Walking Wary

I would like to thank the @sshole in the white-ish two-door American pseudo sports car with the tinted windows who came within a hair’s breadth of clipping me on the way to work this morning.

But seriously, the high number (14) of pedestrian deaths in Toronto since the beginning of the year has me a little more cautious than usual when crossing the street.

What is going on?

It seems that every other day someone else has been struck and killed. My sister even called (from Germany) to express her concern since mom is very new to Toronto and has not been “citified” yet.

I heard this morning that there was something being set up at Front and Bay to educate people how to safely cross the street. Apparently it is a high priority with the mayor’s office.

Hmmmm…

I know things are rarely black and white and we never get the full story on the news but teaching pedestrians how to cross a street will only get you so far.

Yes, not being completely distracted by one’s cellphone or iPod, crossing at the light and not in the middle of the road are all good things to keep in mind but doing all the right things is no guarantee of safety. My friend’s dad was struck down a year and a half ago at an intersection, during the day, with the walk sign on.

He didn’t make it.

One of the 14 who died was on his cellphone and had apparently stepped right in front of the streetcar. Not quite Darwin Award material but close. An uncle of mine works for the TTC and he says streetcars are about the most difficult vehicle to drive. If the rails are wet or there are wet leaves etc, breaking becomes very difficult and it is too easy just to slide. I find this alarming since he is a fearless driver.

But why are we seeing so many pedestrian deaths right now? I heard a statistic that we are already half way to the average annual number of deaths of this kind- and January isn’t even over yet.

It’s not that the roads are even icy since we are only now coming out of a warm snap.

Are people really that distracted? Pedestrian and driver alike?

Do we need stricter driving standards? Fewer cars on the road? Better urban planning?

I don’t know what the answers are but I am extra careful (for now) and I have no qualms about staring down a driver who was obviously not paying attention.  

All I can do is be extra vigilant because I know, if it’s between me and a car, the car is going to win- every time.

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~ by angryegg on January 27, 2010.

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