Road safety continues to be a major concern for car accident lawyers in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), as governments fail to implement effective measures to decrease serious injuries and deaths. The failures of the City of Toronto’s Vision Zero initiative are well-documented (experts are unconvinced that Vision Zero 2.0 will be more effective), and in York Region collisions with pedestrians and cyclists have spiked since 2008.
That’s according to the recently-released York Region Pedestrian and Cyclist Safety Study, conducted by EXP Services Inc. on behalf of the municipality. The report shows that pedestrian and cyclist collisions in the region jumped from 196 in 2008 to 290 in 2016, before falling to 243 in 2017.
These figures take into account only accidents on regional roads, which means they do not reflect the full scope of the issue. For example, 52 pedestrians and 32 cyclists were hit by cars on Markham regional roads between 2015 and 2017, but closer to 90 pedestrians and 60 cyclists were struck in the city as a whole, according to Markham’s Cycling and Pedestrian Advisory Committee vice-chair Peter Miasek.
“That’s basically a collision involving a vulnerable user every second day in Markham,” Miasek told the Toronto Star.
The report showed that most collisions occur in urban areas, especially around intersections with traffic lights. It also found that “inattentiveness of drivers” is a growing risk factor, and that young adults and senior citizens are most likely to be struck by cars.
These are familiar trends for car accident lawyers, who work with injury victims to access compensation through insurance claims or civil lawsuits. They are also familiar to road safety experts who have grown weary of stubborn trends in Ontario.
“The trend does not have to continue,” Miasek told the Star. “Countries in Europe like the Netherlands have much higher share of active transportation, yet have a low collision and injury rate due to better infrastructure.”
Toronto’s new Vision Zero plan will seek to improve some of these infrastructure deficits, as will a York Region pilot project aimed at improving safety at key intersections in Richmond Hill, Thornhill, and Vaughan. But as Cycle Newmarket member and cycling accident survivor Stephen Harper told the Star, sustainable road safety improvements will require drivers to rethink their responsibilities on the road.
“The amount that a cyclist’s damage can do on an automobile is minimal but the amount of damage a motorist can do – I know, I’ve lived through it – to a cyclist is immense,” he said. “It’s about sharing the road. A lot of people don’t get the sharing-the-road concept.”
If you or someone you know has been injured in a collision, contact Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers today to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation. Our team of experienced car accident lawyers can help you understand your options and provide a path to compensation for your injuries.
Image Copyright Queen’s Printer for Ontario, photo source: Ontario Growth Secretariat, Ministry of Municipal Affairs
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