Yet another cluster of car accidents involving vulnerable road users rocked Toronto last week and reignited the conversation around road safety. On July 30 alone, a 50-year-old man was seriously injured by an impaired driver in the downtown core and three pedestrians were struck by vehicles in under two hours in the city’s north end. For Toronto’s car accident lawyers, these events have become depressingly commonplace – but hope may be in sight.
Vision Zero 2.0
City Council unveiled a revamped “Vision Zero 2.0” road safety plan in July. The strategy includes several measures endorsed by road safety experts, including creating more mid-block crosswalks, installing more red-light cameras, installing a photo radar system to catch speeders, redesigning certain roads, and lowering speed limits on several arterial routes.
However, critics believe the city’s plan doesn’t go far enough. Speed limit reductions have wide support among road safety advocates, but their target is a city-wide 30 km/h limit. Vision Zero 2.0 will lower limits to 40 or 50 km/h.
“We’re maintaining fatal speed limits,” Friends and Families for Safe Streets spokesperson Jess Spieker told the CBC. “When you’re struck by a driver at 50 kilometres, that’s an 85 per cent risk of death.”
New Bike Lanes
The city also announced a new bike lane strategy last month that includes extending the Bloor Street West bike lanes from Shaw Street to High Park, launching a pilot project for bike lanes on The Danforth, and considering bike lanes on bustling University Avenue. A proposal to reinstall bike lanes on Jarvis Street was denied.
The plan received wide support in City Council, including from suburban councilors who generally vote against downtown bike lanes. It even earned praise from cycling advocates. Cycle Toronto executive director Jared Kolb called the strategy “a major milestone in resetting the Toronto cycling network,” according to the Toronto Star.
Cycling lanes, especially those that separate cyclists from motorists via a physical barrier, are proven to reduce serious injuries and fatalities among vulnerable road users. For this reason, they enjoy wide support among safety activists and car accident lawyers, despite occasionally contributing to longer commutes.
The stated goal of Toronto’s original Vision Zero strategy was to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2021. Three years later, serious accidents involving vulnerable road users have actually increased. But by approving a revamped road safety strategy and new bike lane plan, City Council has shown that it is serious about reducing injuries on the street – even if it can’t always agree on how.
If you’ve been injured in a Toronto traffic accident, contact Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers today to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation. Our experienced team of accident lawyers will assess the viability of your case and provide advice and guidance as you advance your claim.
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