Just over half of pedestrian accidents occur at intersections. The others occur at mid-block crossings. In other words: crossing the street is dangerous no matter where a person walks.

On average, six pedestrian-car accidents occur daily on Toronto’s roads and the number is increasing. Some blame distracted drivers; others blame distracted pedestrians. Most agree that everyone pays too much attention to mobile devices and not enough attention to driving or walking. Toronto’s City Council is considering passing laws to limit pedestrians’ mobile device use while crossing the street and they approved a motion in July 2016 to request that the province ban mobile device use on any part of a roadway, from the street to the sidewalks.

New City and Provincial Laws

In the meantime, the City Council also approved $80 million in funding to improve pedestrian safety. Some of the improvements include installing more crosswalks and crossovers, increasing pedestrian crossing time at intersections with stoplights, reducing vehicle traffic speed in some areas and installing more radar-enabled speed signs so that motorists realize when they’re driving too fast.

Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation also passed new road safety laws to reduce pedestrian-vehicle accidents.  As of January 2016, drivers and cyclists now must yield the entire road to people in crossovers and school crossings. A crossover means any portion of a roadway distinctly indicated for pedestrian crossing by signs, lines or other markings on the surface of the roadway. Section 140(1) of the Highway Traffic Act now states that when a pedestrian is crossing on the roadway within a pedestrian crossover, the driver shall not proceed into the crossover until the pedestrian is no longer on the roadway. A driver who contravenes this section is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of $150.00 to $500.00.

In Ontario, pedestrians may cross the street whenever traffic permits; it’s not illegal to cross outside designated pedestrian crosswalks or crossovers. However, a pedestrian who crosses without regard to traffic is disobeying the law. In the event of a motor vehicle-pedestrian accident, Section 193(1) of the Highway Traffic Act creates a reverse onus on drivers to disprove that the accident was caused by their negligence. When a pedestrian is injured by a car, the injuries are almost always serious and usually fatal, so the law gives the pedestrian the benefit of the doubt.

Prevent Motor Vehicle-pedestrian Accidents

Everyone who travels the roads shares a responsibility to be safe. The Ontario Ministry of Transportation recommends that pedestrians be aware of their surroundings and not use mobile devices while crossing the street. Pedestrians should wear clothing that motorists can see in all light and weather conditions and they should take care to cross the street where drivers can see them. Parents must monitor their children and teach them pedestrian safety, too.

The Ministry of Transportation recommends that drivers watch for pedestrians, especially children in residential or school areas. They recommend patience with the elderly and disabled who may take longer to cross the street. To avoid car-pedestrian accidents, drivers should exercise care when turning, especially for left turns, and to be alert for passengers who are boarding or exiting public transportation. It’s also wise to keep in mind that during wet or wintry weather, pedestrian-vehicle collisions increase.

For those who have found themselves in an unfortunate pedestrian-vehicle accident, and you feel the driver was responsible for the incident, or you need help navigating insurance claims, or disability claims – contact the legal team at Mackesy Smye. With years of experience, we can help guide you, whatever your situation is – and the initial consultation is completely free, so contact us today.