According to recent news posts, in Toronto, a pedestrian is
struck by a car every four hours. In the Province of Ontario a
pedestrian dies every ten days. This is attributed to a number of
factors, including distracted driving, speeding, and pedestrian
Though not known for his public safety announcements, Johnny
Cash's lyrics for "I Walk the Line" are as compelling
as they are instructive given the amount of pedestrian accidents in
Toronto and the province as a whole. In this blog, we will discuss
some background regarding pedestrian accidents, identify relevant
legislation, and provide safety recommendations.
Background: "I Keep a Close Watch on This [Road] of
In 2015, 39 pedestrians were killed while crossing Toronto
streets or while walking on Toronto sidewalks. It is anticipated
that in 2016, this number will rise.
Pedestrians have a 90% chance of surviving a collision if the
car involved in the collision is travelling 30 km/h or less.
However, when a car is moving at a speed of 50 km/h or more,
pedestrians have only a 10% chance of surviving the accident.
Not surprisingly, given reduced visibility and driver fatigue,
the majority of street fatalities occur at night.
The Law: "You've Got a Way to Keep Me on Your
Section 144(27) of the Highway Traffic Act provides
that a pedestrian approaching pedestrian control signals and facing
a solid or flashing "don't' walk" indication is
not permitted to cross a street.
However, Section 144(28) states that a pedestrian who lawfully
enters a street in order to cross it, may continue to cross as
quickly as reasonably as possible, despite a signal change to
"don't walk", in order to complete crossing the
street and has the right of way over cars on the street. This means
that you are lawfully permitted to continue crossing a street, and
continue to have the right of way, if you are in the process of
crossing and the pedestrian signal changes to "don't
Recommendations: "I Keep My Eyes Wide Open All the
In addition to being vigilant and alert while walking on
sidewalks and crossing streets, the following are some critical
recommendations for pedestrian safety:
Cross only at marked crosswalks or traffic lights;
Do not cross the street in the middle of the block or between
Be sure that drivers see you before you cross the street. If
the driver is stopped, make eye contact before you step into the
Wear bright or light-coloured clothing or reflective strips,
particularly, at dusk and night;
Watch for traffic turning at intersections or turning into and
leaving driveways; and
When crossing the street at a traffic
Cross when traffic has come to a complete stop;
Begin to cross at the start of the green light or
"walk" signal, where provided;
Do not start to cross if you see a flashing "don't
walk" symbol or the light turns yellow. If you have already
started to cross the street, complete your crossing in safety;
Never cross on a red light.
If you are a parent, it is imperative that you
teach your child how to safely cross a street or roadway. This
includes, but is not limited to, teaching your child:
Where there is no sidewalk, to stay to the side of the road,
walking against and as far away from traffic as possible;
To stop at the edge of the sidewalk and look both left and
right before crossing the street;
To take extra care on streets or roadways where there are no
To be alert for blind corners (for example, a car coming out of
an alley may not see a child pedestrian about to cross).
Remember, pedestrian safety is all about vigilance and
alertness. If you follow the above recommendations and
keep Johnny Cash's lyrics close to heart, walking the line may
save your life and the lives of your loved ones.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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