your first priority is, your health and well-being. You should seek medical treatment immediately. You may be wondering what comes next and that is where we can help. In Alberta, you generally have up to two years to make a personal injury claim in court following an accident.
Never make assumptions when it comes to an accident and never settle for the first offer an insurance company makes.
AFTER AN ACCIDENT, CONTACT US
A personal injury lawyer can help guide you through your options and help you obtain the compensation you need to help you recover from any injuries. They can also make sure that your insurance company does not attempt to limit the compensation that you are owed. Schedule your Free Consultation by calling (403) 452-2011 or send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will represent you on a contingency fee basis, so we do not get paid for our time and attention until we settle.