The COVID-19 pandemic has made our streets temporarily safer – vehicle traffic is down, and bicycle and pedestrian traffic are up. In many jurisdictions, car accident lawyers are fielding fewer calls from severely injured automotive accident victims.
“It’s become a cycling and walking paradise and you can hear the birds better,” climate solutions policy analyst Tom Green told CP24 about Vancouver’s Stanley Park.
“If there’s one silver lining here, it’s that we’ve been in a place that isn’t as car-centric, that doesn’t have that same congestion, pollution, noise stressors,” added Meghan Winters, an associate professor of health sciences at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. “And people have been out in their communities noticing different things, hearing different things, feeling safe on their streets.”
“We’re definitely seeing lighter volumes of traffic at all hours of the day through the entire city,” said Toronto Police Service Sgt. Jason Kraft, also to CP24. The situation in Toronto is repeating across the country; in Edmonton, traffic volume has fallen by 30 per cent.
Unfortunately, the same factors that have reduced vehicle traffic have also affected public transit. The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) has already temporarily laid off 1,200 employees amid an 85 per cent ridership decrease, and Vancouver’s TransLink is losing around $75 million per month in revenue. If these and other public transit authorities are unable to recover, car accident lawyers are concerned that road safety will return to pre-COVID conditions – or worse. Data from China indicates that more people are driving personal automobiles today than before the lockdown.
There is also concern about bad driving habits taking hold during this unusual period.
“Drivers are choosing to double and sometimes triple the posted speed limit,” said Sgt. Kraft. “Our public roads are not your personal race track.”
If cities want to preserve the level of safety and comfort that vulnerable road users are currently experiencing, they will “have to invest in ensuring that walking and cycling continue to feel like safe activities,” Winters said. Unfortunately, it’s hard to imagine cities prioritizing cyclist and pedestrian safety over an efficient return to normal when the pandemic eventually recedes.
If you or a member of your family has been injured in an accident, contact Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Our team of experienced car accident lawyers will review your case, outline your legal options, and provide support and guidance as you navigate the challenging road to recovery.
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