Pedestrians collisions on the rise in Toronto

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Collisions between pedestrians and motor vehicles are sadly common in densely populated urban areas. On January 11 in Toronto, for example, 12 people were struck in eight separate collisions in a two hour period between 5 and 7 pm. While a personal injury lawyer can help accident victims secure compensation, the city must enact preventive measures to avoid future injuries.

The January 11 spate of accidents – which Toronto Police Service Const. Rob Reid called “not normal” and “an aberration that’s probably got a lot to do with the weather” while talking to the CBC – was in reality a microcosm of a dangerous start to the year for the city’s pedestrians.

Indeed, five pedestrians lost their lives in traffic accidents between January 1 and January 15, including the high profile case of five-year-old Camila De Almeida Torcato, who was pinned between two vehicles outside her school in North York.

With Toronto’s population growing quickly, the city has struggled to keep vulnerable road users like pedestrians and cyclists safe. Forty-three pedestrians were killed in 2016, and 36 were killed in 2017. The five fatalities recorded during the first two weeks of 2018 represent a 250 per cent increase over the same time period last year.

In response, Toronto Police launched a week-long ‘pedestrian safety enforcement and education campaign’ on January 16, according to the CBC.

“We’ve got to change behaviour,” said Supt. Scott Baptist, unit commander of traffic services. “We’ve got people in the city – drivers, pedestrians and cyclists – just not paying 100 per cent attention to what they’re doing and it’s resulting in people being killed.”

“We have to get people to do the most basic things, so we can all be safe,” he added.

The safety initiative included a press release advising pedestrians stop ‘stop assuming drivers can see you,’ ‘stop crossing mid-block,’ and ‘avoid using distracting electronic devices when interacting with vehicular traffic.’

It also recommended that motorists stop driving ‘while inattentive or distracted.’

The initiative was criticized by some members of the community – including more than one personal injury lawyer – for putting an unfair onus of responsibility on pedestrians. Liam Brown, Press Officer at Grand Challenges Canada, took to Twitter to voice his displeasure.

“Pedestrians have the right of way in the majority of pedestrian fatalities and injuries in Toronto,” he wrote. “Instead, please focus on the main cause of collisions – distracted and aggressive drivers – and enforce the laws against speeding, distracted driving, and running stop signs.”

If you or a member of your family has been injured in a traffic collision, contact Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers today to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer. We can advise you on your next steps and potentially help you access compensation.


Greg Neinstein, B.A. LLB., is the Managing Partner at Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers LLP. His practice focuses on serious injury and complex insurance claims, including motor vehicle accidents, slip and fall injuries, long-term disability claims and insurance claims. Greg has extensive mediation and trial experience and has a reputation among his colleagues as a skillful negotiator.
Greg Neinstein
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