Addressing the Safety of Pedestrians and Cyclists

The safety of our most vulnerable road users – cyclists and pedestrians – is of critical importance. As the recent pedestrian deaths in Toronto tragically highlight, this is clearly an urgent issue.

Pedestrian and cyclist fatalities are preventable. Streets that are designed first and foremost for motor vehicles jeopardize the safety of the rest of the population that depend on walking, cycling, public transit, and other viable modes of transportation. High speeds and wide intersections make crossing the street safely nearly impossible, especially for children, the elderly and the disabled.

While other cities like Montreal are proactively redesigning streets to promote safety, the recent news coverage reveals how entrenched the bias in favour of the motorists is in the Greater Toronto Area. Instead of asking why there has been such a significant delay in rolling out the many great ideas outlined in the City’s walking strategy, blame has been consistently placed on pedestrians themselves.

TCAT is currently partnering with the Toronto Cyclists’ Union on an initiative to get Complete Streets policies adopted in Canada. Complete Streets policies, adopted by over 100 jurisdictions in the United States, require that the needs of the most vulnerable road users be considered at every stage of road development, construction and reconstruction. Institionalizing the Complete Streets approach will result in streets that are designed to consider and respect the rights of ALL road users. In doing so, our streets will be safer for everyone.

Posted On: January 26, 2010