Toronto Police Service
Wise Winter Walking
Wednesday, December 14, 2011 – 3:50 PM
Pedestrian safety initiatives delivered by the Toronto Police Service are designed to promote cooperative safety strategies with members of our communities, using awareness, education, and enforcement.
Collision analysis has shown that pedestrian fatalities represent approximately 50% of yearly traffic fatalities within Toronto. This year, 17 pedestrians have lost their lives in Toronto.
Winter officially begins on Wednesday, December 21, 2011, and pedestrians can expect poor walking conditions.
Rain, sleet, snow, and ice, along with darker conditions can lead to a decrease in visibility and a lack of stability for pedestrians. These factors can increase the risk of injuries when poor walking behaviours are demonstrated.
Walking outside in winter can be invigorating and refreshing, however, slick sidewalks/streets may increase the risk of injury for pedestrians if they don’t take basic precautions.
Senior citizens are over-represented in pedestrian fatalities and injuries, according to recent safety data. Seniors are often struck a step or two from the curb, stepping out from behind a parked car or caught out in traffic.
While motorists are at fault in many pedestrian collisions, statistics show pedestrians sometimes contribute to the collision by:
– not often choosing the safest places to cross
– not paying attention to traffic
– not being aware of the timing of traffic lights and pedestrian walk/don’t walk signals
– underestimating the time needed to cross safely.
Winter walking tips:
– wear reflective or bright-coloured clothing so motorists are better able to see you. (Dress children in reflective or bright-coloured clothes as well)
– follow the directions for all traffic signs and signals
– be aware of your surroundings
– if you must walk on the roadway, walk facing traffic and as close to the curb as possible
– hats, scarves, hoods and MP3 players that cover or affect your eyes and ears can also distort or eliminate the sight and sounds of approaching vehicles. Keep warm but make sure that you can see and hear what’s going on around you
– on slippery surfaces, bend your knees a little and take slower steps to reduce your chances of falling. Wear gloves to avoid putting your hands in your pockets, so that you can keep your balance and help break your fall, with your hands, if you do start to slip
Traffic signals tips:
– be aware of traffic signals, but never rely on them completely. While in the crosswalk, pedestrians should continue to be alert to oncoming traffic at all times
– always use pedestrian crosswalks to cross the road. Do not cross diagonally or from between parked vehicles (mid-block) except where permitted. Since drivers are not expecting pedestrians to cross mid-block, risk of injury is much higher
– wait for a fresh traffic signal. Do not start crossing once the countdown or flashing hand begins
– when possible, make eye contact with drivers before beginning to cross the road. Drivers must be able to see you to avoid you. Do not assume drivers can see you or that they are paying attention
To learn more about the Toronto Police, Traffic Services Safety Program, that aims to reduce pedestrian injury and death through education and awareness, please click here.
Traffic Services is dedicated to ensuring the safe and orderly movement of traffic within the City of Toronto. Stay informed with what’s happening at:
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Constable Tony Vella, Corporate Communications, for Constable Clint Stibbe, Traffic Services